‘So,’ asked my friend of our driver, ‘what is the speed limit on these roads?’
Sugi was silent.
‘I mean,’ she explained, ‘how fast are you allowed to drive?’
‘Aaaah,’ he said, ‘I didn’t bother to learn that bit.’
Speed limits, it appears, are indication only. As are pedestrian crossings, the legal number of people on a motor bike (one driver told me 5, another said 4, one said the whole family), the wearing of helmets (compulsory for adults, not so for children) and lane divides (a 2 lane road has room for at least 3 vehicles side by side….and a bike or three).
We have seen whole families on the backs of bikes, with children sandwiched in between their parents. We have seen household contents being moved via bikes and some very close calls.
And it’s no wonder- the traffic is phenomenally horrendous. So bad I could easily run out of adjectives. But somehow, there is some sort of order in the chaos.
We have also learned the universal language of the horn:
One short beep: excuse me or I’m coming through
Two short beeps: sorry
One long beep: seriously?
One extended beep: well, you can probably figure that one out!
Life is tragic hanging out at Kuta
If you haven’t got a car, a bike or a scooter
Show me the bike shop, I’ve been to Bali too
Got myself a Honda, had to get away
No brakes, bald tyres, five thousand rupes a day
I’ve been to Bali too.
Well I don’t ride a bike much home in Australia
As a motorcycle hero guess I’m a failure
Bemos to the left, trucks to the right
The Honda was a wreck but I was alright
Hello mecurochrome, I’ve been to Bali too
Lyrics from I’ve Been to Bali Too, by Redgum- all rights to the artists