To the far side of town / where the thin men stalk the streets / and the sane stay underground

So here we are in the midst of the UN cli­mate talks in Bali, most of which is being held some 20km away from where I’m writ­ing, at the gild­ed ghet­to of Nusa Dua.

It’s actu­al­ly not been as bad as we all thought it might have been. 10,000, most­ly low­er lev­el, func­tionar­ies, their spous­es, and, by all accounts, a swarm of the next gen­er­a­tion of US snake oil mer­chants: car­bon cred­it mer­chants. The Amer­i­cans may be the envi­ron­men­tal bad boys but they are not adverse to mak­ing mon­ey out of Kyoto.

Lots of places one may have thought would be rather over-pop­u­lat­ed with del­e­gates are quite qui­et.

The traf­fic has been the usu­al quag­mire but apart from the odd bus full of spous­es being dragged up to the sil­ver shops or the mon­key for­est, scream­ing past on the bypass at 90 kph, with flash­ing police escort as all and sundry dive out of the way, not that much worse than before. Oh, and there are guys in cheap plas­tic shades (all aged around 17) stand­ing on each cor­ner with sub­ma­chine guns, almost like Singapore’s air­port. As Brigid point­ed out, if one was to want to exe­cute a very, very impor­tant per­son, a sniper shot to each of these guys first, as obvi­ous as they are, would allow an aspir­ing assas­sin free reign.

There are Indone­sian navy patrol boats off shore too. I guess there is some con­cern about Al-Qae­da trained Sea Tur­tles on sui­cide mis­sions.

I read the words from the lady from Ugan­da who com­ment­ed on how order­ly and well behaved the traf­fic in Bali was. I’ve made a note to keep out of East Africa.

It’s a con­fer­ence of con­tra­dic­tions to be sure.

First­ly there is the venue. Nusa Dua, built by the World Bank, in col­lu­sion with the Suhar­to fam­i­ly and assort­ed bad­dies, has a bit of a taint to it in this part of the world, what with vil­lages hav­ing being forced out with­out com­pen­sa­tion, reefs being dyna­mit­ed and the like. It’s a part of Bali’s often dark, and still unre­solved (or admit­ted) past. It seems like an odd place for the World to come togeth­er to sort out its envi­ron­men­tal prob­lems. That cou­pled with the fact that locals, unless they work there, are real­ly not that wel­come with­in its walled 60 acres (nor would they like­ly wish to – its a ghast­ly, hor­ren­dous­ly over­priced, ster­ile sort of place pop­u­lat­ed by gar­ish they-could-be-any­where chain hotels).

Sec­ond­ly the idea that over 100 jets need­ed to be parked in the region seems at odds with the whole con­cept of cli­mate con­trol – haven’t these peo­ple heard of plane pool­ing……

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