Saturday 17 July, 2004 – Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Today is to be a much more sedate one than yesterday – some shopping, maybe a walk. I checked email early – just some replies to my last message. Still deciding wither to try to go to Lovina for a day or so, or just head back to Legian for a few relaxing days before I go home.
Took a walk along Campuan (pronounced Champuan) Ridge, through elephant grass and more rice paddies. An old lady was heading back to her village after the market and a partially blind man offered me a coconut to drink. These boys have their spiels well rehearsed, but are not pushy or unpleasant. Unfortunately I simply don’t enjoy the flavour of coconut juice so could turn them down without any qualms. The way back was along some windy roads through a valley, but with some shade and a couple of drink stops it was OK.
I met Keith, a young Texan who is spending seven months travelling in Indonesia. We had a drink at a restaurant on Jalan Campuan. He was very hot from lugging his big rucksack around.
Back in Ubud I bit the bullet and went to the market. After some serious bargaining I emerged with three printed sarongs, a couple of ikat table runners, some very nice loose pants and a Balinese shirt. I bought some very inexpensive essential oils and massage oil at a very nice shop on the main road – much cheaper than even the local supermarket.
Back to the Hotel for a swim. In the evening I went to the temple on Jalan Hanuman to see the Kecak Dance, the famous Balinese dance that was ‘developed’ from its basic form to its present state by the expat German artist Walter Spies in the 1930s. The dance itself was terrific – music provided by the chanting of the dancers – very Phillip Glass. Like the rest of Bali at night, the dance was so dimly lit as to be almost impossible to see. But the biggest problem was the chatter. Locals sat around the compound yakking at the tops of their voices. Busses full of Japanese were less thand considerate, moving, getting up and down and generally losing interest before things even got started.
But worst of all was a family of fat Scandinavians right behind me who just would not shut up, despite my turning around several times to give them my most evil death-stare. I hoped this would make their lack of manners apparent; they’d shut up briefly, then off they’d go again. The woman had her leg up on a spare seat and somehow kept kicking my seat the whole way through! Bloody tourists!