I wish I’d caught her name. Our little waitress of the night before. The one who had served our Balinese tasting menu at the Wantilan Café She could see that we were curious, so she spent a lot of time speaking to us.
It was she who told us about the morning market at Sanur. Just what we had been hoping to find!
‘I go in time to be home by six in the morning. I shop for vegetables and food for my family and I pick up breakfast for my sons there. School starts at seven.’
‘We want to go.’
‘Well it opens around five and the food market goes until about 11.’
She told us how to get there. ‘You probably wont see me,’ she warned, ‘I go to my usual merchants and keep my head down. I must be quick.’
We left the hotel in the dark and the taxi dropped us on the corner of two streets. It took our eyes some time to adjust to the lack of light. The place was bustling.
We dove into the small alleys of the market, with only enough room to be single file. Dirt floor, littered with trash. The smell of incense and flowers mixed with fish and dirt. In the outside alleys of the market there was a sort of hush. An industrious hush. No loud sounds of human voices but of people moving. Busy. Getting things done.
A woman was chopping a jackfruit. We bought a piece, throwing the skin on the ground. I’d never had it before. Sort of a cross between pear, mango and banana.
Vegetables of all kinds. Dried fish in baskets. Eggs. Tempe and tofu. Ready made offerings with beautiful petals. Rice dishes wrapped in paper. Probably what our little waitress bought for her sons.
We arrived at a building, the covered part of the market. There was more light there. Wooden stalls with spreads of fish. Chicken. More vegetables and fruits. In baskets on the ground.
Around 6, day began to break. It was cloudy. With more light, the market became louder. People talking more. More bustling around.
(NB: when we first arrived, it was really quite dark. Any photo I would have taken then I would have had to use a flash and the place was just too peaceful to violate with a flash. I waited for some light to appear in the sky before shooting.)
We stopped at a stand to get a taste of the nasi campur. ‘Light on the chilies’ we told the lady as she wrapped up the rice, with a pinch of spicy noodles, half an egg, some veggies all in a paper cone. On the way out of the market we bought two little pastes to have with the rice. One chicken and one fish cooked in banana leaf. This breakfast, enough for two came to a grand total of 21 euro cents.
We didn’t see another westerner the whole time we were there.
We got back to the hotel in time to see the end of the sunrise above the bay of Sanur (along with an amazing number of Japanese tourists- all decorated with cameras and decked out with paraphernalia). Another world.