On a visit to Bali to attend meetings with regents from across Indonesia and attend a political meeting of his party, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and “Ibu” Ani Yudhoyono, paid a surprise visit to the hillside community of Ubud on Friday, October 21, 2011.
The presidential entourage stopped by at 4:00 p.m. at the main market in Ubud, accompanied by the regent of Gianyar, Tjokorda Oka Artha Ardhana Sukawati – more popularly known as “Cok Ace.” Joining the informal tour of Ubud were also the Coordinating Minister for the People’s Welfare Laksono, Sports Minister Andi Mallaranggeng and the Coordinating Minister for the Economy Hatta Radjasa.
The high level “walk-about” at Ubud’s central market caused a 3 kilometer traffic jam stretching from the market to the village of Kedewatan as traffic came to a standstill. Later, the President party enjoyed a late a late afternoon repast of Balinese roast duck at the Tepi Sawah Restaurant adjacent to the Nyoman Sumertha Art Gallery in Peliatan. After the Ubud stop, the group headed for the Presidential Palace in nearby Tampaksiring where the Yudhoyono spent the night.
While in Ubud, the President visited a number of local stalls. He purchased a Balinese painting for Rp. 500,000 (US$55) from stall owner, I Gusti Ketut Kiana. The abstract painting, using the number “9” as its theme, was purchased by the President, purportedly for the good fortune portended by that number.
Delighted with the sale, Kiana told NusaBali, he would have gladly given the painting as a gift to the President. But, instead, he will now keep the actual money handed to him by the national leader as a cherished family heirloom.
The President also visited a stall operated by Made Budana where he purchased two items made of mosaic. Budana was momentarily speechless when the President suddenly appeared, but was soon put at ease by Yudhoyono’s easy manner.
Yudhoyono also chatted with a young American tourist, identified as Michael. After posing for a picture with Indonesia’s Head of State, an excited Michael used his cell phone to phone home and share his delight at the presidential meeting with his family who immediately declared their intention to frame the photo of their Son with the Indonesian President and give it pride of place in their American living room.
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