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...two travellers in search of the world's wildlife

2 February 2011

Oleh oleh

30th January 2011

Duck eggs and donuts.

Today we ambled our way back from the far east Amed coast to Denpasar and grandma. There is a tradition on Bali called “oleh oleh” which means that when you visit someone (or return home) you bring small gifts with you, and your hosts also give you gifts when you leave. Naturally enough the tourism industry has adopted the term and “Oleh Oleh” means souvenirs to most tourists, but the locals still take it perfectly seriously and we certainly needed to bring something back for grandma. When we left Putu’s family the other day she came away with enough bananas to open a market stall.

We wended our way from Meditasi and the Amed coast with genuine regret, as we could happily have vegetated there for a week. For the return home we chose an inland road that clambered up among vivid green paddy fields stacked up in terraces on the hillsides. As an aside: if I cast my mind back four months, I would judge that the similar rural scenery of Madagascar is just a little more bucolic and picturesque than that of Bali.

We stopped for lunch on the way, at a roadside warung where we ate the most amazing fish wrapped in banana leaf; the zingy and combustible base with which the fish had been cooked was what made it special. Then we stopped at a road sign saying “Bebek” which means duck, and Maureen came out with a tray of seven grubby but incredibly fresh duck eggs. This would be a very nutritious oleh oleh but perhaps a little too worthy. So as we drove through the outskirts of Denpasar we also stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts and bought a box of twelve assorted.

On our arrival the duck eggs were greeted with some good-natured mirth from grandma and Putu, while the donuts were accepted with rapture and to my sure knowledge only three hours later six are already gone. Okay, so I ate one of them.

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