Our primary form of transportation on Bali is a black and white honda called a Scoopy. Last week we rode it more than 100kms each way to the village of Amed on the east coast which was otherwise inaccessible without your own car (or willingness to spent eight hours on small local transport vans known as bemos). It is reliable and fun to drive.
At five dollars a day to rent, a scooter is the best transportation investment we've ever made. To obtain one, you go through the onerous paperwork process of giving some guy with five bikes parked in front of his house a $20 deposit, the name of your guesthouse and a vague timeline for when you might return it.
You should wear a helmet, because, well duh, and it's also the law. But yesterday morning, our helmet was not where we had left it and, accordingly, was not on our head when we got stopped at Ubud's central intersection. Possibly, it had been stolen or borrowed. Because we hoped it was the latter and it would be returned soon, the full force of the law fell on our bare head.
"It is the law, you know, and we are here to enforce the law of Indonesia," the young Fuzz told me. We did not roll our eyes at this statement because we thought deference would get us out of this painlessly.
"And I support rule of law. But my helmet was stolen and I was on my way to get it replaced." (Both of these statements were actually true).
"Well, this is a warning then."
"I feel warned. Thank you." I started to get up.
He smiled. "But you should show me you international drivers' license."
This not being our first time at this rodeo, we said something to the effect of "o no you dint just ask for that." Of course we didn't have this document. No one does.
"O you don't have this?" he said with mock surprise. "I have no choice but to fine you 500,000 Rupiah (about $60) for your second violation."
"Well, I don't want to pay that."
"How much do you want to pay?"
"How about I pay you 100,000 (about $12)?"
"Ok, that will be fine. It will be justice."
"Can I have a receipt for that?"
"No, you cannot."
"So, you just shook me down. Is this what you're saying?"
Our helmet magically reappeared today. Rule of law still pending.