Saturday, December 17, 2011

INDO DIARIES 2010 - July 26th - Ubud

As we drove up the main street of Ubud, we saw a street filled with clothes markets ,music shops and even designer stores! Putuh dropped us off at the top of the hill after  a long silence. He had hated the fact that we had stopped him getting his commission. Anything we said after making him pull out of the batik factory, he didn't listen to. He didn't care that we had been to Java, that we understood the value of the Rupiah, that we knew his game. When he suggested going to a silver factory, he seemed less impressed to heat that we had been to a silver jewellery workshop in Malang.

We hopped out of the car saying we would be back in a couple of hours.

I saw some market stalls and compared a few prices, already noticing a mark up - Ubud is definitely a tourist hub.

We wandered down the left road at Monkey forest road. We found some cute instrument stores, souvenirs, dresses, all good for a browse.

It rained a little, which made us turn back and find shelter and a coffee. Had we braved a little further, we could have discovered so much more of the artistic hub that we had been looking for. We may have to revisit Bali to find out what the hype is all about.

We turned back, to find a cute eatery on the river. It was gorgeous, sadly the food didn't match but the fresh juices and the rain falling into the river made it worthwhile.

Next on the trek, was Monkey forest road, so named because of the monkey park at the end. We checked a few music stores and played a few instruments, but it wasn't until we turned left after the monkey forest that we found our nirvana.

We saw some macaques in the trees along the way and one by the banana sellers too getting all the grub he. That was enough for me. It was my second time to see macaques in the 'wild' in Indonesia and I certainly didn't feel the need to pay money to see them 'in their natural habitat' and support the tourism of Bali we were growing to hate more and more.

Then we found a store that to Ian was heaven. There was every instrument needed to make a full gamelan orchestra. We played around for quite a while, but left with nothing, thinking very hard about what would happen should we part with a few million (!). We had, after all, come this far for just this, true, traditional gamelan - authentic awesomeness. We needed coffee and time to think.

Just up the road, we found a lovely Japanese-run jewellery/coffee store. It was a beautiful, peaceful place amidst the madness of the day so far - the strees were busy, the sellers were pushy and our driver, well...

Over delicious coffee and the last brownie in the store, we realised it would be very foolish to not buy anything. Even the anklet I wanted fell under the carpe diem motto.So, we headed back to the shop bargaining as much as possible and getting rid of literally every single Rupiah.

The man in the store was so much friendlier the second time around. He was alone this time and had no counterpart to joke with at our expense. Admittedly, we had asked how much every single item was, so it would be amusing to anyone, if not annoying.

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We ended up buying 2 flutes and 2 different glockenspiels type instruments, one with four bars, one with more.

I had to to dart back to the jewellery store to ask the nice lady for help to call Putuh - it was 5pm!

He came to get us, but sneered at the gamelan. It wasn't genuine he said and he could have found us a 'better' deal. He asked straight away about the price, and he almost reprimanded us for paying tourist prices. We should have gone to the factory with him. He spent the rest of the journey not listening to us. To add to his anger was our refusal to go to the Cecak, fire dance. Why would we? We were pooped!

The ride home was uncomfortable and frustrating. He had made so many assumptions based on what little knowledge he had. He told us what a hard life he had, perhaps having a dig at the fact that he had lost commission today. I thought that he might also be gunning for his tip at the end. He explained to us that it wasn't his business, (despite the van de haute qualite and with a/c, and the business card) and, that, after the hotel, his boss and gas had deducted the money from the 500, 000IDR, he would get very little.

This guy makes the instruments with his uncle.
He even had the nerve to make us pay the receptionist at the hotel and have her hush us upstairs so that he could go back and get his money. I suddenly realised that the guy hurrying us to pay our airport driver toute de suite was him!

We obediently went upstairs with our instruments but I quickly remembered the laundry so stepped back into the lobby to see Putuh, no doubt returning to get his money. I had given the receptionist his cash, but I had given his tip in his hand (feeling guilty from his tales of woe). Ugh, I felt sick and cheated.

It was a short while before his van drove off after which point we went out for some food. We felt trapped again; we needed out. We couldn't even wait until the nice booking we had.  We had to whisper for fear of the neighbours, we could't watch the crappy TV for the same reasons...

Yeeuk - Under the bed!
We plotted until 6am, with no sleep and figured that, at 7am, when everyone was having breakfast, we would sneak out and leave the manager to his fake hospitality.

We were up at 7am, by some force of a miracle.

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