Saturday, January 24, 2015

New Years Day in Bali

January 1 - New Year’s Day

Breakfast at Topok House
After so much traveling and a New Year’s Eve out, we sleep until 9:00 A.M. I wander from the walled oasis of our bungalow to inquire about breakfast?  Apparently they tried to bring us our breakfast earlier but we were still sleeping. A few minutes later, a lithe young man brings hot water, packets of cream and powdered coffee and we mix our grainy morning coffee. He disappears and returns a few minutes later with scrambled eggs and toast. It’s not a memorable breakfast but it will do and we sip and eat on the terrace of our secluded bungalow oasis.

Proposed Jewelry Designs
John sorting through bead components
We walk the few blocks up to Tabra’s workshop compound and are once again absorbed in the visual opulence of her trays of beads and piles of fabric and boards of sample displays. We talk design, Etsy business and about homesteading her 350 acres of undeveloped property outside of Limon, Costa Rica. John eventually grows impatient and at noon, we take a taxi to Tabra’s shop on Hannaman street.  We spend another hour in her shop, absorbed and admiring the jewelry and her clothing line and making a few too many suggestions.

Tabra's Shop on Hannaman Street, Ubud
Inside Tabra's Shop
Art and Tabra discuss business
John is quite the shopper and we wander Hannaman street looking for a Barong Ring. John carefully compares prices and quality between the many stores lining the street but later this afternoon, after happy hour margarita’s, John will buy two “silver“ rings for $25.00 only to discover later that they are silver-plated bronze. Art and Tabra discuss business over a delicious lunch at Kafe, a “hippy” sort of restaurant on Hannaman Street with organic salads and a variety of Indonesian dishes, washed down by fresh limeade.

It is late afternoon by the time we get to the Monkey Forest. I buy a small bunch of bananas and am immediately swarmed by the brazen monkeys at the entrance and toss down my banana booty to avoid being scratched, bitten and climbed on.  I love this park; shady and humid with huge banyan trees and cascading vine tendrils. The green moss grows thick on the stonewalls and stone sculptures. We spend an hour frolicking with the monkeys and eventually John buys a bunch of bananas. His intent is that I take his photo with a monkey or two on his shoulder for an Instagram post. The Monkeys are big, have sharp teeth and are aggressive and one gives John a warning bite. (Art suggests that for a really good U-tube video, John should stick the bunch of bananas down his pants and see what happens?) 

John, Monkeying around
John, Monkeying Around

Tabra and Art sit on a moss covered wall and wait while John and I climb down the long flight of steps to the grotto and the river below.  The grotto is my favorite part of the Monkey forest and we visit the large mossy stone sculptures of two Komodo Dragons and walk along the pathway above the river and see a large monitor lizard slinking along the rivers debris. The Komodo Dragon grotto seems to be  a secluded secret, but there are many tourists and a wedding party taking photos along the gorge pathway. In spite of the activity, this grotto is magical and worth the many steps both down and back up. 

Marty with a Dragon in the Monkey Forest
Monkey Forest Grotto Dragon Gate.

Marty in the Komodo Dragon Grotto

Komodo Dragon Grotto

After returning to meet Tabra and Art, we continue our meandering along the shops of Ubud; wall to wall shops with many intriguing and lovely things to spend our money on. It is Happy Hour time and we are enticed into a small restaurant and order two for one, margaritas. We sit in the grassy back garden and watch three white rabbits nibbling contentedly on the grass. (Did we perhaps we drink one too many margaritas?)

We have a mediocre dinner in the heart of Ubud but we enjoy good conversation; political, business and talk of developing Tabra’s Costa Rica property into a self sustaining art community and organic farm.  We stroll after dinner and buy John a beautiful and expensive Balinese shirt at an upscale shop. Tabra is interested in our purchase and the dynamics of the sale? The prices in the shop are fixed and we willingly pay the full price.  I explain that;  #1 We wanted the shirt. #2 The sales girls were darling and posed with John wearing their uniforms (that were of the same fabric of the shirt that John wanted to buy) and #3 We had recently enjoyed happy hour margaritas. The perfect storm to sell a $60 shirt when others in the market could be purchased for $10.

John and Sales Girls at the Batik Shop

Geckos on a lighted sign

We take a taxi back to Penestanan Village. Even late at night, men are still sitting on the Banjan, a raised and covered platform keeping watch along the dark village road. Tabra tells me she is never anxious about walking alone at night and we part ways at the intersection and she walks to her house and we walk downhill to our Topok House Bungalow.

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