Pizza is Like Crack in Bali

Shouts of “Hello!? Yes please? Look my shop? Free for looking. Cheap price!”  are common things to hear in Bali.  Every corner you turn people are trying to sellyou something.  There are tourist info booths selling tickets and packages, shop owners selling everything from Bintang shirts to wooden penis bottle openers, and restaurant hostesses asking you to come in off the street and grab a bite to eat.  Not to mention all the others looking to give you anything from “transport!?” to “massage or manicure?”

We had been pretty good for the past three weeks of not getting sucked into it all, but being a shopaholic at heart, I caved.  I wanted a dress.  Looking in the markets for a dress is like shopping for tampons.  There are a million different kinds, in all kinds of packaging and you can buy them practically anywhere.  The wonderful thing about shopping in Bali is that you know if you don’t find the right colour or the right price you can move next door and try again.  The bad thing is once you start a dialogue with the owner of the shop they’ve pretty much hooked you.

These ladies are excellent at their jobs, they can smell you coming a mile away, and if they see weakness they jump on it!  They’ll be friendly and helpful, words of “oh so pretty” and “oh so handsome” come regularly from their mouths.  Once you find the object of your affection they hone in.  “Oh if you buy two I give you cheap price!” and when you hum and haw and ask for a better price they shout “Bankrrrrruupt!! No money! Nooooo.”  You counteract with “No bankrupt! Too much money!”  Back and forth it goes.  They say, “Best price, I give you best price, I make no money.  Money for baby” (as they pat their protruding tummies).  This makes you feel increasingly bad but the best shoppers are the ones who have stone cold hearts – like me.

Today’s shopping trip turned out to be more unique than others.  Earlier, we had eaten at a local food joint (ie. Pizza Hut) and we were still carrying the leftovers when we went on our expedition.  Who knew that pizza was such a hot commodity among the Balinese?  Pizza is like crack to them, and as we walked down the street any shop owner who had sampled pizza before came out asking for ours!  It became apparent that maybe we could make a deal.

I had found a dress I liked, and the shop owner found our pizza.  Instead of the dress costing me 40 000 Rp I offered her 30 000 Rp and a piece of pizza.  She actually thought about it!  Who knew?!  Thomas undertook the sale like a pro, wheeling and dealing he told her it was his best price, final price!  Using the same tactics as they do we almost had her; alas our Balinese strategies did not work on one of their own.  Once she saw that it was a plain cheese pizza, it wasn’t worth the 10 000 Rp.  We bought my dress and headed out.

As we walked down the street more people were shouting at us!  “Pizza? Pizza for me?!”  The game was on.  We became the sellers and the ball was in our court.  We offered our pizza for 10 000 Rp/slice or 2 for 15 000.  We had some real close takers, but in the end, no sale.  We figured that it was because they couldn’t rationalize buying a slice of pizza for twice as much as they’d pay for some nasi goreng.  We considered lowering our price, but didn’t feel right about it as we’d likely put all of the nasi goreng stands out of business.  Pizza would take over Bali at 5 000 Rp per slice, and Bali would never be the same!

Therefore, at 10:00 tonight, two pieces of cold cheese pizza were absolute heaven!

– Katherine

Tags: , ,

Categories: Bali, Food, Travel Tales

Author:Thomas & Katherine

A love for travel, adventure, and photography. We just can't help but write about it!

One Comment on “Pizza is Like Crack in Bali”

  1. Buddhabelly
    August 11, 2010 at 11:42 am #

    Make sure you bring some pizza home!


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