Indonesia – Ubud Bali, market, Monkey Forest, cooking class & Gianyar night market

29/07/16

To kick things off tourist style, I decided to make my first stop the market which is not far from my hostel, Jukung. Here they sell pretty much every tourist souvenir you can think of, and you really have to bargain with them.

I got myself a new sarong as I’d left my other one behind in Malaysia. I wasted no time, something I will regret later, and bought the first one I saw for 50,000rp. I probably could have got it for less, and probably could have got a nicer one… oh well! It was really enjoyable walking around,  it was more fascinating the little ceremony the Balinese hold for luck. They have a little tray of flowers and incense, and they splash water over their goods, a local lady told me they do it every day.

It’s a large market, larger than I thought it would be. There’s some indoors market, some upstairs and some down small alleys. It took me around 1 hour to wander everywhere, and I didn’t buy anything apart from the sarong.

At 2pm I had signed up to a free cooking class at a jam shop, Confiture de Bali, to make some dessert. I didn’t know what to expect, I’d asked no questions, so when I jumped on this girls scooter and we were driving for 10mins I was beginning to get sceptical. I needn’t have been as we turned up at this local house and it was where they made all the jam at the shop.

There were 4 women working there, one of them was the quality control and owns the jam business and the other three made the jam. The woman teaching us was Wayan who told me she loved to cook, and was going to show me how to make black rice pudding. It was a super simple recipe:

  1. Soak the black rice for around 4 hours or overnight (1kg – or however much you want to make)
  2. Cook the black rice until soft (lots of water, add more if it goes down)
  3. Wash the sticky rice (0.5kg – or half of the weight of the black rice)
  4. Add the sticky rice to the black rice
  5. Add pandan leaf for flavour
  6. Add palm sugar to taste.
  7. Continue to simmer until thickened.

So easy! I asked them why they hold the class for free and was told that it’s marketing. We are able to come where they make the jam, and my gosh they make a lot of jam, using so many different fruits. I can then see the process and then tell everyone I meet about the jam shop (I did this) and up the sell. I thought it was a lovely way to meet them and have a nice chat and learn more about their way of life. Plus the jam is really delicious. Everyone should buy some.

I ended up befriending Wayan and we agreed to meet up later that day to go to the night market in her town. As she didn’t finish work until 5 I was taken to the monkey forest to have a look round before meeting her.

The monkey forest is what it says on the tin. A forest full of monkeys, horrible scary cute monkeys all for 40,000rp. I use to love monkeys and now I hate them. They can be so aggressive and love to steal your stuff. You’re able to buy bananas there and feed them, but it’s not cute, they snatch it off you. They’re wild animals so can’t really expect anything else! It was amazing how they can steal your water though and take off the lid to drink. All in all the forest was lovey to walk through and you can avoid getting close to the monkeys, they are great fun to watch though.

I made sure to be back at the jam shop for 5pm, where Wayan was waiting for me. We drove to Gianyar to the night market and there we ate some Balinese ayam nasi where one piece was roasted and the other grilled, there was some lental stuff and some spicy stuff. It was really very spicy. It came to 70,000rp in total and I paid as Wayan had told me about her life and it was only fair I paid. It seems that married life in Bali is not great, and there is class system so you can’t marry the one you love if your class doesn’t match. It turns out Wayan was not happily married which is a real shame really, but she has this wonderful outtake on life and I really admire her spirit. She told me time and time again that you have to give everything a go so atleast you tried, and that money isn’t everything. I agree with her, my outlook on life is changing and I feel that some things that are important to others are not as important to me. And it’s not a bad thing.

In the end I was bought many different desserts to try, some were really good (rice and coconut), some were good yet weird (potato with syrup) and then down right disgusting (brown square jelly which taste of pond). I then had a rojak, which was a spicy version of the Malay rojak.

It’s a shame I move on from Ubud so quick as Wayan is busy the next couple days, and I’d love to hang out with her again. If I come back I definitely want to go back to the market with her, she’s a gem.

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