Best Ethnic Gift Shop: Channeling Bali in Oaktown

Desa Arts

Anyone wanting to escape to the mystical island of Bali has two choices. You can either spend $1,100 and a full day jetting to Denpasar airport, or simply drop into Desa Arts, plop down on one of the teak benches, gaze at the intricately carved antique wood bedstead, and soak up the atmosphere. After a while, you’ll walk out and find yourself in Oakland’s Temescal district, but it’s cheaper and faster than going halfway around the world. Owner Lisa Tana has stocked her little shop with a slightly higher grade of Balinese art and imports than most similar stores. In addition to teak furniture, you’ll notice stone Buddhas for the garden, original wood carvings by Wayan Patra, interesting ethnic jewelry from Indonesia and Thailand, a few beautiful abstract sculptures, and batik silk scarves. Throw in a CD of haunting music by Gamelan Sekar Jaya, and you’ll think you’re in Ubud.

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