Inspired Words

These are the experiences of our volunteers in Bali.

Day 1: Feb.11th 2012 The team arrives in Bali!

Posted in Bali on February 15, 2012

After a fractured arrival by all individuals in the group, it is 4pm and we are ready to depart for the Negara region of the Island of Bali. We all have now learned that the phrase “taxi boss” is not Indonesian for hello, but rather the constant reminder that half the island has shown up at the airport on the slight chance they can drive you somewhere. We know there is a long ride ahead (3+ hours), and while the expectation of poorly maintained roads is fresh in our minds, none of us are prepared for the experience that awaits.

Traffic is thick through Kuta and Denpasar, and scooters seem to be the Iphone of this society. The traffic flows opposite of that in the United States and lane lines or dividers are viewed at the very most as a suggestive reminder that one must share the road. As we move northwestward past town after town, very slowly we make our way out of the city. With Circle K, Burger King and the Mercedes Benz behind us, we see a more traditional Bali with its Hindu Temples and Compound style family homes.The road is filled with every kind of transportation imaginable. Scooters whiz past out of everywhere; mostly Hondas and Toyotas make up the cars, and large flat bed trucks transport everything from rice to cattle. Every driver wants to get somewhere on a road that hasn’t been able to handle the traffic for 20 years. Ones place in this whole circus of movement is solely dependent on their size. Trucks get the most respect followed by cars leaving scooters to fend for whatever is left. This provides a continuous level of entertainment that would be on par with an Evel Knievel show. While at first the inexperienced tourist shows concern for their safety, volley after volley of close calls quickly glosses their concern with a shell shock of indifference. Before you know it you’re wondering why the driver didn’t use that 25yrds before a blind curve to pass that tour bus you have been following for the past minute and a half. It leaves your mind to wonder, what is this all like at night. Then you find out. But enough about the traffic.

After two hours on the road we stop for a bathroom break and to watch the sunset. A snack of ice cream to chase away the heat we grab a bag of corn chips called “happy toos”, we hop in car for the rest of the trip. At night the trucks use LED lights on their phalanx to let people know how big they are. It’s not until two tour busses pass us at the same time with a herd of scooters in tow that you decide driving at night may not be the best idea.

The first night after our precarious drive we stopped at a local restaurant for a late night dinner, our first true Indonesian meal. Some of us got what we thought we ordered and some were surprised, and want to know what happened. We did enjoy our first Bintang, the local beer. Really hit the spot after a long day. We were all happy to get to the hotel, and some comfortable beds.

Tommy Marx
DWC Team Leader

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