Saturday, 9 January 2010

Bali, Sanur - Day 7 - Thursday

Here I sit having breakfast. The restaurant has no walls and other than the roof it is open to the elements. Outside the bounds of the restaurant it is raining, quite heavily. The restaurant is on a raised platform, so the rivulets of water running across the ground outside possess no threat to comfort. It is warm and I sit here in shorts and shirt quite comfortable, despite getting wet as I left my room to get to the eating area. Water flows along the ground outside.
My waiter has informed me that my accommodation package includes an American Breakfast. This proves to be remarkably good. Freshly prepared Pineapple Juice, I could hear the blender in the background, a plate of fruit salad, 2 poached eggs, a slice of (fried) ham, toast and the highlight a remarkably good and fresh all Butter Croissant. Despite feelings of guilt at the high fat content, I ate it with great enjoyment.
I had just returned from a long walk along the promenade that follows the beach. Despite an early start I missed the actual sunrise. At this time of day the air is relatively cool and long walks and runs are possible. Local hotel staff were preparing their hotels for the day's business. On the beach areas they were dusting off the sun lounges and re-laying cushions and mats on them. Beaches were being swept clean of leaves and other debris and rubbish. Local fishermen were standing in the shallows casting their nets, and I paused to watch 2 people beating the water and trying to drive the smaller fish into a waiting net.The eating and drinking places and vendors were starting to remove their covers and restock shelves and fridges for the day ahead. An early opening warung was serving food and drink mainly to local staff. I was passed by runners, joggers, walkers and cyclists. These were mainly tourists from the nearby hotels, but this promenade also serves as a thoroughfare for the locals Balinese as they go about their business.
Fishing boats line the shore, at this time of the day it is quiet and peaceful. Later in the day this area will swarm with people trying to sell drinks, carvings, souvenirs, massages and en treatments to go and see their shop. A walk along the promenade at this stage is an exercise in patience, as you are followed by these vendors and almost every step there is someone trying to sell you something. This is one of the more ugly sides of this island paradise. As I walk I hear a noise above and turn to look. Above me the top of a palm tree is swaying and suddenly a palm frond falls to the ground. I realise that there is a man up the top hidden amongst the fronds, pruning the larger/older ones.
This is a good relaxing holiday
Later in the day I venture out and talk with some of the ladies wanting to give you massages and take you to their shop. They tell me that they work on commission for the shop owners and make some money on each sale. They use emotional blackmail to force me to buy something. They tell me that they are poor, they have made no money today, could I just buy something as they need to be able to buy food, there are few tourists here at the moment. Some of this is no doubt true but what their real situation is I do not know. Is it right or wrong to pay 120,000 Rupiah (AUS $15) for a sarong that you know sells to a local for 1/3 that price. You would pay much more at home. Do you ruin things for the next tourist if you pay too much? does it matter? There are many arguments about the rights and wrongs of this style of bartering and "fleecing" tourists. But does it matter, I can spend more on a glass of beer at home than I am giving these people.
Maybe I shouldn't have such thoughts over breakfast?

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