Ubud – Pasar Pagi, a hike, knives and a drum

My second full day in Ubud was a long day, a day that just kept on giving. I awoke early, before six, with plans to visit the local market, Pasar Pagi. Unfortunately I awoke to an absolute tropical downpour. I rollover and sleep for another half hour, then decide it must be done, a bit of rain should not stop ones plans. The rain has eased and I head, with the locals, to check out the market. 

It is not a particularly attractive market. It is chaotic and temporary. It is in the place where the tourist stalls set up later in the day. They have no proper space. Unlike the market I went to each week in Batam, and even unlike the little market in Sanur. It is a wet, soggy, dirty, smelly side of Ubud. But I put my prejudices aside and start to notice the smiles, the politeness, the colour, the vibrancy.

This must be the one thing the locals regret giving up for the tourists, even this, their local way of sourcing food, has been eroded by the desire for the tourist dollar. They must be cleaned up and out of sight, out of mind by the time the tourists arise from their clean, comfortable, air-conditioned rooms in search of the cheapest local souvenir, to remind them of their stay in their clean, comfortable, air-conditioned rooms. 

I manage to purchase some snacks from some nice ladies and an umbrella, so am feeling ready for a little soft adventure. I am heading for the Campuhan Ridge Walk. I have the directions downloaded on my phone so am feeling completely safe. It is bucketing down, but my umbrella holds up. The walk is easy, a little uphill and then flat. At one point the track is on a narrow ridge with the sound of rapids from rivers on both sides.

I make my way to Karsa Cafe for a delicous Kopi Bali and pineapple pancake. The view is delightful, it is still pouring and I notice I am in a spa, so take the opportunity to have the most marvelous foot massage with million dollar views. I hike back down to Ubud on feet that seem to be flying on air! It is still raining! Even heavier if that is possible.

On my return to Ubud, I make my way to the Seniman Coffee Studio which has got very good reviews. It is certainly justified, their picollo latte is excellent, a house blend from Balinese grown coffee, roasted locally. I have two picollos and feel ready and charge up for a second adventure. A walk to an outer area of Ubud to visit a drum factory called Bali Treasures. It takes a while, the traffic is busy, and I need to share the road. The drum factory is loaded with drums, but I knew what I wanted, a lightweight PVC base with waterproof PVC skin. I found a pattern I like, it sounded good and I was out of there.

On the way back, I spy a small stall with a lady selling pretty basic, chunky, home-made looking knives. We talk…with her non-existant English and my basic Indonesian. The knives are made by her husband’s brother in a nearby village and she sells them in Ubud to local people. Tourist don’t often buy them, her shop is not on a tourist strip. However, ever since my last trip to Bali I have wanted to buy a Balinese chop chop knife. So we negotiate to an agreeable amount, I pay her and then she chucks in a sheaf and a second knife, cos she likes me. So I want to pay her more. She refuses, we argue. I take her photo and leave the money there. It was all of $12 for the lot I realise.  But we are both happy, she probably sells them much cheaper to the locals.

After a kip back at my clean, comfortable, airconditioned room, I realise I need a beer, so I head out to my local Mart. It is closed. There is a wedding in the street, the steeet is blocked to traffic, but they let me through walking. All the women in their finest, the men looking dapper. Ladies having to sit side saddle on the backs of the scooters due to their long, straight skirts. The entry to the house is decorated in a particular garish style that the Indonesians enjoy.
I walk on, hunting for small warung with cold beer. I am way laid in a silver shop and make a couple of purchases. It ends up being an expensive beer trip. My phone tells me I have walked over 15km today. A sit and a beer is deserved. But I end up chatting to Mr Santana in the home stay. He tells me about his theory of God, that it comes from the word good. And is applicable to everyone, no matter their religious belief. He is Hindu, he shows me his temples. He shows me his paintings. I buy a small Buddah one that I like. He explains to me how he painted it, with sand mixed into the paint.
 Later that night, on the way to dinner, I see an identical painting in another shop, I ask who did it. She says her brother. I ask if his name is Pak Santana. No, she hesitates, and then owns up that she buys this painting from a factory she has no idea who painted it. I ask how much she would sell it to me. Half the price I am paying Mr Santana. Oh, well. It is good. It is not much and I am helping to support his daughter in her university studies in Denpasar.


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