Dec 7, 2006

The American Tourists

Today I went to Tanjung Benoa (a tourist area in Bali island) with my fellow driver, to pick up two tourists to go on a tour in Denpasar. It took me half an hour to arrive in Tanjung Benoa from Denpasar where I live. And yes, they were waiting for us at the Club Mirage lobby, the hotel they stayed.

The tourists/clients that I went tour today were from California, from such and such county. It took them nineteen hours to travel to Bali.( I can’t remember the name of the county).

The day was bright and not so hot. Well, this morning was quite a surprise for me, and I think for many Balinese. It rained! For so many months, starting from October, we have been expecting some rain to pour on our beloved island, but it rained only today. This morning, at five. It was like listening to our favourite music. Any way, the rain did not last for long. But that’s okay, because it’s all we need. And, fortunately, the day turned bright as I went touring.

As we drove, I explained to them about our Bali Island, and our tradition. This was their first time that they did not know much about Nusa Dua, Ubud, or Kuta beach. (Kuta beach is a famous place for beginner surfer. (I am going to write a post about that later.))I also told them about the “traffic rules” which were quite different from traffic in the US. For example, if a police stop you while you’re driving a car in Bali, you should get out from the car and take out your driving license and the registration paper of the car. Then the police will check it outside while talking to you. I heard in US, people should remain still in the car while the police walk to them.

Of course, I also told them that they should use the zebra crossing in Bali with great care as Balinese driver don’t stop though people step their foot on the zebra crossing. (They laughed when I told them this. “Did you walk on the zebra crossing?” I asked.

“No, but we saw people trying to cross the street but the cars won’t stop.”)

We visited a Bali traditional market in Denpasar. I thought that this was the most interesting place for them.

As we entered the market, they stopped to take picture of people selling chickens nearby. Chickens and ducks were placed together in one basket. None of those chicken or ducks seem to mind each other packed in a small basket. This was interesting for the Americans, so they took a few photos. Well, I saw many chicken sellers many times in my life, so that didn’t fancy me a lot.

What about the cock fighting? They asked. Cock fighting is not allowed in Bali any more if it is for gambling. People will get busted by the police if they spot them doing them. But, in certain religious ceremony, the Balinese people have a cock fighting. Usually at the beginning of the temple festival. The purpose of this religious cock fighting is to neutralise negative energy that may interfere the ceremony. I don’t think they understand why religious ceremony need cock fighting. Well, neither 80% of Balinese people, but we just do what we have been told by our parents or grand parents.

Next, I took them inside the market while explaining that this market, Kreneng Market, started early in the morning at about 5 AM and would be closed in the evening. Then there will be evening market where people sell ready made food instead of daily stuff. We walked on only the first floor where everything was sold here; clothes, spices, fruits, offerings made of flowers and coconut leafs used by the Balinese, many kind of vegetables (The Americans told me that their main industry was also agricultures, they grew strawberry, and lettuce in where they live), black rice, white rice, brown rice, fish, meat and kitchen utensil. So we walked around the market for about twenty minutes and then we were glad to be outside to inhale fresh air again. There was another thing caught their attention, it was the suckling pig seller. Here, you can buy rice and mixed with vegetables and pork.

We went to the Bali museum and the tourists bought two fans from a street vendor. I told them to bargain the price. We had a short visit in the museum, because it was under renovation. I also took them to a big shopping center at Dewi Sartika Street in Denpasar; it was called Matahari, just for a comparison with the traditional market. They commented that there were so many sales in the shopping centre but not many people buying. I asked them, if there are few sales people in US in place like Wall Mart.

“Well, they are only at the cashier. It is hard to find them,” they replied. I nodded and then we went back to the hotel Club Bali Mirage in Tanjung Benoa.

“Thank you, we had a great time.” Said them, smile on their faces. We were back at the lobby hotel after the tour. “Just send us email, if you want to ask anything about America, we’d be glad to tell you.”

“Thank you. I will.”

Related Post:

Denpasar: A Glimpse to Bali Real Life

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