Day 174: Terror in Bali

When Claire and I started this trip we were confident that we were well-traveled and well-edumacated people. We felt we knew things like where Dubai was located, and were sure that we had a basic grasp of geography. We received a mass email from our college friends (the epitome of accurate information sources, we know) that stated that approximately 83% of adults in the U.S. could not find the U.S. on a map.* Well, WE can, we said to each other smugly. Superiority confirmed.

However, we quickly learned that despite my vague background in the Middle East we could not necessarily place Dubai on a map without a struggle, and we were very wrong about lots of basic historical facts concerning the places we were going. Including the very elementary European history we both have been forced to learn about many times and that we can both BS about through a conversation with equally clueless intellectual types. No worries, in the next phase of this travel, we are giving each other geography quizzes and working out way through large history books. Seriously. We are worried about ourselves.

We were particularly smug that we knew the basic countries that England had once dominated, allowing us to know where they drove on the “wrong” side of the road, and to be quite proud of ourselves for knowing that Japan was the anomaly.

Again, wrong.

It seems most places we go are England-biased, including lovely lovely Bali. I did rent a car here to check out some quiet beaches chock full o’ surfers, and had the best time driving for the first time in 8 months. Turns out, muscle memory can be slow to start, but it kicks in eventually. Driving is fun. Driving stick shift is fun. Avoiding motos while remembering that the stick shift is on the left side, and I am also supposed to be on the left side is less than fun. Well, for the other drivers it is. No one died, and I felt very adventurous.

My joy was well accentuated by the fabulous musical jams: The Thong Song, Genie in a Bottle and tons of MC Hammer. My body was confused about how to drive, my mind couldn’t keep track of the road, and my spirit was invigorated by a sense that I was breaking the rules as I was clearly fourteen again.

Thank you, Bali, for this lesson in my mortality and in the joys of youth. And I’m sorry, Bali, for all your natives that I may or may not have terrified.

This movie of my driving does not take place in Bali; this is Vietnam. But you can get a sense of how naturally fabulous I am at this pastime:

**I cannot find this email so this statistic is my memory from last year. I suppose there’s a chance it is incorrect; but the point is the same. The number was appallingly LIKE 83%.

This is Claire driving on the wrong side of the road in South Africa last year. Though we frequently refer to her as uncoordinated, and though I never drove with her until senior year of college, Claire is a surprisingly adept driver. However, this picture may or may not be crooked because "adept" can also mean a little scary.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I started learning how to drive with a right-handed mini-miner. When it was time to swich to left-handed... I had to go to hell & back!
I completely understand what you have been through!

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