A wandering bird's-eye overview of most things even vaguely related to travel, and an opportunity for writers, artists and photographers to contribute the historical, the hysterical, the quirky and quixotic... anything with heart.

3 years ago
An Ubud vignette
An Ubud vignette

All three of us ladies are cool and comfortable in a large air-conditioned car.  We are being driven into Ubud by Wayan, part owner of Lily Lane Villas.  It's our last shopping morning and we are women on a mission.  I want yoga pants, and a particular pendant I've seen somewhere on Hanuman Road. 

As we round the first corner, we are buzzed by two young men on a motor bike.  The one in front has both hands on the handlebars, a miracle in itself in 'casually ride your bike' Bali.  He has a surgical mask pulled down under his chin, and a cigarette stuck in his mouth.  The end, fed by the air streaming past, is glowing bright orange.

None of us say anything for a few moments, and then we all burst out at once.

"Did you see?"

"That boy with the cigarette-"

My voice is the loudest, and wins out.  "Of course you want a face mask to protect you from car pollution, and then pull it down for a ciggie.  Because that doesn't harm your lungs at all."

I am the queen of sarcasm.

It's only on the 5.5 hour trip home on the plane that I think of this image again.  I've been on the back of a few Bali motor bikes in my time, sans face mask.  Results:  chapped lips, wind burn, sun burn, runny nose from car fumes, occasional bug in my teeth.

Yeah, fair enough, bike boy, you need a face mask. 

Photo: Ubud Bikers - Ubud, Bali, Indonesia _ Ben Godrey