would be in order to charge him amusement tax. Later i came to realise
that the tourist is to the Balinese what the TV set is to the European
- a perpetual source of. Entertainment - better still, the tourist
comes gift-wrapped, and free!
now, all I could think of was my waiting taxi - and, truth to tell,
the more I saw of those heron birds, the less I liked them. Putting
my empty glass firmly down on the table, I thanked the woodcarver
and headed for the door, using another phrase highly
by the guidebook... "Perhaps, later."
fooled no-one, least of all the Balinese, who helped me courteously
into the car, remarking earnestly as he closed the door .... ..
Last price $42 - very good price. Nyonya should take the birds....
Nyonya have bad dreams if she doesn't."
half as bad as the nightmares I'll have if I pay that price."
I hastened to tell him, unsure now whether to be Scourge or M idas.
After all, tourists were flocking to Bali. What if carvings became
so trendy they were all bought up? Who knows what profit I could
make on mine. Though, if past experience was any guide if prices
rose my birds would undoubtedly be riddled with borer.
ten minutes more I carried on like this - then I stopped the driver
and drove back to the woodcarver. It was like turning back the clock.
I was again seated at the low table, the carving taken down off
the shelf and placed before me.
price $42,- said the woodcarver, smiling happily. Half an hour later
I left, the carving under my arm. In that time the Balinese had
come down $4.
As I drove off he calle, After me "Now Nyonya will have good
wasted my morning and my taxi tour. True, the experience wouldn't
be wasted. Never again would I buy anything in Bali.
you believe, I stuck with that resolve until three months later
I returned to Bali. This time it was rain and not the shopping urge
that sent me scampering into an art gallery.