Sunday, September 6, 2009


Sunday: 6th of September in DenPasar;

The day was cooler than yesterday with a bit of rain this morning, a few more clouds, and a nice breeze. After breakfast on our patio (more banana crepes and bacon), we took off to DenPasar with 3 goals in mind: the Pasar Bedung (the 24 hr traditional market); the “fabric” street; and the Bali Museum. (Again photos will follow when I can get a faster upload connection on the internet).

Denpasar is a city of 400,000 of which about 30% are Javanese, Muslims, Sasaks from Lombok, and Chinese-Indonesians. It is somewhat of a ‘working’ town without a lot of the traditional “tourist” offerings (including no beach). But we found it interesting for a Sunday explore. It’s located about a 20 minute taxi ride from Kuta (which costs 5 dollars).

Pasar Badung (which means Badung Market, Badung being Denpasars original name) is a 3 story brick market located on the Badung River in downtown DenPasar. The ground floor is fruits and vegetables, the 2nd floor is spices and sundries, the 3rd floor is clothing, shoes etc. The spice floor was very interesting and fragrant. The only slightly off-putting thing about our visit was a “guide” attached herself to us as we entered. I had read about this, they guide us through the market and would get a cut on anything we’d buy. We were REALLY just looking so felt awkward. However, her English was pretty good and she really wasn’t too pushy. Although I know she was disappointed we really didn’t want to buy any spices.

On an adjacent street, Jalan Sulawesi, are the fabric shops. Over two long blocks of stores hawking all types of fabric for clothes, sarongs, and sashes. Quite a busy street. We found one fabulous shop (I’ll edit the post with the name/address: once I organize my receipts) with high quality goods and no pushy sales jobs. A delightful owner helped us pick out some lovely gawzy fabrics to make into cool pants later in Ubud. The fabric was about $2 a meter.

Then we walked about 3 blocks down a quiet street with Muslim clothing stores, a mosque, and “halal” restaurants. The cafes were quiet and empty as this is Ramadan where all Muslims fast during daylight hours. Further down was a quiet tree lined street which led to a large park, plaza and the Bali Museum. A gamelan orchestra (a traditional set of musical instruments) was practicing for tonight competition. A lovely cacophony of sounds. There were many kites in the air, a common Sunday afternoon activity. Kites of all sizes and colors, a beautiful sight.

The Bali Museum is worth the visit to Den Pasar alone (although jerry loved the fabric street). The museum is a compound made up of traditional courtyards complete with the traditional split gates (Candi Bentar), bell towers, charming gardens (with ancient frangiapane trees), shrines, and sculptures. The compound mixes the styles of old palace architecture and temple architecture (Puri and Pura). The most interesting set of exhibits was in the Gedung Karangasem building which displayed on several floors information and exhibits depicting and explaining the spiritual and ceremonial life of the Balinese: which is the cornerstone of their lives.

As in the market, we had a guide “attach” himself to us. He worked for the museum but it isn’t clear whether we had a choice or not to use him. He just kind of started the tour and we paid at the end. But it was worth the 5 dollars a piece. He was informative about the museum but he also took time to answer many of the questions I had already about temples and ceremonies from things I’d observed so far. He was quite charming and helpful.

After the Museum we were happy to see the BlueBird Taxi at the curb, we were ready for a swim, lunch, and a nap. We’re feeling rather sluggish this afternoon, so have given ourselves “the afternoon off”. After all it IS a vacation!

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