Bali bombing sites become ‘must-see’ tourist spots

Just days after the deadly Bali bombings, the sites of Saturday’s attacks have become the latest “must-see” attraction for foreign tourists on the Indonesian resort island.

“We wanted to see what it is like,” said Kris Clape, a 35-year-old blonde Australian, who was dropped by taxi in front of the now closed entrance to Kuta Square, a small street of boutiques and restaurants in the heart of the seaside resort of Kuta.

One of three bombs which exploded in Bali late on Saturday, killing at least 19 people, ripped through the packed Raja restaurant here.

The area is now closed, with dozens of curious onlookers, journalists and foreign tourists pressing against the security barriers which seal off both ends of the street.

Among the crowd, Clape tries to find the best spot to take photos. A few dozen metres away, shards of glass still litter the ground along with plants toppled by the blast.

“I’m taking pictures just to keep them. It feels more real,” she explained, zooming in on a billboard which read: “Bali loves peace”.

“We pray God to bless the victims,” read a short tribute surrounded by multicoloured flowers.

“I’m gonna show this one to my friends to make them understand the Balinese love peace,” said Clape.

“I’m here to pay respect,” explained Donni Lindnar (44) from Sydney. “We leave today, as scheduled but we wanted to pass by.”

Her swimsuit-clad daughter Rochelle (20) said she was taking photographs of the scene “to show how big it is”.

Behind her, a minibus full of foreign tourists slowed down to allow the passengers to take photos.

In the days since the bloody weekend attacks, Kuta Square has already become an obligatory stop for tourists, along with the site of the 2002 attacks, also in Kuta, which has drawn visitors for the past three years.

About 30km to the south on Jimbaran beach, Magnus Lande, a 19-year-old Norwegian surfer, uses the camera on his cellphone to record the scene at the two beach restaurants where the other bombs exploded on Saturday.

“I wanted to see how big it was,” said Lande, from Oslo.

“It’s not that big actually,” he said, with a tinge of disappointment.

Upturned chairs and tables still lie on the fine sand on the terraces of the Nyoman and Menega cafes, both hit by the blasts.

“It’s terrible,” said 43-year-old German Christa Neubacher, whose glance locked on a pair of child’s sandals lying abandoned at the site of the explosion.

“I waited several days before I felt able to come but I wanted to see it,” she added.

Her husband Tom (51) captured the scene on film “to show friends with whom we dined, at this same place, not long ago,” he explained.

Clape said she did not wish to linger in front of the site of the Kuta explosion.

“I don’t feel really safe here,” she said, before quickly climbing into her taxi. – AFP

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