Travel through the eyes of a brown westerner

Today's Stamp (Blog)

Today's Stamp: Riding a Motorbike in Bali & Flores

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     View from my Motorbike at Jimbaran Beach, Bali, Indonesia.  I was told by a Balinese Hindu "HolyMan' this type of gate represents a holy place, on top of the mountain.  You have the appearance of walking over the top and seeing the view below.  Being on top of everything (the world...spiritually).

     View from my Motorbike at Jimbaran Beach, Bali, Indonesia.  I was told by a Balinese Hindu "HolyMan' this type of gate represents a holy place, on top of the mountain.  You have the appearance of walking over the top and seeing the view below.  Being on top of everything (the world...spiritually).

     I read about random police stops for 'Bule's" (foreigners) on their motorbikes, asking for information they know you don't have to then offer you to pay a certain amount in order to not have to appear in court.  Now, I should NOT be saying this out loud in order to cancel out my luck,  BUT I will say I've been riding around here quite a bit, and the only time I was stopped on a bike was in Flores (Labuan Bajo).  I was not wearing a helmet (required).  Not only did they NOT ask me for any paperwork (Which I did have), they just asked that I park my bike and go get a helmet.  I did have a helmet but back at the place where I was staying, not too far away.  Once I walked to go get it, I came back to my bike where the officer was still standing, he then wished that I have a nice day and off I went.  Each time I heard about this from my fellow 'caucasian' travelers, they told me EVERY TIME they were asked to pay some sort of fine.  One of my friends even said to me, "hey I think I might be able to relate more now to what black (brown) Americans go through when they see police stopping them while driving". He proceeded to tell me he had never felt like that before, but now every time he sees the (Indonesian) police he gets nervous.  Partially because he's been working in Indonesia without working in Indonesia without 'papers' but also because he ALWAYS gets harassed for money during a (police) stop.  He does NOT have an IDL (international Driver's license) but was wearing a helmet and had his other paperwork.  While (I was) the passenger with a different ('non-brown' western) traveler (he was driving the motorbike) we were stopped.  They asked for his IDL (which he did not have).  The officer then told him he would need to appear in court (blah blah etc.) OR he would have the option to pay 200,000 RPH (equal to about $17 USD) and then be able to drive away.  This may very well still happen to me.  I am not immune and will not press my luck.  I will say however, that perhaps it's the fact I'm used to be afraid of the cops in the States and to have ALL my paperwork just in case (I have an IDL), I do not taking getting pulled over lightly.  But perhaps being 'brown' here has it's advantages, maybe I won't get stopped (wishful thinking)........

Choose the path less traveled......(Ubud, Bali, Indonesia)

Choose the path less traveled......(Ubud, Bali, Indonesia)

All geared up for Rainy season.  Tripod, light stands, gimbal & lights in the (blue) dry bag. laptop, Hard drives, Canon 5d, clothes & toiletries in the backpack, lenses & the Black Magic pocket cinema camera in the camera-hippouch (under the back pack). 

All geared up for Rainy season.  Tripod, light stands, gimbal & lights in the (blue) dry bag. laptop, Hard drives, Canon 5d, clothes & toiletries in the backpack, lenses & the Black Magic pocket cinema camera in the camera-hippouch (under the back pack). 

pitstop on my Motorbike ride, ceking ('checking') Rice Terrace about 30 minutes North of Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

pitstop on my Motorbike ride, ceking ('checking') Rice Terrace about 30 minutes North of Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

I pulled over while on the motorbike (riding in Nusa Lembongan, Bali, Indonesia) to shoot this with my Android phone.

I pulled over while on the motorbike (riding in Nusa Lembongan, Bali, Indonesia) to shoot this with my Android phone.

Samantha Isom