Four days til Paris and…uh oh

It’s a daunting task to assemble the appropriate attire for a winter wedding in Paris, the height of the fashion world, when you’re living basically barefoot in a small tropical village in Indonesia. But given enough time and a little ingenuity, it’s possible.

One essential item for the trip, however, eluded me. Socks. I no longer own a pair of socks. Socks were not even a remote speck on my radar until I googled temperature in Paris today and read 4 degrees Celsius. That’s a balmy 40 degrees Farenheit. At that moment I knew I was in trouble. I’ve acclimated to hot. Eighty feels chilly to me now. I imagined my feet without socks at 40, a sickly bluish purple color. Not acceptable.

In the mountains in Kintamani I saw people wearing socks. Ketut is from Kintamani so I asked him where I can find a pair.

“At market,” he said. “Many many.”

I confess, I’m not comfortable with the Ubud market. First of all there isn’t a breeze ruffling the tight packed stalls and repugnant odors waft through like incense. The air sits hot and still and sweat pours off me in torrents. There are hundreds of cubicles selling everything from penis bottle openers to raw chicken feet and they all have hawkers offering “good price,” some more aggressive than others. But it can’t be helped. I must have covers for my poor feet.

The Ubud market spills out into the street

Outside the Ubud market

It was probably just shy of 95 degrees as I entered the first building. “Buy sarong?” the woman asked as I approached.

“I’m looking for socks,” I said in my most confident Indonesian. “Can you tell me where to find them?” The woman jumped up gesturing and waving her arms uttering a string of sentences so fast it sounded like one, long word.

I watched the direction she was indicating and I pointed, in a comradely sort of way, in that same direction nodding my head up and down, eyebrows raised as if to say, “That way? Yes? Is that what you mean?”

“Ya, ya,” she said and gave my shoulder a little twist and shove in the right direction.

I took off the way that she’d indicated until I rounded a corner and a new vendor vied for my attention. “I’m looking for socks. Can you tell me where to find them?” It worked before and this time the response was similar. Her directions brought me to the old part of the market where everything negative about the place is intensified about 200%. But another shopkeeper was offering “morning price,” so I rolled out my question a third time. This woman didn’t waste words. She grabbed my arm and hauled me up the broad concrete steps to the second level. Then pointing down a cluttered alley she sent me off. At the end of the aisle was a pillar covered with socks.

I paged through the ankle socks, the Hungry Bird socks, the Nike sweat socks, my hope dwindling. But then, right there behind all the others was a pair of black knee-highs. A brown arm reached over me and plucked them off the rack. “These you want?” she said.

“Are they my size?”

She eyed me, “Ya, good for you.” I asked the cost and she told me.

“Local price?” The price for foreigners can be significantly more than what the Balinese pay for the same goods.

“For Bali people same,” she said.

I fished out the bills, handed them to her, and stuffed the socks into my purse. A sense of well-being drifted over me. I’ve braved the market, tracked my prey, found it, killed it, and dragged it home. It’s taken months to assemble all the pieces, but the Paris look is complete and I’m so ready to BE THERE!

11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Gary
    Nov 22, 2014 @ 07:34:23

    How much are the Penis cork-screws…or bottle openers?




  2. judybaliJudy
    Nov 22, 2014 @ 15:54:18

    Well done on tracking down the socks and have a fabulous time at the wedding and you have your wonderful new warm cost as well.
    I will be in Bali from 3rd to 23rd January. Not sure where I’ll be stsying yet but would love to meet you this time if you will be around. So I need a time frame of when to hover in the Ubud area. Judy



    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Nov 22, 2014 @ 16:42:59

      I don’t know if anything can truly prepare me for those temperatures! I’d love to get together! The first scheduled guest for Rumah Jelita B & B is arriving Jan. 9th and the workers have promised it will be ready by the end of December. How do you feel about being a guinea pig? We’ll give you ‘morning price!’



  3. shanemac
    Nov 22, 2014 @ 16:40:07

    You’re a brave woman, Sherry. I often think of you when I see women sitting side-saddle on motor bikes, heading into the mysterious hills of Bali. It’s more than I can do. And the Ubud market is enough to make me want to crawl into bed, under the covers and hide for a while.
    Paris will be a great joy and you’ll make so many memories of beauty, laughter, and love.



  4. Diane Struble
    Nov 23, 2014 @ 16:21:14

    Well, the market looks interesting. With socks and boots, you are ready for Paris though you will still feel like you are freezing. Have a good time. Congratulations to the bride and groom and Love To The Whole Family.



  5. healingpilgrim
    Nov 25, 2014 @ 04:53:57

    Glad you found a pair of warm socks. Becik becik 😉 Hope you have a wonderful time in the city of lights, and above all, at your daughter’s wedding!



  6. judybali
    Nov 25, 2014 @ 15:52:01

    Hi Sherry,
    I just saw your reply now.
    When you have a minute please explain watch Rumah Jelita B and B is.
    Where is it and what is the morning price for it?
    Happy travels and hopefully see you in Ubud in January.



  7. Lottie Nevin
    Nov 26, 2014 @ 01:50:50

    I’ve never understood the penis bottle openers but I do hope you’ve bought one as a wedding present?! Have a wonderful time in Paris and can’t wait to hear all about it when you are back xxx



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