Bali: general observations

11 09 2012
  • Areas at hotels/resorts/restaurants are very clean as are most businesses and homes, but the vacant lots in between as well as stormwater drains etc. are strewn with rubbish (probably blown in).
  • HUGE number of motorbikes — everyone rides them. I’ve seen Muslim women in full hijab, small children riding in front of or between their parents, riders carrying sheets of glass (!) and other merchandise, women riding sidesaddle as pillion passengers. There’s lots of tooting and it all seems terribly chaotic, but there’s no evidence of road rage and little evidence of bingles between various road users. We could learn a lot!

  • There’s no such thing as clearing tree branches around power lines. I saw power lines running through trees, trees leaning into power lines etc. Heaven knows what happens to the power if trees blow down in a storm!
  • The Balinese are a very religious/spiritual people. There are temples and shrines everywhere — homes, restaurants, businesses, hotels, etc. And people make offerings all the time. Therefore I was very surprised to see some tagging on some buildings (never templates/shrines) when we were out and about on our trip to Ubud and Denpasar. I guess not everyone is as respectful of their own place….
  • Very few insects/bugs. I expected a lot of bugs as Bali is warm, tropical, humid/ But I’ve seen maybe two flies, no mosquitoes, no cockroaches, no spiders, no ants, no moths etc. anywhere. We saw one large scarab/rhinoceros beetle on the verandah one day, but that’s all. It was on its back so perhaps it had been dropped by a bird. I’ve also seen no geckos, which are always good at reducing insect numbers in a house.
  • First world problems: Disputes at the resort about towels and ‘baggsing’ sun lounges by the pool! It’s taken up a lot of conversation time that I’ve overheard. Really, people. There’s a helluva lot more to worry about than who left their possessions unattended for more than an hour or who ‘bags’ a sun lounge at 5:30 am!

Bali: Day 3: Monday 10 September 2012

11 09 2012

Up early again this morning. It was very still and very smoky (from rainforest burning in Java?). We had booked a minivan and driver for the day and he picked us up promptly at 8:30. Off we went to Ubud, via Sanur.

The first stop was a batik demo place and HUGE store (Sari Amerta in Batubalan) — really interesting and a great range of stuff in the store, but no batik quilting cottons.

I expected the drive to Ubud to be very rural, but it wasn’t — all the roadside areas were populated except for some very small patches of rice paddies (the rice was ready for harvest or had just been harvested). The closer we got to Ubud, the more stone carving places and art galleries we passed.

Our first stop in Ubud was meant to be the markets, but they are in the process of pulling them down. Next door was a smaller version of the old markets — very crammed and lots of bartering going on. I ended up getting a sarong for AU$5 (started at $15), and a couple of other sarongs I can use for quilting also for AU$5 each. Sarongs are about 2.25 metres long, so that’s a great price for fabric!

After some more fresh fruit juices in lieu of lunch (my intake of fruit has increased exponentially since we’ve been here 😉 ), we headed back down to Denpasar to check out a fabric store in the Denpasar market area that I’d been told about. Fortunately, I had the address otherwise I could have been looking for ages and not finding it. After driving through some very narrow roads behind the main markets, we parked and had to walk through some very narrow lanes to get to the ‘street’ the fabric stores are on. Most had dressmaking fabrics — lots of silks, suiting etc. But as I had an address (THANK YOU, FLORA!), we were able to go straight to the place. And what a motherlode/treasure trove it was!!! All quilting batiks were 24,000 RP (about AU$2.50) per metre, with a minimum length of 1 metre.

I bought: 13 single metres, seven 2-metre lengths, about 3 odd lengths (e.g. 1.75 m), 3 jelly rolls (AU$13 each), and 3 fat quarter packs (AU$16 for 18 fat quarters). Total: around AU$160!!! Quilting batiks are about $20-$30 a metre in Australia, and about $6 to $7.50 per fat quarter…. You do the math! There were a couple of ladies (with husbands in tow) from Goulburn, Victoria, buying up a huge amount of stock for their store. Not surprising considering the price. They said that 7 metres = 1 kg baggage weight, but I’m not sure of the accuracy of that.

The store is: Maju Store, 19 Sulawesi St, Denpasar (markets), Bali. I believe there’s another quilting batiks store around the corner too: CV Dewi Mas, jl. Gajah Mada 48, Denpasar.

From Denpasar, we headed back to the resort. The traffic is amazingly frantic and apparently chaotic, but surprisingly organised, though some of the things people carry on motorbikes has to be seen to be believed…

We got back to the resort around 5 pm, then had an early dinner over the road at the Laguna Garden restaurant. AU$43 for the four of us — again, 2 starters (samosas, satay sticks), 3 mains (beef rendang, BBQ pork spare ribs, pulled spicy chicken), 2 desserts (banana fritter and creme caramel) plus 4 fresh fruit juices.