Mysterious yellow liquid in bottles

Nusa Dua, Bali, Friday 1 June 2012

I kept seeing them: bottles of liquid in varying shades of yellow outside a variety of shops. There was usually a funnel alongside them, too. I never saw them being filled and I never saw them being emptied. What was it?

My culturally-aware brain wondered if it were cow urine. Bali’s population is 90% Hindu and as cows are sacred, their urine is considered to have healing properties. It seemed a bit weird and far-fetched, but I really didn’t have any other ideas.

Oh Bowker. How wrong you were. How prosaic the answer was.

It was petrol!

Although come to think of it, given how the Balinese smoke, the bottles are exposed to the elements, and there appears to be absolutely no safeguards around them, I might prefer that it were urine, however icky that might seem.