I feel so lame that I haven't gone out, then I get out there on the back of Nyoman's bike or even in the neighbors' (K & D's) car and the fear is freshly instilled in my psyche. First of all, they drive on the left side of the road so there's that to get used to. But then the way they drive on these small crowded streets! We'll be passing a car with a car and a few motorbikes coming at us in the other lane. No problem, we all just share the on-coming lane as our bike goes in between the two cars going opposite directions.
Similar to the states, a yellow light means "go". But here that pertains to the yellow light that comes right BEFORE the green light (yes it goes red, yellow, green). So that, paired with the opposite traffic not stopping at their red is a combination that will keep you on your toes!
There are motorbikes coming and going from every direction, in and out of the road. And honestly the intersection in my neighborhood to get out to the main road scares me almost as much as the road itself. They do obey the light, but once it turns green, the vehicles going straight? The turning bikes seem to ignore them completely and will turn right in front of them.
Monday morning, okay I've got all my stuff, nice outfit, close-toed shoes for the motorbike, ready to go. Here I go. I can tell I'm a bit wobbly, especially around corners but I think I'll get this. Hell, Cynthia and I took motorbikes all over Bagan in Myanmar without any problem at all! Why should I have any issue here?
I hit the intersection, focus, focus. Green light - woohoo - no other bikes coming into my lane? Right on. Wobble wobble wobble. OMG I must look ridiculous.
I did pretty good during the 30 minute drive. I went slowly but did manage to pass a few people and even a car or two! That was a bit nerve wracking. You simply cannot take your eyes off the road, even for a second. Someone will be coming into your lane from the right and pull directly over into the slow side (until they pick up speed) but they'll cut right in front of you to do it! And you might think you have a respite if your lane is rather empty but no, a truck and a few motorbikes might decide to pass in oncoming traffic meaning your lane fills up with barely room for you and your bike over to the far side with all these vehicles coming straight at you.
All of the landmarks that I had taken note of when Pak. Nyoman took me did absolutely no good. The bridge I noted? There were at least 3 bridges. The unique buildings and rice paddies? Everything looked the same.
I don't even know how I found it, but I did catch a glimpse of the orange immigration sign just as I was passing it. I pulled over and (barely) managed to cross traffic to get over there. Now I can breathe. OMG I made it.
On the way home it seemed quite a bit easier. I even managed to make a stop at the ATM, did a little shopping, got some juice at the big grocery store, and was feeling pretty good. I was even enjoying myself.
Sudden flashbacks to the puppy we ran right over the first night I went on the neighbor's weekly dinner outing with them. I couldn't sleep that night because all I could see what that little puppy just sitting there staring at us waiting to get nailed with a direct hit by the little blue Toyota. I know, it's all part of life and I appreciate that all parts of life are on direct display here. But man, that shit is hard to see.
Being brought back down to earth from my "fun" scooter ride, I made my way home to realize I had locked myself out.