Instead of going to Denpasar, we opted for Gianyar instead (it’s closer). We wanted to get Baba Guling (suckling pig) and Gianyar is “famous” for it. We got there and found that the fame is apparently earned by just two places. We walked to one but it looked less than sanitary, so we kept walking and found the second place. It also looked unsanitary, but we ate there anyway.
We got a bowl of rice with chopped green beans and the typical Balinese sauce (garlic, turmeric, onions, etc.) and a few pieces of pork on top, some including skin, and a piece of pig intestine stuffed with something (eggs?). And on the side were two skewers of what appeared to be barbecued organs of the pig.
I ate everything except the skewers and the intestine. Gay ate considerably less. Total cost with one 650ml Bintang: ~$4.
Outside the place was a girl making several types of pork satays. We got a few of those (~50¢) and ate them right there. A German couple was standing outside and before entering turned around to us and asked “Is good?” and we politely nodded so they went in. I hope they think we were Australians. ;)
We walked down the street and got some ice cream (it’s hot here!) and then went back to the car. We drove around for 20 minutes or so looking for the post office to mail some postcards. Our driver did not know his way around Gianyar so had to stop and ask directions a few times. Eventually, we found it and sent 10 postcards home.
We then drove on to a tiny beach town/tourist trap. We thought we could go sit on the beach, have a beer and just watch the waves and people. The (black sand) beach was empty except for a string of tables of people selling drinks and candy. We got two beers, sat down on a bench and were immediately swarmed on by four people trying to sell us crap. No amount of “Tidak”s (“No”s) worked, so we had to sit there and drink our beers with people constantly showing us things we could buy. We quickly drank our beers and went back to the car and rode silently home to our villa.
This is the point I remember from Cuba where the poverty and the begging start to get to me. It’s one thing to be reminded of how relatively affluent you are as an American, but another to feel guilty for it. Part of me wants to give them money, part of me wants to tell them to fix their government. The Dutch control of Indonesia for 300 years brought wealth and prosperity to an almost-bankrupt Netherlands through selling spices, gold, oil, wood, etc. Japan kicked the Dutch out in WWII and Indonesia ran itself with a corrupt and ineffective government since. Now it’s time for Indonesia’s newly-democratic government to get capitalist and bring wealth to their people the same way the Dutch used the country’s resources to bring wealth to Europe.
Back at our villa, we sat down with a glass of whiskey and talked about the day while listening to more chainsaws chopping down trees below us. The staff chef was preparing our dinner. During our stay at our villa, the travel agency provides a staff of three people to be here all day. One cooks, one cleans and the other helps both. Ideally, we’d have total privacy, and we’ve been progressively having them do less so they can go home and leave us here alone. But when our chef asks what we would like for breakfast or lunch or dinner the next day and we say we don’t want anything, he looks so dejected. We’ve been trying to understand why this is, but his English and our Indonesian are not very good so we haven’t been successful, until last night.
We correctly assumed that they all get paid whether they work or not, which made us feel better in sending them home. But we also learned that they are paid ~$50/month. To put that in perspective, we gave them $50 when we arrived to buy groceries while we were here. That made six (!) meals, with some change to spare. Imagine if your monthly salary was the equivalent of six home-cooked meals. The bottle of Jack Daniels we were drinking cost half their monthly wage. Obviously, they are not eating as well as we are at their home. We can’t even figure out how they can go out to a restaurant for lunch. Yesterday’s very cheap $4 lunch would be 8% of his monthly salary! That’s the equivalent of the average American earning $32,000/year having a $213 lunch!