Friday, October 18, 2002

BALI WATCH: Andrea has sent us over to this David Mendoza piece on Alternet, a site I probably don't have a good reason to not read. He lives there and has a first hand-report:

Today I spent the day on Monkey Forest Road hustling blood donations from tourists. The hospitals desperately need "western" blood types, as Asian blood types tend to not match westerners. Many Balinese had gone to donate blood but their blood could not be used except for the Indonesians injured in the blasts, of which there were many. A volunteer/donation site was set up in Casa Luna restaurant in Ubud for food, money and clothing. In Indonesian hospitals food must always must be provided by families, so the injured and their friends and families had little access to food. Donated food and water were being loaded into vans to take to the hospitals.

The tourists on the streets that I approached for blood were almost all willing. One woman, a nurse on vacation from Holland, had volunteered the day before at the main hospital, and when I approached her for blood she burst into tears and mumbled to me about her time there yesterday.

The clinic ran out of needles, a lot of blood was collected and it will begin again tomorrow morning at 9am. People asked if I thought it was safe to stay and if they should maybe leave. Before, I always reassured them that Bali was safe. I could only say, I hoped so, and that I thought Ubud was safe but I didn't know anymore.

The location of the bomb is one of the most crowded on Bali. It’s packed with tourists and local Balinese and other Indonesians who sell cigarettes, water and food on the streets in front of the tourist spots and work in the discos and restaurants, or just hang out there on Saturday nights. People live in the back of their shops and there are private Balinese houses and boarding rooms for workers tucked between the bars and restaurants. There are small shops that sell food to locals next to shops that sell souvenirs to tourists. It is a densely populated area. One entire block was destroyed. Not just the discos where the bombs went off, but the shops, restaurants and houses surrounding them. The fire finished what the bombs didn't.

Real good piece--which is actually an e-mail he sent in to Alternet.

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