The Ubud Handbook « The Other Side of the Coin ~ Just Another Motorbike Accident on Bali
Mural by an anonymous street-artist of a crashed, burned-out Honda 70 scooter on a wall near Badung market in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia.
Photograph © 2020 Ubud High.
IBU KETUT'S LATE. She's normally at my house by 10 in the morning: I'm the second job of the day. After me, she'll spend another eight hours cooking in the kitchen of a five-star Ubud hotel to support her seven children.
It's a great life if you don't weaken.
She starts sweeping and I notice she's limping. There's a spreading bruise and an angry graze running past her knee and down her calf. She wants to carry on cleaning – I sit her down and ask her what happened.
She's shy; I press.
– "I got to the market at about 4am. It was still dark. I'd stopped at the side of the road and I was just about to get off my motorbike when two white girls on a scooter came speeding down the road. They were laughing and the motorcycle was going from left to right. Then they came straight towards me and crashed right into me. I fell off, and my 'bike fell over. It was strange, because there was nobody on the road except us.
"I was stunned. They got up, picked up their scooter and started to leave.
"I didn't want to stop them. I was already hurt. I didn't want more problems. But a friend of mine heard the crash and dashed out to stop the girls from leaving. He asked them to pay for the damage to my motorbike. At first, they didn't want to pay. But my friend insisted, and they gave me Rp.200,000 and drove away.
"I went to the bengkel – the motorcycle mechanic – down the road after I finished work at the market, and I paid them Rp.550,000 to get my 'bike fixed. Then I went to the puskesmas – the community health centre – and I paid another Rp.150,000 for my leg."
Her 'bike still makes a squeaking sound.
But it's a small price to pay for a good night out.
The idyllic Balinese 'biking scene: a Norton, a dutiful, beautiful wife, and God. What more could you want?
Commercial street mural of a Balinese man sitting astride his Norton motorcycle as his wife hovers with daily offerings.
The business being advertised is a clothing store called 'The Suicide Club 2020' in North Ubud. Sense of humour on Bali ranges from bawdy to dry, and back again.
Street mural by unknown artist.
Photograph © 2021 Ubud High.
© 2021 John Storey. All Rights Reserved.
Other Tales of Getting Around from The Ubud Handbook
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...
[ ... » Read on... » ]
Surviving Bali on a 'Bike ~ Tips for Keeping the Rubber on the Road
CHRISTINA IS A SAVVY 60-year-old American who's come to Ubud to set up nest. She's never ridden a motorbike before and has already fallen off twice in two weeks.
– "I've just learned how to turn left," she says, "without feeling as if I'm going to tip over..."
[ ... » Read on... » ]
CHECK OUT the statistics for checking out on Bali's roads over the last 25 years.
[ ... » Read on... » ]
© 2021 John Storey. All Rights Reserved.
The Last Pic
Portrait of the Day
Portraits from Bali by Ubud High
© 2021 John Storey. All rights reserved.
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ganesha bali / covid / scorpions / scooter rental / bali street art graffiti / trance / hornets / arma art gallery ubud / nyepi / traditional balinese paintings / rainy season / snakes / 2022 bali spirit festival / dengue fever / ecstatic dance
Street art, graffiti and murals for the masses – the most public of Bali's urban art scene hidden in plain sight on the walls of Canggu, Ubud, Seminyak and Kuta.
THE UBUD HANDBOOK ~ Your free guide to living in Ubud and Bali in an online nutshell.
‘First stop on Shree Ganesha's round-Asia tour was a spell in Buddhist Tibet with its strong tantric leanings – a convenient spot to re-invent himself as Vinãyaka, and then as the dancing red Nritta Ganapati – before a full-blown alter-ego revamp as the scarlet, twelve-armed Maharakta Ganapati. Now, Maharakta Ganapati was unusually fond of skullcaps filled with human flesh and blood – and this we might charitably put down to a bad trip.
After all, what happens in Tibet stays in Tibet...’
‘To cut an all-night story short, the mask was donned by a dancer who fell into a deep trance. But instead of staying in the temple, he began to run. And run. He became violent and uncontrollable. He ran for four kilometers down the road – the crowd scrambled after him. He ended up in a cemetery just past my house, and in the dead of night began to do frenzied battle with unseen foes...’
