To the uninitiated and risk-averse, a taxi journey from Denpasar, Bali, Airport to any town or suburb within 20 kilometres is a white-knuckle adventure. In seeming chaos, and with scant regard for white lines, all drivers adopt a go-for-the-gap strategy. And it works a treat. With an organic grace that could not be described in transit policy, calm and unflappable drivers/riders effortlessly negotiate each other, tourists, dogs, chooks, holes, piles of earth, and rubbish.
It was while riding shotgun on an underpowered scooter, nasal passages replete with the dense notes of two stroke and monoxide, that I had my epiphany. Stepping calmly into the fray is the only way to negotiate Bali, and this applies to everything. Any attempt to predict or understand the flow is futile, and is mostly keenly illustrated in the panicked jerking back and forwards of any newly landed foreigner attempting to cross any street. Step or drive out as if there is no one there, and like a miracle, the way is clear.
Apply this ethos to every experience you have in Bali, and you will present as one who has spent months eating, praying, and loving up a storm.
Over the next few days, I’ll share snippets of a couple of weeks on this wonderful island.