Dream it up and make it happen!
Trip Start Jan 20, 2008
53Trip End ??? ??, 2010
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I bought a moped yesterday and am driving myself, my new friend Yudi, and all our stuff 2000km to Bali. I think i will have a few stories. More to come...
This is the first country i have been in that plays the Muslim prayers over the loud speaker, morning noon and night for about 30 minutes. It's pretty amazing. Don't worry, Everyone has been very friendly.
OK. Here's the story. It was probably the craziest thing I've ever done.
I was in Jakarta looking for food and Internet to figure out how to get to Bali. Walking down the street an Indonesian man (Yudi) walked up, said hi, asked where i was from and said, "i love America!" We chatted it up a bit and he helped me find a place to eat. As we sat at dinner, i offered to buy him some food. He was very shy about it and would only take some rice and water which cost me about .25. I also give him some of my prawns, which i said i didn't like, so he would eat them. As we chatted, i said i was going to Bali. I asked him what it would cost to buy a moped. He said about 5 mil Rp which is a little over $500. I thought, if i could sell it in Bali, i could atleast get most of it back, and have an adventure i'd dreaming about. He said he would help me find one and make sure I didn't get shafted and get all of the registration and stuff, if i wanted. He said no promises, but he would look, and we could meet up tomorrow and he would tell me what he found out. He also showed me other places to stay, around where i was, that were 1/3 of the price i was staying. Well, some reality was setting in about the safety of this trip. I didn't know any of the language. I hadn't ridin' a moped except recreationally in Florida a time or two over the last 20 years. And i was i a country that the US and Australian govn't have on the do not visit there, since the 2005 bombings in Bali. It's very strong Muslim, almost the national religion, especially Java. SO i asked Yudi if he'd be interested in going to Bali with me. He wasn't making much money currently selling cell phones, and had a friend of a friend in Bali, that might be able to help him find something there, that would be better. So he said, "Sure!"
After all of the stuff we dealt with buying the moped, getting a couple of things worked on before we got on the road, having him drive us around and out of the city, he was THE ONLY reason that this didn't turn into a complete disaster.
Absolutely terrifying. We are on the highway from Jakarta to Jatibarang. We start about 3:30pm, which is like rush hour there. Actually, every hour feels like rush hour around the major cities. The roads are horrendous, the traffic jams are like LA, but twice the number of semi trucks and about a 100 moped/motor cycles every 50 yards. I looked like a terrorist riding on the back of the moped. I have this totally beat up helmet on that came with the bike, my do-rag to keep the smog and exhaust out of my lungs, sunglasses to protect my eyes from the same deep black soot, and my travel guitar between my legs, between Yudi, sticking up like a rifle case.
Yudi is zipping through the slow moving traffic, fighting for every little miniscule passing gap with all the other motorbikes around us. When the cars and trucks are stopped, all the mopeds zigzag to get further up, barely squeezing between semi's with wheels as tall as we are, off the side of the road, dodging potholes and smaller cars trying to do the same thing. For the first 2-3 hours, this was our first 10-20km of a 1500km trip. I thought, what the f*** have i done?!?! It gets worse. Once it opens up, it gets even more dangerous. The MFin' buses. The best way to describe them, truly, death on wheels. When we arrived to our hotel, Yudi was cleaning the bike in the morning and the owner of the hotel talked with him a bit. Yudi told him that we rode in last night on our moped from Jakarta. He said we were very lucky. That is the most dangerous highway in all of Indonesia he said. Three people in two separate accidents died that day we came over. He said the buses don't stop or even slow down when dealing with especially moped riders. They drive like they are not there, and when they hit one, they don't even slow down, let alone stop. I've always said i've been lucky in life, and this just shows it to be true. Thanks for all you sending positve wishes my way. The angels were definitely looking out for us.
With that stretch out of the way, it did get better...but we still had our close calls. More to come.