If you want cheap
fruit in Bali, you have to go to the market early. And by early I mean really early,
way before the sun has risen.
out from Bege, the owner of a local fruit and vegetable warung that we’ve been
frequenting for his massive, beagle-sized papayas from Java. Still looking for
a lead on the durian scene, I asked Bege if I could go with him to the market to look for durians. He said sure, and invited me to go with him the
next morning: at 2 AM.
The streets were completely
empty when I met Bege in front of his shop, the roads slick and shiny with the
recent rain. We got in his gray minivan and he cranked up the AC, so much that
even in my sweatshirt I was shivering. When I got out of the car, my glasses
like I had expected. Instead of a distribution warehouse, like we have in the
United States, the market was an open air hodgepodge of banana piles on blue
tarps, baskets of flower petals, and tables covered in glistening maroon chicken
livers, their original owners stacked besides them. The already narrow aisles
were made narrower by potholes filled with water from the recent rain, through
which tiny women balancing heavy baskets on their heads barreled, calling to
everyone to move it. No matter where I stood, I seemed to be always in
Bege has been coming
to this market every morning for 20 years. He says it’s a bit boring, because
he sees the same people all the time. He visits the same 6-10 stalls (I lost
count) every day, and buys nearly the same thing. From what I could tell, his
visit was a series of handing out money to various people: the tofu lady, the
flower petal lady, the egg man, the old lady with the gelatinous grey shrimp,
the vegetable guy. I couldn’t really tell what he was buying, because all of
his purchases were ferried to his car by a petite, wiry woman in cut-off rubber
boots, who stacked the plastic bags into the basket on her head.
durian people weren’t there that day. Bege said yesterday there were several
vendors with big piles, but today there was only a little lady in a ragged
shawl selling bananas and coconuts. She had three tiny durians in a square
plastic bin. I bought all three for 10,000.They’re probably not very good, so I think I’ll feed them to the monkeys.