Remember, when you’re in a different country, you’re essentially in someone else’s house. Sometimes their house rules don’t make sense. For example, let's say a young guy by the name of Jimmy goes to stay with his uncle Jarvis in a town somewhere between Portland, OR and Landing, MI. He hasn't seen his uncle in a few years but needs a place to stay because he's looking for a job in that approximate area.
So, in the same way, though I don’t agree with all the laws of Indonesia, I gotta respect them because it ain’t my house. This is not to say I would obey a law if I thought it was morally reprehensible to do so, e.g. treat others like shit because of the color of their skin, gender, sexual preference, etc. But just like there have been asinine rules in the past in the U.S. (and today I assume) so there are similar asinine rules in other countries.
It's kind of amazing how much we let those no more intelligent, or rather, much less intelligent, dictate what we can or cannot do with our lives. Why? Because they are confident to a fault and not afraid to tell people how they should behave in life in all aspects? Because it's easier to let someone else be the master and us the puppets or sheep? I suppose that's a diatribe for another day.
Before I go down a cavernous rabbit hole, here are some things you should definitely avoid while you’re in Indonesia.
Things to Avoid in Bali
- Avoid trying to score, smoke, or even think about marijuana, or any drug (the current perception of what a “drug” is) for that matter. They DO NOT play around when it comes to this shit, so don’t do it. I’m not being facetious when I say that people have been executed here because of attempted drug smuggling. See: http://mashable.com/2015/04/28/indonesia-bali-nine-australians/#8tuWssW.IPq1
- Ironically, Gusti number 1 told me that while pot is a huge NO-NO it’s okay to drink and drive. I don’t know if this is true, but to me, this conjures up an image of someone taking a baseball bat and bludgeoning Logic to the point where it isn't recognizable. It also made a couple fuses totally blow the fuck up inside my head, so I tried to tactfully give my opinion that “WTF THAT’S FUCKING ASS-BACKWARDS DUDE.”
- Try and avoid getting “Bali Belly,” as an English dude put it. Don’t drink that tap water. Try and eat at places where it’s fairly obvious that things are prepared hygienically. How the fuck do you do this? Don’t ask me. I had Bali Belly for about half my time there.
- Don’t have your debit card information stolen. I did. Cover your debit cards when you pull cash out. I got robbed again, but it was just my two debit card numbers. Luckily I’m not rich and have fraud protection.
- Don’t get killed and don’t kill anyone else. This one can be applied anywhere you are.
I found an interesting article on About.com about the Indonesia drug laws in case you're curious: Drug Laws in Bali and the Rest of Indonesia
Things That are Good to Know
- The yellow liquid you see in yellow jars at convenience stores contain gasoline for your motorbike, not pee. So if you don’t see a gas station for a while, if you see jars that look like they have pee or mountain dew (or a weird mixture of both), know that it’s gasoline and you can buy some on the cheap for your motorbike (obviously not for cars).
- Use these guys for your transportation needs if you want a safe and air-conditioned ride.
- Gusti #1: +628123927711
- Wayan’s contact info: +6281337834230 or +6281933032268
- These guys are completely trustworthy, and make sure you don’t lose your stuff. The prices are reasonable, though not exactly cheap (expect to pay 300,000 Rupiah to get from point A to point B) or $30.
- Navigating the Roads
- Drive on the left side yo
- Maps.me is awesome. Throw in an earbud while you’re motorbiking if you don’t feel like getting lost
- Wear a mask, because there is a whole hell of a lot of exhaust.
- If you are from a wealthy country where the currency is high, be grateful. We can travel. We get weekends off. I’m pretty sure Europeans get half of their lives off for holidays on top of parental leave on top of who knows what else.
- Allow yourself to feel humbled by the experience.
A Nickel For Your Thoughts:
- Times I was offered a taxi: 1,548
- Everyone I talked to in Bali knows:
- That Barack Obama is the current president (I had no idea that Obama spent some time in his youth in Indonesia, which my driver Wayan educated me on).
- That Trump is an idiotic sociopath (most of the world knows this, how is it that so many people in America don't get it?) Check out The Oatmeal's #DONMOJIS
- I didn’t go to Mt. Agung, but you probably should because it looks awesome
- Bali has a day of silence. Every business is closed, no-one drives anywhere, and shit is just kept chill, silent, and reflective. I, unfortunately, missed this by a day or two, but I think EVERY country should practice this.
Best quote from my time in Bali:
“In Bali we are religious, but we are not extreme, and accept everybody. You wanna dress sexy? If you are ok with that I am ok with that. Okay if I just look?”