Negotiating Bali Style!

We were on our way back to Ubud. Made Mangku had stopped to gift us with another incredible view of rice terraces. We took our photos, ooo’d and aaah’d and were returning to the car when, across the road, a sarong vendor spotted us. The last thing I need right now is another sarong so I asked her in my best pidgin Indonesian if I could take her photo. She immediately went into a sort of sarong ballet, whipping a bright pink one off the stack on her head and winding it around her ample middle.


After the photogenic pose she sashayed toward our little group saying, “Nice photo…now you buy!” Terri, Barbara, and Sharon had that look of, “Oh no…here we go again.” Our trip to Besakih, the Mother Temple, had been well populated with many opportunities to purchase the handicrafts of Bali, and my friends are not overly fond of negotiating. But there was something in that impish face…and I decided there was nothing I needed MORE than a sarong from this engaging woman. So it began…


She handed me the pink one and I quickly made her understand that pink was NOT my color. Then the stack of them came down off her head and we went at it.


I found one that I liked and said, “Berapa?” (how much?)


When she answered I, of course, looked horrified. “Sanghat mahal! Bagi saya sanghat mahal!” (Too expensive for me!)


“Berapa?” I asked again, knowing what she would say. “Berapa?” she asked back. How much would I pay. In other words, “Okay, let’s get real, what’s it worth to you?” I named my price. Then it was her turn to look horrified.

After a bit more haggling she met my price. "Good for me, good for you," as the Balinese are fond of saying.

After a bit more haggling, she agreed to my offer. Then with that decidedly smug look she quipped, “Good for me, good for you.” When mama’s happy, everybody’s happy!

My Balinese friend should have won an Oscar for her performance. By the end our audience was laughing hilariously, except for Sharon. She was behind her camera capturing the whole show in living color.

My Balinese friend should have won an Oscar for her performance. By the end our audience was laughing hilariously, except for Sharon. She was behind her camera capturing the whole show in living color.

This is my 9th sarong. Two of them turned into beautiful pillow covers. One is now a pair of wild pants. The rest give me many choices when ceremonial dress is in order. But for sheer, dramatic delight, this one is my all time favorite!

Note:  The white stuff on my forehead is rice. We were allowed to participate in a Hindu prayer ritual at the Mother Temple. It is a complex process, but at one point sticky rice is affixed to the middle of the forehead. Mine really stuck!

16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lottie Nevin
    Feb 23, 2013 @ 04:00:46

    LOVED this post Sherry! A girl can never have too many sarongs. I use mine as night attire now that Irishman has forbidden me ever to wear dastahs again 😛



  2. Sharon
    Feb 23, 2013 @ 09:45:15

    It was the funniest thing that happened all week. A movie would have been better but glad I got as much of it as I did. Needed the sounds however….they were hysterical. You both were a match for one another and having such a great time. You only think you won, Sherry!! Her look said otherwise.



  3. gigicullins
    Feb 23, 2013 @ 11:43:16

    Loved this story, Sherry!! And, the pictures made it perfect! I almost felt like I was there!!



  4. Barb Garland
    Feb 23, 2013 @ 17:09:21

    so grateful to have this delightful exchange xoxo



  5. toemailer
    Apr 18, 2013 @ 11:12:32

    We would love to post the top picture at toemail if you do not mind?



  6. toemailer
    Apr 22, 2013 @ 18:33:32

    It’s posted now. Thanks so much, we really appreciate it! 🙂



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: