Palaces and People

Feeling friendly. 

I woke at 3.30am this morning. Wide awake after a horrible dream. 

I dreamt that I was dying of malaria, I was back home and everyone was visiting me to say goodbye. He came home and I could hear him with his friends but he didn’t come and see me. For some reason I was watching really old repeats of The Bill on my death bed. I called out to him but he didn’t come. I think I woke up when I died in my dream. I had real tears on my face and I could still hear his voice so clearly in my head. 

I know this is because we had contact recently for the first time in ages. But it was so good to speak to him. But I don’t know if it helped or made me step back a bit. 

I got up and went for a wee, washed my face and got a glass of water. Getting back into bed, I checked my phone and replied to a few messages. 

Olee from the weekend had messaged me and we had quite a chat.

When I heard the nearby mosque calling for prayer I realised it was 5am. I needed to try and sleep if I could otherwise I would be so tired for our first full day. 

I put my phone away and eventually fell back into a light sleep. I know I dreamed again, but I can’t remember what it was about. 

We got up about 9am and had a breakfast of watermelon, spicy rice roll and a chicken pastry. 

We had showers, I ended up shivering because it was so cold and I wasn’t hot to feel the benefit. Once we were fully sun creamed and insect repellented we headed out, our a was to go to the Sultan’s Palace. 

We got to the end of our road and a man stopped to talk to us. He asked if we had been to the art school to which we said no. He explained that it was very close and open to view today only. The palace didn’t open until 12pm so we had time for a slight detour. 

We started walking back the way we had come, and then another local came up to us and asked if we were going to the art school. When we said yes, he said he lived next door and could show us the way. 

It was about 20 minutes and then we arrived at a room with hundreds of framed artwork leaning against the walls. He left us there and went home. 

One of the students from the art school came out and invited us to sit and watch a demonstration. 

The artwork is Ballick and they cover the material they want to keep white in wax, then dip it into the lightest coloured ink. Then they cover the bits they want to stay that colour with wax and then dip against in a slightly darker colour. They repeat this until the whole thing is covered in wax except the bits that need to be black and dip again. Once dry they then melt off all the wax to reveal the inked image. 

After the demonstration, we looked through the artwork and both found one we liked. Mine ended up being the guy who was helping us which he seemed very pleased with. 

Once we had paid, 200,000r for mine, and they had taken them off the frame and folded them up, we went to leave for the temple. The student asked where we were going and then said that we needed a sarong to enter the palace and all temples. The best place for us to get one was from the locals market. 

He started giving us directions but then said that if we didn’t mind he could show us the way. He needed to go to the market anyway to buy new ink with his money he had just got from my purchase. 

We walked with him through back streets and arrived at the market which was packed with locals and so many stalls of clothes everywhere. 

He took us to a stall that he knew and picked out a beautiful green sarong for me. He put it on me and then put a light coloured butterfly one on Beth. They were very pretty and we managed to haggle the lady down to £400,000 for both from £500,000. 

We thanked the student and then eventually made our way to the palace. 

On the way, we met an English teacher and his son. He was very interested to hear us speak and after a 2 minute conversation, he invited us for dinner giving us his business card and then name of the restaurant on the back. 

We arrived at the palace via the big clock entrance. We bought our tickets and put on our sarongs, although no one else seemed to have or need a sarong. 

Inside, the palace had lots of outdoor stage areas with coverings and tiled floors. There was a puppet show just finishing but it wasn’t in English so didn’t know what was happening. 

We walked through the palace, taking lots of photos and ending up getting in the middle of a family photo. 

We then came across about 50 local men all dressed the same with a dark sarong, blue shirt and matching head coverings. They were in a long line and then entered one of the coveted stages. We watched as they got into position, individually walking up 3 steps and then squatting, moving in a strange almost crab like squat movement to where they should be sat. It took about 30 minutes, which we stayed for as we had been told there was dancing. 

Once all the men were sat in very tidy rows, we were ushered out and the door closed behind us! 

We were both very hot and starting to feel hungry. We walked round the rest of the museum part quickly and then decided to leave to find lunch. 

We walked quite far, unsure of where to find food. We stopped for an ice tea and felt a bit better. 

We found a collection of little street restaurants with tables outside. We tried speaking to one lady but she knew no English. 

A happy man came up to us and we asked him for rice and he showed us to a table and got us each an iced tea. 

The lunch was delicious with fried rice and an omelette on top. Whilst we waited and are the man spoke with us, interested in where we were going and giving us helpful tips.

We paid and headed back towards the palace so that we could see the water castle. This was a ruin but it was great, much quieter than the palace and such amazing views from the run down old rooms. 

We had fun taking photos of each other and other people too.

On our way back we stopped at the water castle cafe for a banana lasi, which tasted more like mango but was nice either way!

We got back to the hostel after what felt like a very long walk. We were both tired and decided to have a little nap before our dinner this evening. 

I fell into a wonderfully deep sleep and woke up about an hour later with my body feeling heavy and my face stuck to the pillow. 

I lay in bed for a bit before joining B so that we could plan tomorrow. I was still waking up so didn’t really help much. 

I had a shower under the bamboo pipe waterfall and got dressed for dinner. We invited Caroline (Swiss) to join us as she was alone in the dorm. 

The teacher had given us directions and they were easy to follow. We arrived at the restaurant and they stood up to greet us, both waving and excited that we had actually arrived. 

We ordered our food, B and I sharing a selection of grilled chicken, egg and spinach with rice and iced tea. It came to a total of 30,000r for both of us!

We chatted whilst we waited for our food, about our travels and his teaching. 

The food was delicious! So tasty and fresh. And so cheap!

Once we had finished, they moved the plates out of the way and the father brought out a pad and pen. 

He asked for phrases that he could say to his student to wish them well in their studies and in their future. 

He also wanted phrases to say to travellers and to couples after they have been married. There was an awkward moment when he asked if he should say to a new wife that he hopes they were being vigorous since getting married. I took it to mean in a sexual way and said no he shouldn’t say that but actually after a while I realised he was trying to mean it in a heathly, vitality way.

Once the father had finished his questions, the son had a list of words that he had heard but didn’t know what they meant. One of his words was willynilly!

We then had a discussion about past and present tense of dead as they couldn’t understand when to use died or dead.

It really showed just how strange the English language is, especially when we then had to explain where much fits into a sentence. Loved very much. Much loved. 

They spent about 5 minutes thanking us and the father invited us to go for lunch at his house so we could meet his wife. Unfortunately we won’t have time but it was a very kind offer. 

We walked back to the hostel, and then headed back out again for some ice cream. 

We have learnt there are no bars in this area due to a government ban after deaths. So we are having ice cream instead! 

We tried to go to an ice cream parlour that we saw yesterday but it was closed. We ended up going to McDonald’s and having a popcorn caramel McFlurry and a banana top cone. Yum. 

We got back about 10pm and sat chatting for a bit before heading to bed. Both feeling tired from all the walking (13km today) and the heat. 

We have met so many nice people here so far, all locals and just interested in where we come from and what we are doing. 

If anyone is going to help Sazzle come out it’s B so I have hope for the next few days. 


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