Reporters on the Job

• REMEMBERING THE SARI CLUB: Reporter Dan Murphy wasn't at the Sari Club in Bali when it was bombed this Saturday (page 1). But he knows it well. "I spent many a night at the club when I was in my early 20s," he says.

"It was in the middle of the Kuta Beach strip – one of the honky-tonkiest places on earth – a jumble of low buildings heaped along the beach with as much neon as the Ginza. It was where narrow-waisted surfing Adonises from Australia – bare-chested, in flip-flops and board shorts – padded the streets, brushing past Balinese shopkeepers dressed in their best sarongs putting out small evening offerings to Hindu gods. It's where giggling groups of young Japanese women went on shopping tours and rubbed elbows with the unwashed, latter-day hippies (but with jobs and credit cards): the backpackers.

"The Sari Club, always reeking slightly of stale beer and bad living, had the flags of 40 nations strung like pennants out front," says Dan. "I would grab a seat at the bar, speak bad Japanese with a couple of surfers from Tokyo, and wonder how I ever made it out of New Jersey. Every night the young budget travelers would pour in and bob on the tiny dance floor. In my day, they always brought down the house with the Violent Femmes' 'Blister in the Sun.'

"Later, as I found my way in Indonesia, learned the language, got a job, the Sari Club was the last place I would go – tourists went there!

"But I always had a real soft spot in my heart for the old Sari Club – all those young people on their adventures, so many splashing out into the wider world for the first time, with so much ahead of them. I don't know any of the victims, but in a way I did – they were me a few years ago, and a lot of my friends."

David Clark Scott
World editor

Cultural snapshot

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