Bali’s Rooster Curse

En Route: Bali's Rooster Curse
En Route: Bali's Rooster Curse

UBUD, Indonesia — Awakened by the infernal racket of the free-range poultry outside my Bali bedroom window, I immediately knew what time it was: Chicken o’clock.

Of course, I’d heard fowl before. Growing up in Queens, I’d occasionally experience the lovely sounds of a neighbor’s contraband rooster. (They’re illegal in New York City.)

But this was different.

First, I thought roosters woke to greet the sun. They don’t.

Secondly, they were like operatic rooster zombies, chickens expelled from Hades itself for their unusual, piercing and horrifying crowing. Each bird in Ubud seemed capable of cock-a-doodle-doo-ing in six simultaneous, screeching octaves, with an effect that would be deemed too terrifying for “The Exorcist.”

As if that weren’t enough, the neighborhood’s dogs — not to be outdone — chimed in with gusto.

If you’ve never awoken in a strange place to the sound of a rooster racket accompanied by barking and howling (maybe they were telling the chickens to shut their beaks), thank your lucky stars.

Were I being interrogated, after about 20 minutes I’d tell my captors anything just to make it stop.

Within a few short hours, the sun came up and I was able to start my day in the beautiful Bali village of Ubud, and start exploring what lay beyond my sonic imprisonment.

Maybe I’d even have time for a nap.

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