Life, News, Photography and Reviews from Ubud: The Apple of Bali's Eye

The Ubud Handbook « It's Silly Season Again

I'M WAITING for a friend on Jalan Suweta in Central Ubud. Three young Scandinavian women are at the side of the road clinching a deal on their new scooter rentals. They mount, and look non-plussed as they hunt for the ignition. The rental lady demonstrates how to switch their motorbikes on.

It really doesn't bode well.

Two of them seem to get the hang of it and disappear into the main road. The third pauses at the junction with Jalan Raya Ubud, looks to the right and left, and forgets one crucial thing: if you give an automatic some gas and don't hold onto the brake with your left hand, your body flies backwards and your right hand turns the throttle up even more.

It's a G-force thing.

She tears into the traffic. She can't stop. She narrowly misses hitting a car head-on, swerves past a mum on a 'bike and slaloms across the road as she tries to stop the 90-kilo motorbike with her feet, duck-style. Before she hits anyone – it's a miracle she doesn't – she falls in a bad-sounding heap of bent metal and smashing plastic. A group of Balinese rush to pick her up before the cops see her.

She's almost crying – more out of shock and shame than injury.

But a small hole in the side of her leg starts to bleed, and keeps bleeding, and a widening pool of blood circles her right flip-flop before snaking its way into a dusty gutter. The rental lady has arrived on the scene after hearing the screams. She keeps looking at the tourist's leg, and then at her scrapped motorbike, and back at the tourist's leg.

If you want to kill yourself on Bali, jumping on a scooter with no experience is a tried-and-trusted method. If you've never ridden a motorbike before, don't do it here. If you don't hurt or kill yourself, some other innocent bystander may well be on the receiving end of your madness.

The Ubud Handbook

The Ubud Handbook

THE UBUD HANDBOOK ~ Your guide to living in Ubud and Bali in an online nutshell.


Culture Bites

An American Calonarang

Cinema Paradiso

Ubud 'Art Attack

Reading Matters

Dinosaur Talk

Getting Around

It's Silly Season Again

The Other Side of the Coin

Surviving Bali on a 'Bike

A Walk in the Park

Personal Stories

Diary of a Market Girl

A Trip to Deer Island

Tourism & Self-Enrichment

Eat, Pray, Self-Love

The Land of Self-Healing and Snake Oil

The Eternal Wash Cycle

Odd Man Out

A Dutchman Goes to a Gypsy Fortune-Teller

From Ubud With Love

Hints & Tips

Let's Get Wet: The Rainy Season on Bali

A Lot of Hot Air

No Butt-Cheeks Please, We're Balinese

It Wasn't Me, Guv... Crime and Punishment on Bali

In Sickness and in Death

Soul Feet

Photographing Bali

The King of Stink

Dengue Fever Roolz

Things that Bite and Sting: The Insect Kingdom vs. You

Snakes Alive!

Once Bitten Twice Shy: Dogs on Bali

Monkey Talk

Holidays from the Jungle

The Heads of Trunyan

A Beggar's Banquet

The White Herons of Petulu

A Line in the Sand