Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Denpassar



We met up with Jan and Michelle in the hotel lobbies and hired a taxi, destination Denpassar, and a 20-minute drive away. The driver spoke no English but that did not matter. Just the word Denpassar and he nodded knowing that we could only be interested in the shopping district. Along the road from Tuban to Denpassar we saw many small factories making teak and rattan furniture as well as people selling offerings to be left at the over 1000 temples on Bali; actually if you want to be picky, Bali is said to have over 10000 temples and shrines, and there is always a festival to go to any day of the year.

We were dropped off in the heart of town where the shops sell anything from cloth to woodcarvings and jewelry. Like bees to honey the ladies were immediately attracted to the jewelry stores and soon money exchanged hands for some of Bali’s beautiful silver bangles and necklaces. Shops seem to be clustered by theme, so it is not difficult to price compare between vendors and you can negotiate for a better price on the items that are of a lesser quality. Vendors will not bargain on a high-end piece, full price is expected. The city is also a great place to shop for woodcarvings and paintings for those who cannot find the time to go to Ubud, a Mecca for artisans from all over the island. Denpassar vendors will ship to anywhere in the world, so your selection will come to you eventually, hopefully.

Michelle sampling the selection of fabrics

Shelagh, Michelle and Jan with a good selection of silver 

The city is a busy hub of activity and you must be very cognizant of the traffic. And the fact that Indonesia drives on the left side of the road, to cross the street you must look to the right first or be hit by 200 mopeds. Entire families ride on these little bikes, dad is steering, mom is on the rear seat, a child sits on the gas tank, another one wedged between mom and dad and a third is strapped to mom’s back. So along they go like a swarm of wasps, dressed in their Sunday best to pay respect at their local temple. The clothing is beautiful and surprisingly clean for the dusty road conditions.

Mopeds everywhere!

We checked out the local shopping mall and were impressed with the selection of clothing and electronics on offer. The latest fashions were available from shoes to hats, everything “haute couture”. Also the latest in audio systems and photography equipment were on display. Such a contrast with the simple life outside, it made me wonder who the stores main clientele is.

Après shopping...

A hard day of shopping deserves a reward. Jan was familiar with one of the top end 5 star resorts on the island and we decided to crash their happy hour. Immediately upon entering the place I was blown away by the size and opulence of the hotel. In the huge lobby, a gamelan ensemble was playing the traditional Balinese music. Anantara Seminyak Resort & Spa is a beautiful place but not for Shelagh and I, we prefer the not so Gucci crowd. The bar had a fruity alcoholic concoction on special and we each had two. At the pool side young lads were fanning the coals of a grill loaded with saté. A cool ocean breeze wafted by and it could not be more bliss. We returned to our hotel with the catch of the day and got ready for dinner across the street, in a little local restaurant serving traditional Indonesian fare, followed by another night in the hotel lounge laughing it up with our new found friends.

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