Bali – how we became sardines on more than one occasion

Bali – how we became sardines on more than one occasion

We had made contact with a family in the mountains, who were offering to host us for a few days. Nothing official or anything, so we had no real clue whether anyone would be waiting for us and my plan B was to grab a taxi and head to the mountains and find a guesthouse of some kind.

Instead we were met with a lovely hand written sign and a big smile by our host. Our Balinese sucks, his English thankfully is much better and we find out that his daughter is looking for us around the place, as we had taken a bit long to show up, car there, hold this sign – I am told, he disappears somewhere, a girl shows up a few minutes later with a lovely long hair, smiles widely at us and I assume she is the daughter, we greet and exchange a few words and off we go. We follow.

Then I see the car, and I wonder how is this puzzle going to work out. Its a small and old Suzuki, which doesnt promise to fit us all in. Yet, our new found friends are not blinking an eye, we will fit, they say and bags are being shoved and turned and coaxed to become smaller.

Then the same is done to us and somehow all of us are in, all 7 people, 2 big and 4 small backpacks. How, do not ask, it happened, believe it and leave it at that.

Feet on top of feet, sweaty bodies all over each other, bags under and over our heads, we depart, or attempt to do so, as the car refuses to start. Luckily, or not, after a few attempts it starts to buzz about and we are off through the busy streets.


Its all too exciting, the girls, and especially Miss Fab is ecstatic, could be because its her first time in a car without a seat belt, could be because its just all so unknown and new, but she is buzzing almost at the tune of the poor car buckled under our weight. It makes me happy to see her so open minded with little sweat beads on her top lip and I secretly hope that this mood stays with her throughout. She will need it, I am sure of it.

We putter along the roads, surrounded from every which way by scooters and small motorbikes, cause if there is something that is more prevalent than moist air, its those two methods of transport, they are everywhere, from left, top, right and behind, around every corner, ridden by kids, by grown ups with kids in front or back, by grown ups with big piles of stuff on top of them, by few grown ups with kids on top of them or any other combination you can think of.  And they wizz around, maneuvering their way through the apparent madness, filled with beep-beeping that never means get out of my effing way , rather a courteous warning for people to know you are around – beep-beep, I’m here, keep it in mind or beep-beep hi, there cause you cant just pass people you know without greeting them first.

The heat eases and the night comes. Little B is rolled up in a ball at my feet, sleeping by now.

I think Ratna’s (we find out the name of the girl) feet are under Miss Fab’s underarm and she is hosting the other ones feet neatly next to her too. I am not sure where all my limbs are, I still feel them, so assume they are ok, somewhere in the darkness. The Dod is sleeping on and off on my arm…

After what seems like an eternity, he wakes up and needs to go to the toilet, and the boy must know when and what to do, because by now I would kill for some fresh air devout of stewing human flesh.  We park on the grass next to the road and my feet sing me praises as I release them onto the freedom of the outside world.

The pit stop included not only grass toilet, but a refreshing drink and some kind of sweet bread accompanied by hot sauce.

As well as being presented to the local bug control troops – free and available anywhere. Cute to boot.

Then back into our tin on wheels and the never ending journey continues. By now I am beyond tired, Miss Fab is getting pins and needles, which Ratna naturally helps with by giving her some foot massage. The Dod is getting cranky and finding it hard to sleep..

My body aches, my back has a bunch of painful spots, my butt is sore and losing feeling, the camera is now poking a permanent hole into my foot, somewhere down there into the darkness…

Trooot-trooot-brooom noisily goes the car onto the black road, I think rain falls at some point and the weak windshield wipers screech onto the glass, doing nothing really…

And we get there, where I dont know, not sure and cant really mind right now. The journey up here has taken almost as long as the flight from Perth to that now very distant in my mind Denpasar airport.