Saturday, 24 October 2009

Day 5

Saturday 24/10/09

I took a taxi out to Elle’s this morning and the driver went a completely different way resulting in a higher fare than last night's trip 'home'. Today's fare was 59,900rp (about AU$7.00) but last night's was only 43,750rp (AU$5.00). Not happy Jan! That's $2.00 I could be spending on sarongs!!

The boys stayed at Elle’s with her boys and her pabantu (maid/housekeeper) while we went shopping at the Denpasar Art Markets. We were about 2/3 of the way there when Pa Putu (Elle's driver) said that the markets would probably be closed due to Kuningan (a religious holiday for Bali Hindus). Elle wasn't happy that he decided to wait until almost the last possible minute to tell us but we went anyway. (If looks could kill, he would have died on the spot!)

She had been telling me about how crowded, hot and smelly the markets were and that you could barely move but luckily for me, it wasn't like that at all, thank goodness! I'm kind of glad that it was a holiday and only some of the stalls were open as I was hot enough just thinking about it. I could still smell the river over everything else... so polluted with rubbish and leftover offerings to the gods that it stunk to high heaven.

We had a wander through and bought some sarongs and things for kids to take back to their classmates. I found a lovely set of candle holders and was just reaching for them, when a rather large rat scurried across the shelf, stopped and stared at me for what seemed like forever, then hissed at me and scurried off again. I'm sure it was just as startled as I was but I'm glad it didn't stick around... eeewww!!!

After the markets, Elle wanted to go to 'her' sausage shop and get some chicken sausages. Apparently these ones are imported already made and therefore don't have any questionable content .. well no more than 'normal' sausages anyway. We parked on the side of the street then went for a walk down one of the back alleys of Denpasar. Not the place I would have expected to find a reputable sausage shop, but what would I know? Apparently, it's at the back of the house where the import guy lives so I shouldn't have been surprised to find his pets in the yard outside the shop.

Now when I say pets, you would normally think, dog, cat or bird, right? Well this guy has rather unusual taste in pets. Check this out:
Yep, that's a lion and a tiger. And in the cage next door are their children, a couple of ligers. Lion's mane and very faint tiger stripes on the male and a lion's colouring with faint tiger stripes on the female. There was also this cute little one chained to the tree outside the cages, but we aren't sure if it's a new liger or a completely unrelated big cat in the making.

Just as I recovered from the shock of seeing these very unusual pets, I was faced with a couple of huge pythons, a fruit bat, what looked like a miniature dragon without wings and lots and lots of fish. Thank God those sausages are imported (complete with Australian labelling and import stickers) or I'd be wondering what the hell was in them!

I was starting to feel the heat a bit by this stage, so Elle decided it was time for some air conditioned shopping in Bali Mal (or mall as we westerners would say). I managed to buy some really cheap T-shirts for Andrew and Brad... none of them were big enough for Alex. That's the only problem with shopping where the locals do... everything is local sized and seeing as Alex is taller than me now, there wasn't much hope of getting anything to fit him.

Elle took me upstairs to check out the pet shop. There were Australian bearded dragons, pythons, turtles, tortoises, mice, fish and a crocodile, all for sale with no permits required. I'd love to know how the bearded dragons got out of Australia and into Bali. Actually the 'into Bali' part I can imagine there were no problems if the smugglers had the same customs/quarantine guys we had when we arrived.

We headed back to Kuta for lunch at the Green Garden Hotel. I ordered chicken satay sticks and they arrived still sizzling on their own little 'stove'. It was like a miniature BBQ complete with coals and smoke but it all added to the flavour. They were yummy!!

We were supposed to be going to the shop of one of Elle's contacts but she was closed due to Kuningan so instead we checked out the shops either side of Dianne's. I found a couple of things I liked the look of but Elle had a conniption fit when the woman tried to charge me 680,000rp for three items of clothing. Lucky she was there or I probably would have bargained her down to 300,000 and thought I'd got myself a bargain. Elle hustled me out then spat chips about it all the way back to her place, saying it was insulting that that woman thought we were that stupid. When I tentatively asked how much they should have cost, Elle replied "no more than 100,000rp for all three items; not each, all together!" Once I'd heard that, I understood why she was so annoyed.

We went back to her place to check on the boys (and to make sure they hadn't killed the pabantu!) and then went out to Ula Watu temple. Have to do the cultural thing you know! My only complaint is why do so many of the cultural things involve stairways that seem to go on forever? In between dodging the sacred monkeys, all their 'leftovers' and the busload of Japanese tourists who acted as though it was their temple and the rest of us should just move out of their way and/or leave, those bloody stairs just about killed me!!! Can you see how red my face is? I'm sure Elle thought I was going to have a heart attack on the spot!
Once the colour of my face had cooled enough to resemble a molten pool of magma, we headed back to her house where I picked up my boys and went back to hotel for shower to feel half human.

The boys requested 'something normal' for dinner, so I took them to McDonald’s. We all enjoyed our 6 piece McNugget pakit (combo meal) then walked down to check out the Poppies Lane II stalls only to find they were all closed. Brad was complaining about being hot, having to walk, that it was too dark, too light, too noisy, too smelly and just generally about having to breathe for himself... why couldn't I do that for him too?... so I snapped lost the plot calmly decided to take them all back to the hotel and bed.

Upon arriving back at the hotel, after a slow 10 minute walk, Alex announced he wasn't tired and wanted to go look at some shops on the other side of the hotel. I took the younger two up to bed, then Alex and I checked out the Hard Rock Megastore (bought some stuff for Peter), Bagus Watch shop (I'd have to sell Alex to pay for the watch he wanted), and another clothing shop that Elle would have had fits about (350,000 for one top!). By this stage, I had well and truly had enough of shopping and headed up for another shower and bed.

Unfortunately the kids are all asleep but I’m still wide awake at 11:30! Might play on facebook for a while and see what happens.

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