Saturday, June 21, 2008

Organized Chaos

Kuta. Craziest place I’ve ever been. Organized chaos is the first thing I thing I can think of when it comes to this beach town madness that people from all over the world flock to. Yes, it is an oxymoron, but there are not words in any language to describe it’s feel and energy. I’ve never seen anything like it. Walking down the street, you see roads as wide as a car crammed with people walking, motorbikes flying all out and cars going in both directions. Horns. People begging, trying to sell. Constant bartering. “Hey my friend, where you go?”, “Where you stay?” “Like Bali girl?”, “Want to touch?” , “Special massage?” ,“Lady boy?“ are the broken English phrases I hear everywhere. You can have anything here. There are no rules. Shear chaos. Yet, somehow, this place functions. Organized.
Two bombings in less than half a decade and people still arrive in groves. Corruption is everywhere. Yet, it’s honest. “You pay more because you’re tourist. You need to pay to drive this road.” is what one police officer told me as I handed him a $10,000 rupiah note. Driving off and watching him put it in his pocket made me angry. But this is how Bali functions. Honest corruption is yet another oxymoron. But again, it’s all I can come up with.
I spent a whole day in the police station trying to get a license for a motorbike. If you’re caught without one, you’ll pay however much is in your wallet or whatever price they want from you. The most intense experience of my travels to-date. I kept getting shoved into rooms full of people and yelled at cause I didn’t know my height in centimeters. After a few hours or madness, and $30 poorer, I walked out with a Bali drivers license. Just getting to the police station was more of an adventure I could have asked for. It was a 30 minute ride on the back of a motorbike on the most insane roads I’ve ever seen. How there are not accidents all the time baffles me. I’m thinking that NASCAR needs to look to Bali for their next driving champions. Jumping sidewalks, passing on blind corners and with on coming traffic. I’ve never sweat more in my life.
I finally got a motorbike today. After a few days of exploring this area and trying to figure out how it works. I found a pretty good price at $4 per day for a decent scooter with surf racks on the side. I rented it for the next two weeks. I just got back from my first adventure on my own. My hands are literally shaking as I write. Aggression is essential. I’m finding that the skills I learned in my years of riding dirt bikes while growing up are now being put to use. I will get used to it. It’ll just take some time. It seems easy to get lost here. No street signs and really there doesn’t appear to be any traffic rules. Everyone for themselves. Tomorrow I will pack my bags, load up my scooter and head to the Bukit Peninsula to look for surf. Given the events that have took place in the last week, I’m happily-scared for what lies ahead. Another oxymoron.

Haven't got any pictures from Kuts yet, but here are a few from other places I've been in Bali:

Tulamben


Bali Tour

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