Following the Downbeat

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Moving guesthouses to a different side of town, a faint thumping of bass reverberated through our walls, feigning curiosity. The front desk hadn’t mentioned any festivals going on, but this definitely wasn’t just a radio playing in someone’s backyard. The faint raspy sound of a loud speaker chimed in every few minutes. Like any curious travelers, we went into the night to follow the noise. What we found was the night market.

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What functions as an office parking lot during the day blossoms into a street scene at night. Stalls serving all kinds of meals from fried noodles to fruit juice to fried bananas and mangos. Tables filled with pirated DVDs (hey, how do they already have The Hangover 2 on sale?), sit between kiosks of handbags and sun dresses. People are everywhere. A gathering spot for those just finishing their work day, and others just starting theirs.

We sat at a plastic picnic table and shared a plate of barbecued goat skewers. We walked to another stall and shared a spicy coconut curry soup. We went back for more over the next three nights- eating hand pulled noodles over a black pepper chicken broth and peanuts roasted with crisp tiny fish. Everything we’ve heard about SE Asia suggests that the pulse of a town is in the night market. And for Sanur, this is certainly it’s heartbeat.

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