My usual trip to Cafe Moka's on Jalan Seminyak was made especially interesting today by a surprise visit from Mark, our Indiana Jones antique finding friend from NYC who has lived out here for almost 30 years.
I had ordered and eaten most of my bread basket by the time he had arrived and we chatted over his fruit and eggs. Moka does serve a great range of cakes and is owned by a French lady, this might account for the high density of Euros that frequent the place. I have yet to try the fancier items on offer.
Its interesting how human develop a pattern and other people subconciously get into your routine. I know the staff here by sight and one by name and they know what I order. When I used to work at the DAC ( Downtown Athletic Club ) in Eugene I used to know where a guy’s locker was, what was in it and how he used to exercise along with the schedule. I was thinking if I frequented different place in the mornings I’d have a whole new set of faces and I’d be a part of other people’s routines.
Mark and I chatted about things and he offered to take me to a local guy who is one of the best wood carvers in Bali. His workshop is located down a couple of streets close to the Globe Cafe on Jalan Raya Kerobokan. I followed Mark who is about as good on a motorcycle as I am and we arrived without any mishaps.
The guy’s name was Kus and he is originally from Java, close to Yogyakarta. He’s been here for years and creates funtional pieces of artwork / furniture out of traditional village art and also created things straight from pieces of teakwood. Walking though his 2 storey workshop is like visitng Mark’s house, its packed with crude looking pieces that might be 500 years old. Mark told me Kus had pieces from Borneo, Sumba, Sumbawa and all over Indonesia. His work is very detail oriented and his customers are not the usual tourist. His market is slim, but very top end, including hotels and people who have houses large enough to accomodate the 3ft tall vases, 12ft long gong sets and carved statues.
I respectfully observed his rule about ‘no photography’ and just snapped one of him. His competitors sometimes buy one piece from him and try to copy it. There’s a lot of funny business involving the import / export trade over here and straight guys like Kus and Mark have to be careful who they bring over.
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I told Kus about BaliBlog and he was asking about web site design. I told him I’d love to do an interview with him and show our readers some of his pieces, we exchanged cards and I’ll do that sometime.
Mark was getting very excited about the personal aspect of blogging and I think he’d be awesome. Can you imagine an American who lives in Bali fulltime and has contacts all over the country that he visits to buy exotic artwork….that’s exciting! His daily routine when scouting new items is way more interesting than your average Joe back home who goes to the office.
In the back of Kus’s place he has a huge round concrete oven going all day. The thing has a roof on it and is surrounded by vertical piles of wood packed against it. I think he’s drying out the wood for future use. Finding large enough chunks of quality wood for carving is always difficult and guys like Mark can make a decent living hooking people up.
Kus asked if wanted coffee then brought Mark and I a cup each of strong black coffee with large chunks of ginger floating in it. He told me you roast the ginger then peel off the skin and chop up. It had a unique taste that very pleasant.
After an hour or so we left and I thanked Kus for his time.
Global Extreme is just around the corner and its going to rain soon ( a good reason to stay inside for the rest of the day and type ).