Motorbike gods hate me

Trip Start Jan 12, 2013
Trip End Feb 27, 2013

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Flag of Indonesia  , Bali,
Sunday, February 17, 2013

Apparently the motorbike gods are not on my side...or, it's just rainy season in Indonesia. Yep, definitely the gods.
Today was a day of perserverance. Indeed. When breakfast turned out to be nothing more than a piece of toast with fake butter and pineapple jam, I knew I'd have to just keep my head up. I needed to resolve the flip-flop issue once and for all today before I set out on my trek to Ubud. I can't remember if I wrote this or not, but on the last night in Laos, at a Western bar, my flip-flops were stolen. This is annoying because they were really nice ones that I liked. However, such is life and what can you do? You buy more. Except that when you're in a country with no grasp of where a reasonable place to buy flip-flops would be, this simple task becomes exasperating. Mainly this is because your hostel happens to be in the 'boutique' end of Bali and you realize that you can't afford any of the shoes they're offering nearby anyways. I drove and searched for an hour and a half this morning persevering on my quest to find flip-flops that weren't $30 or more! Can you believe that??! And for plastic, not even leather ones! Those 'boutique' flip-flops would have removed the skin on my feet in no time flat.  Finally, I succeeded and because now I'm aware of the great annoyance of no flip-flops, I bought two pair. Take that flip-flop philanderers!
Now the great trek that had the motorbike gods laughing at me once again. Driving today was no problem since it was only myself on the bike. The moto-gods must have realized that it just wasn't difficult enough for me and so they unleashed a torrential tropical downpour upon me for hours. Yes, hours. I first rode through the stifling, scalding heat of the city. I put on sunscreen but I could literally feel the sun penetrating through the layer of protection; this sun is no joke.  That and being surrounded by the exhaust of all the other cars and motorbikes is really enough to want to retreat in a cool cave.  As I headed out of the city north to my destination of Ubud and then the volcano, Mount Batur, even further north, I noticed clouds gathering. Not to worry, I grabbed my trusty poncho before I left for such an occasion. Using the only map I had, which incidentally portrays Bali as an island with roughly about 8 roads, I quickly learned that getting to Ubud wasn't going to exactly be a straight shot. Yeah, maybe I should have invested in a better map. Hmmm. On my way north, the rain begins to fall, and fall, and pelt, and sting, and I think, "this too shall pass". But, it didn't. I pulled over to use my rain poncho only to discover it is actually a backpack rain cover, so useless for covering me as it has no arm holes. I was able to cover my bag with my camera and phone inside, thankfully.
I figured that since I was already soaked, I might as well keep going. If I've come this far, I might as well see what I came to see. It was really wet on that motorbike. I saw Ubud. It is like an excerpt from Middle Earth. The occupants are mostly artists, sculptures, and musicians. I cannot describe the intricate carvings from wood and stone that I have seen while here. Pieces of wood that would fill a living room carved as a table. Dragons carved from wood that are 35 ft long and 8 ft tall. The Hindu influence is overwhelming with all of the individual, elaborate temples every 50 ft. I've decided that if you want amazing carving and artistry, look to Balinese for influence. I didn't stay in Ubud as I had my late start thanks to the flip-flop finding saga. I continued north to Mount Batur, an active volcano on Bali that has visible lava flows and a lake in its crater. Literally 4 km from my volcanic destination, I almost turned around because I was so cold and was just over this crazy motorbike journey.  I might have also felt a bit scared and in over my head not really knowing where I was and how bad this rain might get.  I made it to the viewpoint and had to stop at the overlook restaurant to try and warm up. Sheesh. As I was pouring my hot chicken soup down my gullet, I noticed even thicker, more formidable clouds rolling in. Great. This should be a thrilling 3 hours drive back.  
The rain just kept pounding me and I was running low on fuel so I stopped to buy some at a roadside stand (interesting side note: they sell the fuel in liter bottles on the side of the road in these Cambodia it was in Coke Bali? Absolut Vodka joke. lol!). At that stand they had a poncho for me which I bought for $5. A bit of a rip off, but let me tell you...I didn't care. Then, for the next 2 hours, I drove in the rain, half able to see, swerving to miss the giant potholes that the water flowing from the mountains creates as it washes down these awesome sluice gates called roads. The water all flowed into the roads creating a substantial flash flood issue. It was rushing and crashing into these well made 'road-waterways'. I even almost wrecked when I rode into the sidewalk accidentally because I couldn't see it, the water was so deep! The water was up to the floorboard of the motorbike in some instances. I was sure the engine was going to stall out at any moment. Cars and motorcycles passing me were throwing up water that was dousing my whole body. If I didn't have parasites before, I'm sure I do now as all that rain/sewer water rushed into the roads and then into my face (I promise I tried to keep my mouth closed at all times, but it was everywhere). It honestly was ridiculous. I was in water so long that for over 2 hours after I made it back to the hostel, amazingly alive, my fingers were still pruned up!
Whatever insecurities or concerns I had about riding a motorbike are pretty much gone now. Feel like I've been put through the wringer on those damn things! It was like special op motorcycle boot camp. haha.
I think I'm done with motorbikes for a bit. I'd like to do nothing tomorrow...lay on the beach...go get a pedicure or something equally self-indulgent. You know, ham up this vacation because it is going fast!
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alan on

nice pics :)

Linda on

I am all for you taking a motorbike break as well. I hate it when you press your luck.

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