As soon as we touched down at the Ngurah Rai airport, we were eavesdropping a conversation between two Malaysian females discussing their Balinese itenaries. It seemed that this was not their first time in Bali. That was when Naza and I decided to crash their party. It was a whole lot easier and cheaper to do so.

Therefore the four of us became acquainted and our trip became less touristic but more exploratory. Whatever it was, we knew that eventually we will end up at the Pasar Seni Sukawati to accommodate the girly, material desires of the two girls. It happened on our fourth day in Bali.

Quoting a travelblog somewhere, the two-storey Sukawati art market was a maze of alleyways with a massive array of artifacts, paintings, fabrics, clothing and basket ware; all crammed together so tight that it’s sometimes difficult to weave your way through it all.

I was getting hot and restless inside the market but I had to accompany the two girls since they were very nice to us for the past three days.

When things were getting from boring to extreme irksome, we came across a small, dark, gothic-like stall that sells kebayas; ONLY black kebayas. Gothic in the sense that the first thing on my mind at that time was not about black lipsticks, heavy eye shadows, pale-faced, suicidal, emo-core goth. The ridiculous combination that defined the stall’s gothic-ness to me at that time was like a Transylvanian dracula practicing voodoo in the Malay Archipelago. Yes, that was definitely a ridiculous description of an ambiance!

Anyway, the stall sells extremely cheap black kebayas. One standard kebaya was just around Rp 60,000. Back in 2005, that was what, RM15? RM20? That was the price before bargaining. And I was told by the two girls that the quality was quite decent. The girls started to become crazier than before. “Satu untuk Kak Chik, satu untuk Cik Su, satu untuk Mummy Yani, satu untuk Achik Fetty. Eh, Kak Dik dah kurus kan after going on a diet?”, they were counting the number of people they know that deserved to be given the black kebayas as souvenirs.

The stall owner was showing an expression of extreme shock, contradicting the customary capitalist doctrine of joyful expression in the prospect of massive profit. Hey, these girls are literally clearing your stock for that day!

I approached the guy selling the black kebayas and asked, “The kebayas here are very cheap. I wonder why.”.

He replied, with a touch of anxiousness in his voice, “These black kebayas are for funeral purposes. During our Hindu body cremation ceremony, female relatives will wear this type of black kebayas and mourn the dead.”

The girls stopped the ransacking of the black kebayas. Mouths were opened wide. A few kebayas dropped to the ground. Everyone was in silence. I managed to tuck a smirk somewhere during that breathing gap. Alas, the pause and awkwardness was short lived. “Ah, orang Malaysia bukan tau pun nih kebaya orang mati!”

The ransacking continued.