It takes commitment to visit Pemuteran, a fishing village on Bali’s northwest coast.
The four-hour drive from South Bali is a grueling one, through windy, mountainous tracks barely wide enough for an old Mini Cooper, let alone the huge trucks that career wildly around every second corner. And if you have kids with you, they’ll get car sick. We know from experience.
One of the traditions in Pemuteran is the Gebug Ende.
The Gebug Ende tradition is carried out to summon the rainy season.
Essentially, bare-chested men get tipsy on tuak (palm liquor) and challenge each other to bamboo stick duels while spectators roar with laughter.
Children as young as eight and men as old as 80 steps up to dance, with each bout seeming to last only seconds before volunteer referees stop the action. Friends drag neighbors up to the ring, chortling away like children, and plastic gallon jugs of tuak keep the whole crowd merry.
All is soundtracked by the metallic crescendo of gamelan (Balinese percussion) and done with a great spirit of camaraderie. We were two of only four foreigners in the crowd of 50 and were welcomed (and even asked to take part in the fighting), in true Balinese style.
Your chances of catching a Gebug Ende are pretty slim — but, if you’re visiting at the start of the rainy season, try asking your hotel or villa staff to find out the schedule for you.