Such a happy-sad day. We must leave Puri Saraswati, our beloved Lotus Café, and Ubud, our home-away-from-home we've grown so to love. We leave our big suitcases to be bused to our new location. I decide to leave my carry-on, too, and just carry my camera bag, which is enough of a burden.

After breakfast, Joan and I scurry around to make one last round of the shops. We keep telling ourselves we can't believe we're doing all this shopping--it's totally out of character for both of us! Down at the bottom of the hill of the main road I find an exquisite malachite and gold-filled necklace--$52 American--and three cotton knit tops, and three MORE sarongs and sashes!

We eat early, our last lunch at our wonderful Lotus Café. Then over to Puri Saran to meet the whole group at noon. Don leads us in a thanksgiving meditation and toning. Many of our group are saying how much they hate to leave Ubud. One bus will go directly to our new hotel at the beach; the other will stop at the Denpasar Market for an hour. Joan and I and half the group choose the market bus.


Denpasar, the capitol of Bali, impresses us negatively. It's just a big, crowded, dirty bustling metropolis. As we hop off the bus in the crowded parking lot at the market, I say to Joan that I hope to find some of that black rice. Back at Puri Saraswati we'd had a delicious black rice pudding for breakfast each morning. No sooner do the words leave my mouth than we find ourselves adopted by a jolly, chubby Balinese woman dressed in western style blouse and skirt.

"You want rice? I work for market. I know where rice is, I take you there!" Beaming, she shepherds us away, motioning for us to guard our purses carefully. I notice that other, similarly dressed Balinese women each have in tow two-three members of our group. This market knows how to manage tourists!

Joan spots some women selling the lovely fresh-flower offerings we've seen all over Bali. These offerings consist of trays woven of palm leaf strips, and range in size from about three inches square to ones around a foot square. Most have a rim of about an inch high. People buy trays and fill them with an assortment of fresh flowers and green leaves. Joan asks the women to choose for her. Delightedly they chatter among themselves, choosing just the "right' flowers for her. She's delighted, too. The size she gets is about four inches square.

Our guide/interpreter tells us that each morning, all adult Balinese either make their own offerings or buy them from street vendors. Then they place them on roads, paths, sidewalks, in doorways and gateways, in each room of each building, on all the family and public temple shrines, and even on the dashboards of their motorcycles, buses and cars! They give thanks in this way to Heaven, so that everything is blessed and the evil spirits are warded away.

Joan and I feel very comfortable with this custom. We feel that if the rest of the people all over the world did this each day, we'd spend enough time counting our blessings, so that we wouldn't be thinking so many negative thoughts!

Outside in the intense sunlight, our eyes sting and hurt for a bit while they adjust to the sudden brightness. I tell our guide that I want to get some clothing for medium-sized children, that the only children's clothing I've seen so far has been for little children and babies. She beams and says she knows where. Off we go along a sidewalk that skirts many store fronts all jammed together. Their windows are crammed with a variety of wares. Suddenly, Joan sees small locks which she'd been looking for. So we stop while she gets two tiny padlocks for her suitcases.

Our guide enters a tiny shop crammed from floor to ceiling with folded clothing. She jabbers rapidly to another woman who seems to be the shop owner. I tell them I want t-shirts with flowers for a girl and maybe a Barong or a demon for a boy. I pick out a two-piece cotton top and shorts set, white with gay flowers for Jessica. Finally I select a reddish t-shirt with a gaudy Barong head for Conan. I'm not too happy with it, but it's the only one in the whole place.

The woman wants 60 American for these three items! Shocked, I tell her they wouldn't cost nearly that much in America. I try to get her down to $25, but finally have to settle for $35. Which I feel is still too much. Joan gets a top for herself. She also feels the prices are much too high. We later learn that prices are jacked up pretty high for the June through August heavy tourist season. And in Denpasar, prices are higher.

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