Last night a full moon shone on Bali and streaked the sea with silver. Normally, young travellers would have gathered on the beaches to dance the night away.
But this weekend is the first anniversary of the terror attacks on Paddy's Bar and the Sari Club in Kuta Beach. Out of respect for the 202 people who were killed on 12 October last year, the scene was sombre.
Kay Marks, from Melbourne, Australia, surveyed the low wall where posies and tributes are posted up. "We have been coming to Kuta for 10 years but went to America last year," she said. "All the rest of our gang of married ladies came out to celebrate Sue's 40th birthday. They all died."
She added: "We realise that if we stay away, the Balinese people will starve. We will come back every year to help them rebuild. We love this place. But now we jump at a car backfiring."
More tourists filed past a grand new altar bearing the names of the bomb victims erected opposite the spot where the Sari Club stood. Asana Viebeke, organiser of a local merchants carnival, requested that priests bless the monument on the night of the full moon, even though it is not yet complete. Ms Viebeke said: "Some people read the names and burst into tears. But in our culture, we do not understand this need for memorial. We have a different calendar and we prefer to ease the passage of the spirit for reincarnation. It is done. But we will pray together."
At Sanglah Hospital, where the corridors were lined with burnt bodies last year and where the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, will open a burns unit funded by his government, Dr Wayan Sutarga greeted former patients who turned up unannounced. "They hunt for nurses or doctors who helped them that night. Many seem to be trying to piece together their lives since the blasts," he said.
Among the first to arrive at the blast site last October were members of a moderate Balinese Muslim group. Ismoyo Soemarlan, a hotel manager in Seminyak, said: "Sectarian hatred is not Balinese. We were not going to hide simply because we are Islamic. So we put on our skullcaps and offered to help gather up the severed legs and arms that had rained down. Devout Hindus would not touch these."
Tony Perkins, a Yorkshireman who lost a daughter and a niece at the Sari Club, was unfazed by government travel warnings. He said: "The girls were murdered here. This is where they are. No way was I not going to be on the dance floor to light a candle at precisely 11.04 on Sunday night."Reuse content