∞ 'Nyepi' ~ Bali's Hindu New Year, and the Day of Silence ~ Melasti, Ngerupuk, Ogoh-Ogoh & Manis Nyepi
‘If previous New Years' Days have seen you waking up with a crippling hangover trying to remember what you did the night before, maybe it's time you headed to Bali in March. Nyepi – the Balinese Day of Silence, and the start of the Hindu Saka New Year – is a day, a night and a day you'll never forget....’
‘Kajeng Kliwon is the kind of day when anything that can happen will happen. It invariably does.
You have been seriously warned...’
“When I had my sixth and seventh babies at the hospital – my twin girls – the doctor ordered me to have a Caesarian. And without asking me, he tied my tubes off as well.
I think he thought I'd had enough babies...”
“On the third bite,” says one hater, “it was as though I'd just eaten a diseased, parasite-infested animal with a bad case of rabies. I prayed I wouldn't be sick because I really didn't want to taste it again on the way back up...”
‘Boobs and political censorship have never been far from the Silver Screen – in Indonesia, they're its bedrock. The silent flicks of Thirties' Bali sucked hungrily on the island's bare-breasted cabinet-postcard image that encouraged so many gilded tourists – and dodgy film-stars like Charlie Chaplin – to visit its sultry, forbidden shores...’
Getting Around ~ Bali 'Biking
“For me, some of the most dangerous people on the road are white people. I avoid them like the plague. You can tell the ones who are going to hurt others – the fixed grins, the hunched over the handle-bars, the wobbling around corners and shouts of indignation when they finally hit someone – because they have absolutely no idea how life and the road works around here...”
‘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. 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 starts sweeping and I notice that she's limping. There's a spreading bruise and an angry graze running past her knee and down her calf. She wants to carry on cleaning – I sit her down and ask her what happened.
She's shy; I press...’
‘Rule number one on a monsoon day? Don't get wet.
You may not realise that getting caught in a cloudburst or shower on Bali – particularly if you're on a motorbike – is the tropical equivalent of walking naked outside during a Prague Winter after a lukewarm bath.
It'll really slow you down. The shivers, hot-and-cold flushes, a chesty cough, diarrhoea, sneezing, stomach pains, a belting headache and aching bones are all at the top of the list...’
‘Nowhere is free from the tax of life. We all have to pay for our slice of Bali paradise – and this often comes in the shape of our biting, stinging, crawling, flying insect-cousins.
It's the downside of environment-sharing...’
Holidays from the Jungle
‘Agricultural, and unpractised in the dark art of handling international tourists, the aristocratic farmer-people of Trunyan have acquired a damaging reputation for aggression. Their unique tourist draw – a jungle-cemetery where bodies are left in the open to disintegrate underneath a magical banyan tree – is regularly shunned by travellers on the time-sensitive tourist circuit...’
‘Ten meters away and the young man finally looks up – an inane, animal-like grin taped across his face as his girlfriend grips his porcelain butt and grimaces towards the empty blue sky. They disengage like street dogs, utter an invective in Russian, and stare...’
Tourism & Self-Enrichment
‘My concentration's shot to pieces. The spaghetti keeps falling off my fork. She's on her third large beer now. She starts to say 'facking' even more, and is speaking so loudly that people passing on the street have begun to look her way, and she's spitting bits of ciabatta bread and tomato and fish into her friend's dinner...’
‘I'm staying at a cute, family-run bed-and-breakfast – a homestay – on Ubud's trendy Jalan Goutama. A young member of the homestay's family tours her compound, blessing it with incense and rice and flower-petal offerings in little hand-made palm-leaf boxes.
All is well in Bali's spiritual capital...’
‘A Dutch boy in Holland goes to a gypsy fortune-teller who tells him that he is, in fact, Balinese. Afterwards, his uncle visits the Island of the Gods and brings him back a wooden carving of a bare-breasted lady.
Lucky for him it wasn't one of those funny-shaped wooden bottle-openers that looks like a cock...’
‘Shake out those Kundalini Awakenings with some HoopYogini™ and Bhakti Boogie® at the Yoga Barn. Celebrate The Divine Feminine with a splash of Shakti Dance. Puff up your lungs in a Sacred Breathwork Immersion Workshop®, insert a Jade Egg for luck at The Womb Temple™ and polish it off with some tantalising Manifesting And Abundance.
You know you're worth it...’
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