Day 5 (February 4, 2004)

Neither Ubud nor taking it easy today, instead, we decided to go to Denpasar, but not in any big rush.

I got up at about 10am, at least an hour after Claire, my sunburn isn’t very nice today. Better than yesterday though.

Walked to Kuta for a late breakfast (getting there just after 11am, which is when they generally stop serving breakfast, the Balinese are pretty easy about these things though), then on to Bemo Corner to catch a Bemo up to Denpasar. Bemos are by far the cheapest way to get around.

Made it to Denpasar for about 40c each, or something ridiculous like that.

Claire wanted to check out the Museum in Denpasar, and I wanted to have a quick look at the big Denpasar Market, had fun playing with taxis and demos, offering miserly amounts to take us to the museum from the terminal, no one would do it for 40c, but 80c did the trick (for both of us).

The museum is quite central, and is next to a large park containing a big aviary (full of nothing more exotic than pigeons) and a huge statue. Along the tree shaded paths around the parks you’ll find a seated groups of men playing chess and eating lunch (depending on when you arrive, clearly).

The museum itself is a walled compound, and comprised of a series of maybe 6 or 7 walled gardens, some featuring ponds, or statues, or towers, and some featuring buildings, built in a selection of Balinese styles, and containing the museums selection of artifacts.

The collection is fairly small, and as museums go not terribly impressive, but it’s cheap to get in, and if you find yourself in Denpasar, I can think of much worse ways to spend an hour.

Exhibits ranged from traditional Balinese weapons, dioramas, traditional costumes (including some practically identical to those worn in the Barong & Kris dance we watched the other day) and various other artifacts, the museum has a strict policy forbidding taking photos of their collection, so I took a couple of very bad and uninteresting ones. But mostly we only got photos of the grounds.

The Balinese really know how to make a scary looking monster, the masks are probably the most impressive exhibits.

Anyway, we did have a good time there.

There were a couple of hawkers there, but they weren’t particularly loud or intrusive, in fact one of them did no more than to provide us with lovely background music as we walked around the gardens (he wanted to sell us the wooden flute he was playing, but seemed happy to just play it to us if nothing else).

When we were done with the museum we walked around the park and grabbed a drink, then headed to the central markets for a looksee.

Something we’d read had warned us that women would try to attach themselves to us and be our guides around the markets, but of course taking us only to friends or family members stalls, then inflating our prices and taking a huge commission, this didn’t sound like a terribly good deal to me, so I wasn’t very interested in the idea.

Sure enough, we weren’t even within sight of the markets when a woman in an orange t-shirt started shadowing us, it was quite comical, really, if we turned to look at anything, she’d suddenly stop and turn away from us, obviously her spy training manual hasn’t arrived yet.

Once we got to the market she tried to take a more overt role, by attempting to push us off our own course, needless to say we looked around at our own pace, took the photos we wanted to, and completely ignored her. Eventually she gave up and wandered off.

The outside portion of the market, mostly comprises of women selling food, the most recognisible being satays, but who can say what they’re made of, I wasn’t quite up to eating anything I found here.

Inside the main building is 4 floors of the highest concentration of stores you could imagine, in some places packed floor to ceilling with… stuff. In other places you’ll find trays full of tobacco, betelnut leaf, fruits & vegies, ready made offerings, incense, sarongs, and everything else available on Bali, all under one roof. And I didn’t want any of it. (which made it very easy to ignore the shop keepers, who were very easy going by comparison with elsewhere on Bali).

Took a few photos, but there were very difficult light conditions, so who knows.

Leaving the markets we almost got lost, but just keeping on walking in what we figured was the right direction eventually saw us right.

We spotted a Dunkin Donuts, and decided to have a look, I had a double chocolate & peanut, Claire had a bavarian creme, neither of us wanted a durian donut, but both of us were only half surprised to see it on the board.

Ugh. Durian.

Good times in Denpasar.

Bemo back to Kuta, and a short walk to the hotel, then we crashed out in the hotel for a couple of hours.

For dinner we decided to go up to Legian again, as we’d had reasonably good times up there, so we grabbed a taxi and pointed him in the direction of Poppies 1, this time we were heading for TreeHouse, unfortunately, it was full, so we headed along the lane a bit further to TJ’s where we’d had a great dinner a couple of nights before.

It was even better than last time, had another Space Kadet, then a frozen banana daiquiri.

Only downer was seeing a couple of beggars on the lane – using babies and small children as props.

Tomorrow I plan to do: Absolutely nothing.

Loving: Aircon. Picking up more of the language every day.

Day 4Day 6