Bali Road Trip Day 8-9: Men in Uniform, Not Always a Good Thing
// February 23rd, 2011 // Bali
With the windows down, a breeze blowing, and the sun shining, we waved goodbye to Amed. The weather was as blissful as it sounds, and with the exception of our still broken windshield wiper, it was near perfect. We made a quick stop in Amed so I could look at decorations from a Hindu ceremony.
We cruised along with the iPod cranked up so that we could pretend we had a radio. We made another short stop at a gorgeous overlook of rice fields.
The plan was to pick up my race packet in Sanur for a 5k the following day and spend the afternoon relaxing (because, ya know, we hadn’t done enough of that). We had a better go at getting through the busy Denpasar traffic this time around and got to Sanur with no major problems. But our struggle-free day stopped there. We got to the race office in Sanur, and they told me that international participants had to pick up their race packets further south in Nusa Dua where the race was being held. It didn’t look all that far on the map, so we hopped back in the Jimmy (our car) and carried on. Unfortunately, we crawled most of the way there and back. The traffic around Kuta (backpacker hotspot) was a madhouse. I finally paid my race fees, picked up my packet, and we took a very slow drive back to Sanur.
We couldn’t afford to stay anywhere near Nusa Dua so it would just have to do. Finally, we passed the last major intersection near Kuta and finally felt the traffic ease up. And then there was a cop on a motorbike telling us to pull over. Oh crap.
We pulled over, fully aware that we did not have an International Driver’s License, which is required in Bali. While the officer is speaking to Lauren, I look out my window and see a cop at my window, and in the rear view mirror, I see a cop at the back of the vehicle. Not good. Not good at all. We had at least done enough research to know that the cops could likely be bribed and usually for not too much money. Today they just weren’t having it. They continued to demand asanine amounts of money, and we settled on 400,000 rupiah (about $45 USD). He tucked the money in a wad of other cash, which I assume they had made off of other foreigners. There was more discussion, a threat to take our car registration, and finally we were free to go. We were on edge even when we got back to Sanur because there were more cops out (and another foreigner pulled over). Yes, the cops are shady and I could rant about it, but I’m thrilled to not be sitting in a Balinese court so I really can’t complain. We never imagined renting a car in Bali- otherwise, we would have come prepared with a proper driver’s license.
We drove around for places to stay and settled on a street in north end of Sanur. I negotiated a price, and we settled in. I set my alarm for 5:30 the following morning for my run, but as luck would have it, Lauren woke up early and was sick. Perhaps my little battle with ‘food poisoning’ was actually a bug that I had given to her. Or maybe we just can’t stomach the Balinese food. Either way, I couldn’t ask her to drive me to the run (reminder, I suck at driving a stick shift) and honestly, I was nervous about running into the cops again. I got up anyhow, and ran along the beach in Sanur.
While Lauren rested up, I wandered around town. Although still low tourist season, it was much more crowded on the beach than it was everywhere else we had been. In early evening, our car rental guy from Ubud arrived at our guesthouse to pick up our car. We paid a whopping $11 for him to come get the car in Sanur so we didn’t have to drive it back to Ubud. It was a steal!
We were sad to say goodbye to the Jimmy, as it had given us the opportunity to do and see parts of Bali that we wouldn’t have otherwise. But saying goodbye to Jimmy meant saying hello to a ferry the following day. Our Bali adventures weren’t quite over, and we wanted to visited the island of Nusa Lembongen!
If you’re interested in how much we paid for our room in Lipah on the Amed coast, it was 150,000 rupiah, or about $17 USD. (Outside of Europe, this was one of the most expensive places I stayed on my entire 8-1/2 month trip.)
Did you miss out on the other Bali Road Trip posts? Catch up now!