Kuta is a fake tat paradise.
Kuta is to Bali what Blackpool is to the UK, or whatever the tacky, touristy part of Russia is to the rest of Russia. Basically it’s a shit-hole in paradise; full of rip off merchandise and Australian bogans in Bintang (Balinese beer) wife-beaters. I’m pretty certain I saw a hipsterish looking guy trying to wear one in an ironic way, but in Kuta that’s the equivalent to having the chinese symbol for irony tattooed on your arm: no-one gets it. Kuta is where the bombs went off back in 2005, but apart from a memorial plaque at one of the hotels there’s very little to suggest anything happened – business as usual in the prime Balinese tourist spot. I had a little look around and took some pictures so you can have a look too.
There are loads of these fake DVD stores dotted around Kuta, which seems kind of risky considering the usual method of procuring pirated discs consists of a shady guy with a ruck-sack whispering to you, but the Balinese obviously don’t care about little things like lawsuits or prison. In fact, there was a fake DVD shop at the country’s main airport until Obama came on his state visit and they got rid of it. Fucking Obama, always messing stuff up.
As well as all the new releases you can find gems like, ‘The Chaperone,’ (WWF star Triple H’s ill fated move in to Hollywood) nestled in the shelves.
Or ‘For Coloured Girls,’ starring Janet Jackson and Whoopi Goldberg.
One of my favourite things about the pirate DVDs are the covers. ‘A Serious Man’ got shitty reviews, so to counteract them obviously all you need to do is photoshop Miranda Kerr on to the cover. The quotes lifted from ‘reviews’ and slapped on the cover to entice buyers are also amazing – the best I saw was an enthusiastic ‘LESS THAN MEDIOCRE!!!’ to describe The Rite.
This particular shop’s walls was plastered in bizarre signed photos of Australian tourists with the staff.
To these douchey, city boy collared shirts. Btw, when I say dubious I mean it was quite clearly fake – a button-down shirt cost less than twenty quid – but they did a good job of making it all seem legit.
Unlike the ‘Paul Smith’ shop, where these ladies almost instinctively thrust a load of Ed Hardy t-shirts on to us when we asked if they had any of those Chanel t-shirts (with just the logo) that you can NEVER find anywhere.
This fake handbag stall was running a nice little side-earner in the form of these customised bumper stickers. I asked the guy why he thought so many tourists liked midgets, especially retarded amputee midgets, and he said – “You like midgets? I make you sticker now. Wait here.”
This place sells petrol, and like most makeshift Balinese petrol stations, keeps it’s product inside Absolut vodka bottles on the side of the blisteringly hot road. Sorry about the photo quality, I was overcome with the fear that my life was going to end in a horrible alcoholic explosion.
This alley was scary. I’d even go as far as dubbing it ‘Terrifying Alley,’ or something equally as sinister. Every five meters someone new would pounce out of their stall, grab your arm and try to lead you to the back of their tent to forcibly flog you a bad fake Stussy t-shirt or a Billabong hat. That wasn’t really the scary part though, it was the wide-eyed agreement with everything that you said and the fake over-enthusiasm that freaked me out. I.E: “Where you from man?” “London” “AH LONDON! AWESOME! I LOVE LONDON! STAY HERE LONDON YOU’LL LIKE THIS” fetches six different colours of a rip-off Quicksilver shirt “LOOK LONDON! YOU LIKE? FOLLOW MY FRIEND TO THAT DARK CORNER AND HE’LL GIVE YOU A GOOD PRICE.” etc etc.