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Cruising Bali In a Vintage Volkswagen

By Marty Way


View Bali on WayWayFar's travel map.

Think of the line on the road as a skipping rope. Drivers cross it at a most opportune moment, then jump back again. From the passenger seat it seems like mayhem but there is an arcane rhythm to it. The key ingredient is trust: trust that your driver has cat-like reflexes to reliably miss nearby cars by millimetres, trust that other drivers cooperate as actively as yours, trust that your karma-bank has accrued a few ducats of interest lately, trust that today is not your day to die.

Our trust was rewarded in a ride from south-east Bali to Legian Beach in classic Volkswagen 188, open-topped convertible. The safety-features in this wanna-be beetle are consistent with those featured in 1967 (none), the year it emerged from the assembly line. But our driver/ owner meticulously restored this vehicle and is profoundly proud of it. (There is a club, in Bali, of mechanical-types whose passion is collecting and restoring vintage Volkswagens). Ignore the holes in the floor-boards and enjoy the wind blowing through your hair. It’s all ventilation after all.
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Cruising through the Balinese countryside, past villages, rice fields, durians for sale, stray dogs, and stone-carvers hammering statues and monuments out of volcanic rock is extraordinary. Local women making their way to the temple with offerings are quick to wave, as are children, in their uniforms, headed to school.c35acb9d-da10-40be-94ea-d99e79b3e065.jpeg

It’s been said that the most important part of a car is the nut that holds the wheel. When driving a vintage Volkswagen in Bali, the car-horn is vital too. One quick beep signals, “I’m about to cut you off.” Two beeps means “I’m beside you and going past.” A long honk and a wave says, “See ya! Eat my VW smoke.”

It was awesome.

Posted by WayWayFar 04:27 Archived in Indonesia

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