Thursday, July 21, 2011


In tourist resorts, people will hound you a lot to join their tour, buy from their shop etc. But, Bali has to be one of the craziest places where you simply cannot shake off a hawker no matter how skilled you may be.

'Look in my shop'.
'Looking, walking, looking...'

'Need driver tomorrow?'

'Jet ski?'

Whatever it may be on offer, think carefully about shrugging them off.

The silent treatment is good, if you like staring at pavements that is. Personally, I feel stupidly guilty at ignoring their polite greeting, so quickly smile and then look at the pavement shaking my head.

Hawkers come in a variety of guises. Men, women, there is no telling who will be worse.

Last year we were stung by a hideous driver. We thought organising him through the hotel was a good vibe, although bear in mind I had booked us the one and only skanky hotel in Bali! Clearly no one there is to be trusted.

The driver desperately tried to stop many a time to drop us at some 'traditional' Balinese thing, be it dancing, batik or plain Blah...

Thing is, we had just spent a few weeks travelling around Java (hence the cheap hotel, a booking we soon changed!) we had seen all the batik we had wanted to see. We had had our wedding rings made and engraved at a cute back street store where the 'factory' was the back work room. We certainly did not need to see more.

We were strong, but not strong enough. The driver succeeded in taking us to a Barong dance where we had to pay for the 'pleasure' of seeing even more gamelan (we were in fact on our way to BUY our own gamelan to lug back to Japan!)

We eventually got through to the guy that we did not need to see any ceramics, silverware, batik. He was not amused.

After our day in Ubud, we met him to drive back home. The journey back was longer and more painful. We had to refuse some night time dance performance, which then led to him telling us our hard his life was. He worked long hours, drove, had a family to car for ...blah blah.

He also had the nerve to make up a story about how his boss takes such a big percentage of the fare that we were about to pay.

In the end, we felt so sorry for him and were so glad to get out of the car, that we did tip him. However, we peered down the stairs in the hotel only to see him going back him to collect the money he had made us give to the front desk.

Ugh. It is too tiring.

Last week, I was so in the zone of the beach vibe that which enjoying my favourite avocado juice, I was offered a massage. At 20 000IDR, I would never complain. Why not.

During the massage, I ignored the uncomfortable feeling of her rough hands and her ring digging into my skin. I also turned a blind eye to the fact that this was not a massage, but more of an assault to the skin and muscle, should there be any left when she is finished. And, I thought of the cheap price we were paying when she battered my face, digging her thumbs into anything but my pressured points.

How shocked were we then to learn, that, at the end of all this, the damage to our purse was just as bad. The total for two people had been hiked up to 140 000IDR!!!! (for the record, my husband didn't feel so much grief during his massage time).

I think the moment we fell, was the moment we said that yes, we were on honeymoon. I imagine that some people have prejudices about those who come to the islands here to celebrate their nuptials, and presumptions of much money are no doubt presumed.

Even if you are, do not say you are on honeymoon. It could lead to financial grief.

Sadly, the anger kicked in slowly and we paid begrudgingly. By the time we got back to the villa, we were fuming and as a result decided to not go on a fishing boat with a guy who was offering us a great price in the same area of the beach.

Who knows whether he was genuine or not now.

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