Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Turns Out to be Traffic

Snatching a morsel of time from the jaws of tedium to do a bit of writing in the old blog. Got myself set up at Starbucks in Sanur, free coffee with coupon, electricity working, AC working, and the day not so very humid for a change (not deathly so, at least)  - Sempurna!

I read just now that the governor here is tossing around the idea of banning all new car sales in Bali in order to avoid what must otherwise become, a la Jakarta, eventual gridlock. Honestly, it seems like a sound and sober idea to me. The only thing is, my wife wants a car, and has wanted one for the past four years. Better act now, honey.

While they're at it, perhaps they had better address the condition of the roads as well. Just yesterday a tourist bus fell off a narrow road into a ravine when its engine stalled. Really, that shouldn't happen. Seven people killed, at current count, others in critical condition in various hospitals. Being in critical condition in a Bali hospital is a definite minus. God be with them.

And then lets address the motorists themselves. People here are either unaware of the rules of the road, or they just don't want to bother with them. Why should they? There is no enforcement of the rules whatsoever. The police spend their time setting up roadblocks in the hopes of catching people without a license or registration so that they might collect a quick fee and pocket the same. As far as the madness and chaos that plays out every day right before their eyes is concerned, they care not. I have seen motorists blast through red lights right in front of a police post, and the two posted policemen just standing by their brand new supercharged motorbikes. I guess they don't want to put any strain on the engines. Or maybe it's just too hot to make a fuss.

So this post turned out to be about traffic, didn't it. Well, it's a daily trial here, a daily frustration and a daily peeve. The general disregard for safety is continually astounding. The drivers, and most criminally those in cars, seem to have no conception of what is going to happen if they run into something or someone. You see them tailgating at 50 miles an hour, flashing their damn headlights instead of just backing off a bit. We're all trying to get somewhere, folks, preferably alive.

And people are injured every day (3 times for me, so far), and people die every day. Fewer cars on the road? Sure. Brilliant. But lets get some responsible, honest cops out there, too; and maybe even require that people take a driving tests before they're set loose behind the wheel.

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