With my client work finished I was free to go out and enjoy Ubud. Joya needed one more work day, so after breakfast Jo and I packed up and hit the streets for a shopping day. Since Jo had already been out shopping she knew the general price things were selling for and offered to teach me some hard bargaining skills. Bargaining is not my forte so I was eager to learn any skills I could.
My initial trepidation faded as I found out how fun and entertaining it is to bargain. Street vendors put on pretty elaborate acts and it seems that everything in Ubud is a “good price”. I learned pretty quickly that you could buy for about one-third to one-half of the asking price and that walking away would get you an even better price pretty quickly. If you walked away and they didn’t counter you had a good idea of how low the price would go and could usually return or find the same item somewhere else.
Prices in Bali are shockingly low and after a full day of shopping I scored a necklace, two bracelets, an anklet, two new dresses, a sarong, two beautiful Javanese masks, a wood carving for my mom, and two shirts all for $70. And I’m sure I overpaid for at least a few of those things. It’s so much fun to bargain and there are so many beautiful things here to bargain for. A day of shopping goes by quickly and I’m not even a shopper!
After lunch Jo and I stopped by the Monkey Forest and had a very memorable monkey experience. The Monkey Forest is a monkey sanctuary in Ubud where clever vendors try to trick you into buying bananas for the monkeys, despite the signs saying to beware if you bring food into Monkey Forest. Luckily both of us were smart enough to know better and stayed far away from the bananas. Immediately on our arrival, a monkey grabbed Jo’s skirt and made a play for her water bottle. It was hilarious and we couldn’t stop laughing! We put everything in our backpacks and made sure we had no food on us.
Strolling through monkey forest was a riot as several unsuspecting people with food in their packs turned into instant monkey objects. One lady screamed hysterically when a monkey jumped on her backpack. Others who were tricked into buying bunches of bananas dropped them and ran when monkeys were suddenly all over them. After a while the novelty of the monkeys wore off and all of a sudden they just got creepy in a bad sort of way, so after a few minutes of dodging through the forest, Jo and I decided we’d had enough and exited.
Leaving Monkey Forest we found a beautiful back road in Ubud with vendors, more villas, and beautiful scenery. After stopping a bit for some pictures we ventured back to the Villa with our loot and packed up Joya for a night on the town to celebrate her birthday. Well, since we’ve all been retiring pretty early and didn’t start eating until 9pm, I have to admit it was a pretty tame and early night. We enjoyed some great cocktails, good conversation, and interesting Indian spiced chicken burritos.