Books are number one on my shopping list whenever I’m on the road followed by bric-a-brac and whatever catches my fancy. In Cambodia I was able to buy a book written in English, which detailed the author’s time under the Khmer Rouge regime. In Kyoto, Japan, I managed to track down this book on Alexandra the Great in this little bookstore with the help of my father’s friend after our trip to Takashimaya (upon my insistence being curious on how it looked compared to the one in Singapore). Naturally, I spent my time at Barnes and Noble when I was in the US and at Blackwell’s when I was in London. In Singapore, I sought sanctuary at Borders at Wheelock Place and at Kinokuniya at the third floor of the bigger Takashimaya. And in Jakarta, I am a regular customer at Kinokuniya at Plaza Senayan. Batik shawls were also part of my list when I was in Jakarta ages ago. I frequented Blok M after attending the Pasar Wisata.

My shopping list gets rearranged when I’m doing a bit of shopping outside of Jakarta. I’m hard-pressed to locate books in English in Bali, which is not really surprising so shopping takes on more traditional touristy stuff like shawls, hand-made necklaces, beaded thong slippers and paintings. In Manado, I was able to buy decorative objects such as a replica of native housing and clay animal tea light holders.  I can’t remember which island I bought them from, Lombok or Manado, but I was also able to purchase some local munchies to bring back to Singapore at that time. In Bali, it’s also tradition for me to head to Ubud to get this beaded handbag from a store at the side of Ubud Market.

During my recent trip to Bali, I picked up a pair of black open-toe strappy sandals from this nice Ibu who greeted customers with a wide smile. I skipped the hand-made necklaces, which reminded me of the ones that an ex-love-of-life gave me. I did stop at a DVD store in front of The Haven hotel and picked up some Merlin season 3 DVDs after searching through rows and rows of DVDs. I didn’t get to go to Ubud so no new beaded handbag this time. However, I did pick up something really interesting at this store called 69Slam while walking through the row of shops in Seminyak.


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