On the way to the Immigration Office to extend our visas, Cliff and I discover there is a Carrefour in Singaraja. We are familiar with this international brand and have shopped at Carrefour while in other countries. “Great news!” We’ve hired Kadek, our driver, for the morning and want to make the best use of him.
Carrefour, a large supermarket chain based in Paris, means “cross roads” in French. It’s about ten minutes further down the road from the Immigration Office, which is already a good 30 minutes drive from the Villa. We are greeted at the door by an attractive young Balinese woman saying “Welcome!” and then bowing in the traditional Balinese way with hands folded in prayer-like fashion. Apparently AMERICAN is stamped invisibly on our foreheads somewhere. Or maybe it’s our shoes. Fortunately, people everywhere in Bali have been friendly and welcoming to us, especially in the Northern regions outside the large cities.
The store is very clean, well-lit and seems to have a one-stop-shop approach, including small appliances like rice cookers and several racks of traditional looking Balinese clothing. We immediately stumble onto a well-organized display of East Bali Cashew product. A BIG find! We had accidentally purchased East Bali granola at a Warung when we first arrived in South Kuta, Bali, even though it was quite pricey. Well worth it. Loaded with all kinds of goodies, full-size cashew chunks, rolled oats, puffed red rice and sun-dried rosella with cinnamon. Crispy – the way I like it. Something Cliff and I can both enjoy. We get a bag each of the granola and the muesli. And then we see the complete line of snack packages, so we choose four different ones. Coconut cashew with rosella, salted cashews, cacao and chili crunch (less than 3 oz. per bag). I can eat a pack of these for a meal.
I had hoped to find some maple syrup at the Carrefour, to grace our banana pancakes, no luck. However, there is a huge area dedicated to every variety of honey one could imagine. The different varieties appear to be from various regions in Bali. One small bottle that is quite dark catches my attention. I decide to go for it. Judging from the picture on the label, it looks like a blend of dates and honey. The only English on the label – Royal Jelly.
There are lots of clerks mulling about the Carrefour. It is fairly early in the morning and the store is not busy. After searching extensively, I ask about floss picks. I make the appropriate flossing motions while standing in the toothpaste aisle and the store clerk nods affirmatively, but returns in a few minutes saying, “Sorry. No have.” “Okay,” I acknowledge. “Thank you!” I have not found double floss picks (my fav) anywhere outside the US, and have gladly taken the single strand whenever I can get them. I have learned to live without my fav floss picks, but it is difficult having several dental implants and numerous gaps that trap every imaginable trace of food. It is the one item I would stock up on before leaving the US, if I had the opportunity again. Cliff and I continue shopping, and five minutes later a smiling clerk approaches us with a package of single strand floss picks in hand. Thirty total in the package. How sweet! I am impressed by their efforts to keep trying to find what I need. I buy them – even though they are not the quality and strength of floss I need.
We pick up some other stuff we’ve been craving like pasta and pesto, lettuce and feta cheese for salad, along with black olives, and the more typical staples like coffee, milk, yogurt, butter and toothpaste and head to the checkout where I notice the wine and beer rack. Wine is expensive on this Island, and we read that before coming to Bali. Beer is reasonable, but I have never been a beer drinker and I haven’t had any wine in over a month. Minimal choices, but I see a bottle of Two Islands Pinot Noir, Australian grapes bottled in Indonesia. Perfect. It is expensive for us, about $15 USD. Pinot Noir is the one grape that no matter where I buy it, never fails me. I decide it is time to splurge! We check out and the total bill comes to over 558,000 IDR (Indonesian Rupiah). We always get a chuckle out of the numbers which convert to about $42 USD. Our trusty driver Kadek is standing outside the Carrefour, waiting to help us with the bags.
When we arrive back at the villa, I check out East Bali Cashews on-line and learn it is a sustainable company that has been around less than five years. They are established in a previously impoverished area nested between two volcanoes in East Bali of course. In only a few years this company has created hundreds of jobs and positively impacted the economy and the community in significant ways. It sounds like they are marketing to the US as I write this post. Stumbling on this kind of stuff is one of the many things I love about nomadic travel. It’s been an interesting and pleasant excursion!