While we were in Bali Amy and I caught up with my sister Merryn and her fiancée, Glenn. Early in the trip Merryn decided she needed a good story to take home. This is how she went about it…
The day started ok. We were in Bali for a long-deserved holiday. The sun was shining, the beer was cheap, the locals were friendly and there wasn’t a profit and loss statement to be seen. We decided to go down to Doublesix in Seminyak for some sand, surf and sun.
About an hour in I decided to sneak off and get a massage. “What could be more relaxing than a Bali massage?” I thought to myself.
I decided to only take 40,000R (about $5) with me. This would put me in the power position in the bargaining stakes and I wouldn’t be tempted into buying superfluous crap.
Arriving at the Jayakarta Hotel courtyard I picked out a masseuse. The negotiation went exactly to plan…
Masseuse: “Just five Rupi more.”
Me: “Sorry, forty is all I have.”
Masseuse: “Sit down.”
I sat down, closed my eyes and silently congratulated myself on my forethought and bartering ability. The healing hands of Masseuse began to work their magic and my cares began to fade.
Things were going smashingly until a simple tap on the shoulder shattered any pretence of relaxation.
Hawker: “You want saucepan?”
Me: “No, thanks.”
Hawker: “Stainless steel”
Me (internal monologue): [They are nice saucepans]
Me: “Sorry, I don’t have anymore money.”
Hawker: “No problem, you pay later.”
Me: “No, thanks.”
[Hawker walks away]
A different hawker, selling plates, quickly took up the fight. For the next half an hour, an endless stream of women hawking various wares surrounded me.
At some point I gave in and must have whimpered something like, “Ok, ok.” thinking that would make things better. How wrong I was…
Hawker from earlier: “You buy from her and not me! Do you hate me?”
Me: “Sorry. Of course I don’t hate you.”
Hawker: “You buy from me! Pay later.”
Me: “Ok. Ok.”
I stumbled out half an hour later in a daze. As I walked back to meet the others, I took stock. I had two bags full of kitchenware and other assorted junk; my nails were painted; my heels had been scrubbed; and I couldn’t remember my massage.
Written on a scrap of paper was the IOU. I took it out and read it:
I did the math. “Holy fuck! That’s like $250!” I yelled. This was bad; you can buy seventy-five pots at the Cally for that.
I got back to the others and walked over to Glenn.
“What’s in the bag?” he asked. I broke down.
“They were all around me. I couldn’t say no. I owe them $250.” I sobbed.
Glenn wasn’t as sympathetic to my plight as I had hoped. I went for a swim to clear my head.
I knew that behind all the bluff and bullshit Glenn was a big softie. It wasn’t long before I managed to talk policeman plod into sorting it out for me. He took the merchandise back, told them how disappointed he was and paid them a token amount.
I was so relieved. We went and got some lunch and I pondered how to best spend the remainder of the day. As I saw it, there was only one viable option available.
I set about getting myself horribly, slurringly, lazy-eyedly drunk. I drank and told the story about how, when I was in Bali, some hawkers talked me into buying a whole bag full of shit. Told it to anybody who would listen. Then, just in case they hadn’t realised what a great story it was, I told it to them again, and again.
It was about 2am when I finally got tired of drinking and telling my story. We were back at the villa and I had just a couple of things to do before bed.
First, I went to the bathroom and picked the flattest bit of floor I could find. I tripped over and cracked my head on the sink.
With that out of the way, I crawled over to the toilet and repeatedly deposited the contents of my stomach into the bowl.
I laid my head down on the cool tiles of the bathroom floor, closed my eyes and smiled. The next day, I would have a quality shiner and a hangover to go with my story.