Like a Prostitute

citiallrev.jpgUbud is changing, big foreign business arrived - Citi Bank advertisements all over the place or in the words of the official Ubud Writer and Reader festival blogger Ric from Water and Stone: "The first thing that struck me on arrival to Ubud was the ubiquity of the Festival marketing banners; they seem to be everywhere this year." Or in twitter: "Seeing our print and design work all over town. Nice!" and surely he got well paid for those design and marketing work. Congratulations!

What Ric does not mention is, that the Citi Bank logo is everywhere, it clearly dominates the streets - in small letters the UWRF follows. And the Citi Bank does not even have a brach here in Ubud (yet). Starbucks is one step ahead. After members of the kings family were resisting for decades to let foreign franchising into Ubud one of them simply could not resist the big bucks Starbucks offered for the lease of one of Ubud's most dominating buildings.

Nor could Janet de Neefe, the mastermind behind the Ubud Writer and Reader festival resist - 'Feels like prostitution' as a festival visitor remarked. The 7th years is famous for being critical in a marriage, let's hope that the 7th incarnation of the UBRF does not mark the beginning of the end of the Ubud we love - and that it does not sell it's soul.

Citi UbudBig business buys the media and tries to make Ubud to a place like so many others - as do the official bloggers -  hopefully not all of us:-). Here in full length the first real official post on the CITIBANK-UWRF website:

Arrived in Ubud today, settled into my hotel room and picked up my media kit. Had someone rent a motorcycle for me so I can get around town -- they show up with this tiny pink thing. I should have known better than to let someone else handle this for me. Well, at least I will be easy to spot. I'll be the large white guy wrapped around the tiny pink scooter.
The first thing that struck me on arrival to Ubud was the ubiquity of the Festival marketing banners; they seem to be everywhere this year.

This evening was the pre-festival cocktails, held for the writers and the media, followed by a dinner. I made the cocktail at the Four Seasons -- great chance to catch up with people and do a bit of last minute coordinating, but took a pass on the dinner. The Festival will take over my life for the next few days. Not quite ready to surrender just yet. Went off for a quiet dinner on my own and the chance to get a bit of non-Festival work done. Tomorrow the Festival begins to ramp up. Workshops start in the morning and run all day.

I will make an appearance at the Blogging Workshop, but the rest of the day is going to be meetings, planning and coordination. Still have a number of author interviews to set up and final organization for the Festival bloggers -- oh, and we have a video blogger this year! Soma Helmi will be documenting her experiences at the Festival on video and publishing them on the Festival YouTube account across the next few days. You can see those videos, and all the photos we upload as well as the blog posts, by visiting the UWRF Experience page on this site.