So I had done the trip. I had been overseas for 2 years from Warsaw to Lands End. Now I was on my way home and it felt good.
I came to Jakarta by accident. The airline had missed the connection and so I was put up in a swanky hotel for 2 nights. Being a backpacker and tight as a Scotsman purse I had never stayed in such luxury. . sheer heaven. My own bathroom, balcony and plumped up bed
I had one day to kill in Jakarta. Money wasn’t such an issue now ‘cause I was going home, and so I went in search of shops.
With the market firmly in my sights I headed off.
There were so many stalls to look at I didn’t know where to begin, then I spied a stall selling wooden carvings. A wonderful statue of Buddha made from ebony caught my eye and I knew I had to have it.
The stall owner saw the thirst in my eye as well and presumed he was on a winner. I knew the rules of engagement and so I started first.
"Very nice. How much?" I asked. He offered a ridiculous amount and so I put the statue down and said "Too much". A quick calculation and I offered 20% of his price. He said "No" and took the statue away. I began to walk away and then his neighbouring stall holder came over and offered me another statue. My man called me back and things were getting interesting. We looked at one another and he had another shot at the price. I just waved him away and shook my head. I added another 10% to my original figure and it was his turn to shake his head.
Now I had a small crowd of interested people gathered around. I walked away again and got a bit further down the street. He was running after me with the statue and beckoned me to return. He put his price down with the slap of his hand as if to say final offer. I said "Only if I have this plus that". "You break me" he moaned. "I have a family". Boy was he good. I bought up my offer to 40% of the ridiculous and then he said "Done".
I thought I had done well and it seemed a good deal. He wrapped my Buddha in newspaper and I parted with my money. I was feeling good when from behind my back I heard all the crowd laughing at me. ‘Bugger’ I thought. ‘Robbed again’.