Got ourselves a couple of scooters, Honda Vario, genuine speed machines 🙂 Just rented them from a guy on the street for a week, for the price of 350.000 Indonesian Rupiah. So, now we have the means of freedom to go surfing wherever we want, pretty sweet 🙂
However, driving in Bali is, well, interesting. Driving on the left side of the road is the least concern. What’s more pressing is the amount of traffic at times. The streets are packed, and scooters and motorbikes are driving slalom between the cars. Driving on the sidewalk to get past is completely normal, and people in Bali use the horn to signal “here I come”, so the amount of noise quickly reaches a fairly high level… Furthermore, it seems that the Balinese have little belief in road signs, as few as they are. In addition, the roads make kind of a maze, there’s shortcuts through narrow alleys coupled with a lot of small streets, and a handful of bigger ones. Instead of traffic lights it’s more common to see a guy with a flag and a whistle out in the middle of the street, and I’ve got no clue what the different flags mean… The trick seems to be, just go with the flow in traffic, and look forward, not in the rear-view mirror.
On top of traffic itself, you’ve got the police, infamous both among tourists and locals for corruption. In fact, we got pulled over today by a couple of coppers on motorcycles. They asked for ID and we pulled out our drivers licenses. They then claimed we needed international drivers licenses, and fined us 500.000 Rupiah right there! We ended up paying 400.000, which isn’t all that much, but it still feels really annoying to know that I was forced to line a corrupt bastard’s pockets with money. I’ve met others down here, who has an international drivers license, but then the police just make up a reason to fine you, like they might say that you were speeding or whatever. For the police, seeing a tourist is like seeing a mobile ATM-machine, they know we’ve got cash. Hopefully we’re done paying now, the policeman gave us a hand-written note on the back of a receipt (!) saying that we’ve already paid the fine… Impressive!