Its Ferris wheel and carousel look rustic with faded colors and peeled paint. The ball pit’s condition is a far cry from the one city dwellers usually see at similar facilities in Denpasar’s shiniest supermarkets. And the whole carnival is set on a plot of vacant land where the ground would get muddy after even a light shower of rain. These days, torrential rain hits the area on a daily basis.
Yet, such humble conditions have not deterred the local children, mostly from middle- to low-income families, from visiting the carnival ground. At night, the once-quiet place comes alive with the laughter and screams of the children as they cheer each other to board the Ferris wheel or as they chase each other on the animal-themed carousel. The sounds of joyful, if repetitive, melodies and the whitish beams produced by electric lights transform the carnival ground into a strange realm, especially compared to the quiet, semi-darkness of the housing area around it.
The carnival, Dufan Taman Mudaria, which will be in Penatih village, north Denpasar, until Jan. 14, is an inexpensive harbinger of joy for the local youths who couldn’t afford the prices of the more expensive children’s playgrounds in downtown Denpasar, Sanur, Kuta and Nusa Dua.
In this carnival, a Rp 5,000 (52 US cents) note is sufficient to buy an exhilarating ride on the Ferris wheel or a wild jump into the ball pit. For the accompanying parents too timid to hop into the back of that giraffe on the carousel, an outdoor bazaar set next to the carnival is the perfect place to escape. It offers affordable clothes, shoes and sandals.