Bribes and Beaches

The inevitable happened…. I hit a car’s side view mirror while driving in the middle of a busy two lane road. The oncoming traffic was edging towards the center line a little too close for my comfort so I leaned to the left and TAP! Oh no. Oh no, oh no, oh no. My eyes got big and I said, “Maaf!” (sorry in Indonesia) to the driver. How much money do I have in my wallet right now? “Maaf!” Would 100,000 Indonesian Rupiah suffice for him to not get out of his car? “Maaf!” For whatever reason, he just motioned for me to keep driving (at least that’s how I interpreted it) so I sped up, put two cars in between us, and arrived safely at home. My chance of survival over here just keeps going down.

While we’re on the subject of driving, one of the streets I drove down had people driving on the right hand side of the road. Either I wasn’t paying attention or there was no sign indicating this as I was thrown off guard. It’s really a toss up on those two options. It surprisingly felt weird to drive on the correct side of the road again after being immersed in left side driving for the last two and a half months.

I took my second surf lesson this week. I had the same instructor from the first lesson so we were able to jump right in where we left off. I learned how to choose my wave and was successfully able to catch and ride it in without any help! After the lesson, I walked back down to the beach to enjoy a beer and ended up having some drinks with my instructor. What’s the protocol on that? After my instructor left, I started chatting with the bartender who I’m pretty sure is a Kuta Cowboy (gigolo who finds clients, all of which are foreign women, on the beach). The only PG thing I will repeat that he said/offered to me was, “I can be your boyfriend here”. If you have some time, goggle Kuta Cowboy. It’s such a common term that documentaries have been made showcasing their lifestyle.

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Absolutely stunning sunset at Kuta Beach

Tuesday night, I hung out at Capsule Hostel with some girls I had met Saturday night. Turns out, it was Valentine’s Day and the night’s activity was Speed Dating.  Throw a bunch of strangers from all over the world together and mix with alcohol… Absolutely hilarious. Questions ranged from “what animal do people say you look like” to “what’s your favorite type of cheese” to “have you ever pooped yourself in public”. Oddly enough, one of the male participants was from Denver (Broomfield to be exact)!

Last night, I went out with a solo female traveler from India whom I connected with on Facebook. A few weeks ago, I joined a Facebook group that is for female travelers, mostly solo ones, who share tips and advice on world travel and safety. While scrolling through my newsfeed, I noticed a post about Padang Padang Beach which is located 16km from me. I made a comment on the post about how I was also in Bali. Fast forward an hour later, I met Priota at her hotel and we went out for the night. Under no other circumstances would I ever connect with a stranger on Facebook, meet in their hotel room, and have a run on the town. We started the night off at Potato Head Beach Club which had been highly recommended to me by multiple people. It was ultra fancy and I’m actually surprised they let us in wearing jeans, flip flops, and drawstring bags. This beach club had an infinity pool overlooking the beach, hammocks on a neatly trimmed green space, and loungers with drink trays. So this is what it feels like to drink with the rich and famous. Needless to say, we were bored within half an hour and moved on.

Today, I went beach hopping. On my way to check out Padang Padang Beach (a beach scene was filmed there for Eat, Pray, Love), I was pulled over by the police. It was set up pretty similar to my Chiang Mai encounter where you are forced to stop if you’re driving a scooter and don’t look native. This time, the cop said I could either take a ride in the back of his car to Denpasar (capital city) and pay 1 million Indonesian Rupiah at the station or pay 300,000 Indonesian Rupiah on the spot. I chose the 300,000 route (equivalent to $23 USD), although I did contemplate the cop car ride. The cop just took my money; he didn’t even write me a ticket. Talk about full on bribery!

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Padang Padang Beach for all you Eat, Pray, Lovers out there

Padang Padang Beach is a surfers paradise but it didn’t have much beach to lay on. The little amount of beach that was there was often overtaken by the high tide and essentially nonexistent. While the views were beautiful, I opted to drive back north to Kuta Beach where I could enjoy some beers and lay out. After catching rays for a few hours, I finished the night off with some beach soccer at Double Six beach.

I have one week left in Bali and plan to spend it improving my tan lines and surfing abilities. Oh, and look after the kids.

 

 

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