For the past 11 years, I’ve mostly been the passenger. But, ever since I got back on the (bike) saddle, there’s no looking back: I’m ready to plan for the next step. And, in Bali, the next step is a motorbike. Or more like a scooter, such as the user-friendly and ubiquitous Scoopy – the top choice for most virgin expat bikers.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, because I’m not quite there. But there I almost was, just the other day. After cycling to a pseudo-distanced appointment at immigration for biometrics (amazing, what we subject ourselves to here, year after year..), I arrived at a nearby mall much earlier than I’d expected. The halls were still dark as staff started to arrive, take apart movable door components, clean counters and prepare themselves for the day. (There was also a group bonding exercise inside the supermarket, which appeared to be a mixture of prayer and employee recognition, but that’s for another day!)
Momentarily miffed at the delay, I decided to turn my attention elsewhere. As I looked back down the hallway, towards the main doors from where I’d entered, I remembered that I’d passed a car on display, as if it was an indoor dealership. Walking back in that direction, close to the car, I spotted two motorbikes, shiny and new, parked high on their kickstands. Glancing around, and seeing nothing more than reflections, lights and mirrored glass, I found my mission.
Leaving my nerves and hesitation on the ground, I stepped my left foot between the seat and handlebars, and shimmied around on the seat until I managed to perch, warily, not entirely steadily; but with both feet lifted off the ground.
Like the proverbial tree in the forest, would you believe that a human being’s elation might uncork itself, reverberate along all the mirrored walls of empty stores lining the long darkened corridor, with such a deafening roar of silence that it could break all the glass – even if nobody was there to witness or hear the sound?
Well I’m just one more Scoopy-driver-to-be that knows it to be true.
All those shiny objects, cars and mirrors, lights and helmets, are getting closer every day…