Thursday, December 8, 2011

at the soccer field

at the soccer field
a sea of motorcycles,
a fence of people

On the way back from Ubud, we pass Astina Soccer Field on the other side of the road from a row of shops, restaurants, hair salons and massage parlors. A soccer game is going on, but all we can see is a sea of black motorcycles and a fence of people, mostly men. When the game ends, Robin says there will be a traffic jam from here to Denpasar. I'm glad we're walking and will be home before the mass exodus.
          Motorcycles are everywhere in Bali, by far the most popular means of transportation. I frequently see an entire family on one motorcycle, the father in front with a child on his lap, the mother behind, riding side saddle, not holding onto the father, but holding another child in her lap. Young boys who look like they're in grade school zip around on motorcycles and by middle school they have their own. Motorcycles are used for carrying everything, from bushels to bags, poles to pigs. 
          Public transportation is very limited on this small island, so motorcycles are the best way to get around. Robin is constantly hitching a ride on her various errands and appointments. Any time she's called on for a birthing, someone picks her up on a motorcycle. One day when Robin and I were coming back from a visit with Mangku Liyer, two women on motorcycles offered us a ride back to Nyuh Kuning. The women were both wearing jeans but we were wearing kamben, the traditional wrap-around skirt, so there was no way to straddle the seat. The woman told me to hold onto her waist, but I still felt insecure, perched sideways with no helmet. We made it home safely but next time I'll wear pants under my kamben!

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