It began with a rough location and a plan: Go to the waterfall in the north that no one else is going to. So, myself, my group of newly acquired friends that I met from the hostel got together and rented two bikes for 4 people (two on each bike) and we started out. I have a bit of experience with riding and felt a lot more confident in myself than some of the others I was with, the Canadian, and the Dutch had never really driven before, so it was up to me (American) and the German, to drive. Canadian came with me, and the Netherlands and Germany had their own alliance.
This was no ordinary drive… This is Indonesia, very much a different place than the typical roads and traffic I had been accustomed to in my life in America. Also different compared to the life I had living in China. There are a LOT of motorbikes here, and there is a lot of traffic, for the sake of emphasis, I’ll repeat that last part; there is a LOT of traffic. Traffic aside, the roads are extremely windy, it looks like someone removed the S key from several computers and scattered them along to make a path to somewhere unknown and then dumped greenery onto it with an extra portion of motorbikes.
Canada had never been a passenger on a motorbike before apparently and couldn’t understand that when you turn you should lean with the bike. Well, an hour later Germany honks his horn and then motions to let him come alongside, and as he does I try to position towards the side and that’s when the bike started to slide… I found out rather quickly, our tire went flat. I was able to keep control of the bike and the whole of North America upright and after about 50 meters or so I pulled to the side after noticing the bike continues to slip and slide, so I wanted to investigate.
We stop next to some road workers and one of them kindly brings us a air pump, which helps nothing but our mood until we find it doesn’t solve the problem and the tire is as good as our fingers at holding air inside it. Thankfully just ahead there is a restaurant / resort area where a local seems quite nice and helpful for us. He offers to drive the bike down to the place nearby and let them repair it, and we can wait at the restaurant. While we do, of course, we get some food. Nasi Goreng.
Nasi Goreng, is my go-to food of choice here in Bali, it’s Fried Rice, but the problem was this restaurant said they wanted 60,000 ($4.12) for it, when next to our hostel we can get it for 10,000 ($0.68 ) (Rupiah – Local currency RPH) The German was not having any of that and quickly told them, “Usually I get it for 10,000, you have to make it cheaper”. Some discussion from the kitchen staff amongst themselves led to them returning with a counter offer of 35,000 ($2.06) “Come on man, that’s still too much, how about you make it cheaper and we will all order something?”. More kitchen discussion and then Bali returns with, “Ok, 20,000 but no chicken.”.
After we finish eating, the man returns with the bike, tire repaired and we go to set out again for the waterfall, many winding twisting turns later, even driving by a large herd of more than 50 monkeys, we come to find that the location we used with Google Maps is not the wilderness we were looking for but in fact left us in some small village near some houses. A school girl (around 12 years I guess) drives by us on a motorbike to her family home. At this time we’re stopped and discussing our options. I try to use my phone and ask the girl where the waterfall is and she seems confused, but then I just show her a picture from Instagram and she has a look of recognition. In poor English she gets across the idea that she knows the place, and can take us if we follow her.
She gets onto her motorbike with her friend (or sister) and we follow her for what I thought would end up being a 5 minute drive, but turned into a 15 minute journey. Eventually we reach the place and she tells us the waterfall is down the path, and offers to stay to take us back through the town when we finish. We refuse and I insist that we give her a little money because we wouldn’t have found the place without her. She gratefully, and humbly accepts it, albeit quite surprised.
Finally, we made it, we arrived.