Sew happy to be in Bali

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - TRAVEL & INDULGENCE - SU­SAN KUROSAWA

A few days in Bali be­fore Christ­mas felt like a fort­night — but in the best way. There is a ten­sile qual­ity to time spent away from daily rou­tine. Days seem longer, ev­ery­thing stretches out, seem­ingly to in­fin­ity, un­til, whoosh, it’s time to pack and go home. Oh, yes, pack­ing.

You’d think by now I would have stopped shop­ping. Af­ter decades of travel, what else could I pos­si­bly need in the way of in­ter­na­tional odd­ments. Well, not un­like my hus­band, who haunts hard­ware stores for ever newer and more com­pli­cated de­vices and doovers, I have be­come ad­dicted to shops sell­ing sew­ing bits and bobs.

So there I was at the ex­tra­or­di­nary em­po­rium known as Toko Cen­tral on Jalan Raya Kuta, faced with aisle upon aisle of but­tons, rib­bons, trims, loose beads, fancy fringes and se­queens (sic), and big, bouncy dis­plays of what I thought were tiny cush­ion in­serts but turned out to be brassiere en­hance­ments.

Faced with such choice I was quite over­come and a sales as­sis­tant, who popped from be­hind a stack of pom­poms, handed me a plas­tic bag. “Lunch,” she said, in such a mat­ter-of-fact tone that I re­alised all shop­pers here must get the vapours and re­quire sus­te­nance. The pack­age con­tained an or­ange, three tiny bananas, a mini-muf­fin and a Ba­li­nese green sticky cake.

The act of feed­ing cus­tomers did make me won­der about the busi­ness model de­vised by the pro­pri­etors of Toko Cen­tral. The­o­ret­i­cally, you could pop by for a snack any old time and barely buy a 20c zip­per. “It is good karma,” shrugged my friend Li­nawaty who had es­corted me to the shop and was guid­ing me about while si­mul­ta­ne­ously get­ting lost her­self. We de­cided to split up for 30 min­utes and re­group by the pom­poms.

Who knew you could buy big plas­tic bags of pom­poms, each surely con­tain­ing enough to dress a troupe of cheer­lead­ers or deck out a Bol­ly­wood dance set or mardi gras float? I went wild, stock­ing up on strings of red, blue and white fluffi­ness. Back home, I wound the pom­poms all around my fam­ily’s Christ­mas presents and had about a tril­lion left over to trim cush­ions and bed-throws and pos­si­bly to wrap the house, Christo style.

Mean­time, Li­nawaty was test­ing zip­pers, ap­prais­ing the glid­ing mo­tion, the strength of the catch, the gen­eral touch and feel. She had lost track of time so, feel­ing off the hook, I walked across to the rib­bons sec­tion.

You might imagine a few shelves piled with spools but Toko Cen­tral does noth­ing by halves. Ev­ery colour, tex­ture, de­gree of sparkle and span­gle was ar­rayed, al­most to the ceil­ing. I re­vived my­self with a ba­nana. A smil­ing as­sis­tant ma­te­ri­alised from be­hind the gros­grains and took the skin from me as I made a note to take a col­lapsi­ble steplad­der next visit.

Of course when it came time to leave Bali, I had to em­ploy the sec­ondary zipped com­part­ment of my suit­case, the one that turns it into a kind of pop-top car­a­van. It may or may not have been fes­tooned with a fes­tive sprin­kling of stray se­queens on its way home for Christ­mas.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.