It was only a matter of time before we got into an accident. Driving in Bali is crazy. Like Vietnam, there are far more motorbikes than cars and very few traffic lights. People pass when they aren’t supposed to and tailgating seems to be the national pastime.
As we made our way to our homestay, somebody cut us off and our driver was forced to stop short. Unfortunately, the motorbike behind us did not and with a great thud, hit the rear door of our van….and so, we were thrust into another Balinese roadside experience!
Of course our first thoughts were:. “Are they ok?” “What happens now?” We were full of questions. But when our driver and guide returned from speaking with the motorbiker, all we got was a wave of the hand suggesting the whole episode was not a big deal and within 5 minutes we were back on our way to our homestay.
The scoop? Apparently, despite minor injuries, the motorbiker didn’t want to involve the authorities, so even with damage to our car, the whole thing was just waved off as if it never happened. Perhaps a little money changed hands to get the dents knocked out? We’ll never know! If only our own minor fender benders were that simple!
When we finally pulled up at the end of the narrow alley that led to our homestay in the small village of Gadungan, owners Herry and Dwi and two of their small children greeted us with huge smiles of welcome. Their home was like most homes in Bali: several generations living in the same complex consisting of a kitchen, buildings with rooms, and an area dedicated to worship, dotted with small shrines and a raised covered platform for ceremonies. All this, and the four perimeter walls of the compound, surrounded a central courtyard and a small garden. Neighboring compounds were on all sides except the rear which abutted acres of beautiful corn and rice fields.
We only had time for one night, but if I could do it again, I would stay for two. We just didn’t have enough time to really get to know Harry, Dwi, and the kids and to maximize our homestay experience. It did not help that in Bali, there are no family meals…. You just eat when you are hungry. So they never ate with us which felt like a missed opportunity to get to know one another. As it was, we enjoyed visiting their local waterfall and hot springs, reveled in the spectacular rice fields, and ate absolutely delicious food.
Dwi and Herry couldn’t be any nicer, so if you are planning a visit to Bali, I’d highly recommend staying with them for two nights IF you are interested in how local people go about their daily life.
Tomorrow, we leave Bali and fly to another island to board a dive boat for 5 days. There won’t be any Wi-Fi so no posts until we return on Saturday.