World Travels by Casey

Becoming a bit more cultured

had my first true experience bartering with street vendors in UBud. It was quite the experience especially with Pia being there with Alicia and I. Pia is NOT a fan of street vendors! She gets really upset that they keep coming after her, begging her to buy something, tapping on her arm, draping their fabric goods on her. The humid temperatures don't help with her mood either. She's having a hard time accepting the humid tempatures. 

when you walk by these street sellers you need to know a few things: 
if you look into their shops or at their carts they come after you! Hollering at you to buy, "you want one more?" "I give you good price" and so on. They also walk quickly after you to pull you back to their products.
If you don't look and you just keep walking they will just quietly ask you if you want to buy and you just keep walking and say "no thank you" and that's that. 
I've learned to walk straight ahead and look out of the corner of my eye so I can still shop, but be left alone tell I'm sure I see something I want. In this case I saw a dress I wanted. 

This was our first evening in UBud and we bought tickets to see a traditional Indonesian dances performed at the palace. On our way there is when I committed myself to buying this dress. I wanted something light and non cotton to wear around here and I know ill need it in Asia. This heat is insane! 

I walked past the vendor with the dress I wanted and then decided to go back and look. The sarong vendor lady where I turned around was insistent on making a sale so she followed me back to the dress lady. The girls were still walking towards the palace so I yelled down the road at them. I wanted one of them to help me pick one out as fast as possible. They both came to assist me and the vendors attacked us, like seagulls swarming for bread at the beach! 

I tried on 2 dresses in the street, thank goodness I still had my swimsuit on! Alicia took pictures and they both gave me their opinion since I didn't have a mirror and I'm not really into shopping. All the while Pia was being tapped on her arm by the sarong lady and getting angry with her. She finally got in the lady's face and said "no! I don't want any!"
And the lady backed off... a bit. It was funny to me but I also understand both sides and I've tried to explain this to Pia. It's their way of life. This is how most of these people make their money they have to be pushy sometimes.

I bought my dress, talking the lady down from $250,000 R (around $25USD) to $100,000 R (around $10USD). I didn't think that was to bad for my first bartering experience. I was even more pleased when I saw the same dress in a store the next day for $300,000 R ($30USD). 

The town of UBud is known for happy people, relaxation and was made extra famous when the movie "eat, pray, love" with Julia Roberts was filmed here. 

It's a place full of yoga retreats and a mix of healthy whole/ raw food cafés as well as every other food you can imagine from around the world. The smiles from the local people are true and genuine and as much as they want you to buy from them they are also just happy to have you there in your town. But then it's also here in UBud that I have seen a handful of Balinese women with their children on the streets begging for money. It's quite sad and frustrating to me. I don't like the way they beg and the influence this is having on their children. 

I'm not sure if these women are actually homeless but they just sit and reach their hands out to you as you pass them. The first time this happened I was confused about what was happening. The worst one I saw was a mother reach out to me as she sat with a baby in her lap. She had 2 more little ones playing next to her with their backs to me on the sidewalk. As soon as I passed the mom the kids turned to me and reached their hands out. It truly made me sad and a bit sick to know that this is what the future probably holds for these 2 kids. They are already so well trained. 

On our way to the spa a few days back, we passed a small group of women moving stacks of bricks on their heads at a building site. No hands, just perfectly balanced stacks of bricks and they walked them from one location to another, unloading them. Since seeing that I have also seen women working in this sane manner at a few other construction areas. It's impressive! 

The scaffolding at construction sites is a bit different here. It's bamboo scaffolding... Of course! 
It's strong enough I suppose, I was just surprised when I saw it. The men build concrete buildings without forms, all by hand. It's like stepping back in time and pretty cool to see, actually. 
The bamboo scaffolding and new building project. 

I'm definitely getting lots of cultural experience on this trip. Im really enjoying seeing how the rest of the world lives. 

Nate KComment