“Real” Yoga in Lov-ina, Indonesia.
The Bemo (Bus) driver, Panca, was going the opposite direction of myself when he pulled to the side of the road where me, mySelf and my suitcase sat. I had been sitting for less than 5 minutes waiting for The Red Bemo bus to come sometime between 9-10am. It was Bali time, best to be early. I was sitting at 8 30.
Panca had 3 passengers stuffed with goods and dead things in his rackety version of a mini-van, a testament to the kindness of Life that it still ran, it was probably made in the early 80’s. The 3 passengers ranged in age from a young, uniformed school girl to an elderly man of at least 75, who had a more fit body than myself at 40 and a very fit elderly woman.
Panca asked me matter of factly, “where you going?”
“Lovina. The other direction?” Panca pondered what this meant, looking in the direction my finger was pointing in.
I had been given specific directions on how to catch a Bemo Bus to Lovina from the small town I was located in. I was told it may be a very difficult transport. I handed him the piece of paper I was given so he knew I was aware of my intention of getting there without having to get ripped off. On the paper it said, “3 different Bemo destinations, with 3 different colored buses all ranging in 3 different estimated prices for each trip, so I had a rough idea of the cost. The total for the experience would be somewhere around 85,000 Rupiahs. $8.80 Canadian.
Then he made my life. “100,000 to Lovina. Direct.”
“I’ll take it.” I glanced back smiling deliciously at all of the other passengers. They all stared back with a look of horror.
“What about them? They’re going the other way.”
“No problem. They get out now.”
I quickly shifted gears and told Panca and mostly them—they had no idea about what I was saying– “we drop them off first.”
So we did. He told me it was 1km to drop them off, maybe kilometres in Bali are a different measurement because if 1km in Bali was more like 10km then that seemed much more like it.
I waited to see if we would ever turn around and go in the direction that Lovina was actually in. After some time, sure enough, we did.
There is a kindness present in how little death actually occurs in driving here, probably anywhere.
One lane is used and on this one lane racing, helmetless drivers using scooters with newborns on board, motorbikes, monster Petroleum-filled trucks with the blackest exhaust and buses compete in a continuous game of Chicken… and you watch your living soul appreciate that you are still existing because the flow has to be just perfect for you or many to not get seriously hurt. Or killed. Seriously.
A tourist friend that lives here later told me that in one day 9 people died on this stretch of road. That wasn’t including the accidents that also happened.
To drive here is asking for your end, especially if you are not from around here. There is a flow that you must encompass to not get hurt. Even the children walking fearlessly on the road itself into traffic are a part of this flow; they think nothing of it. They inhabit it.
In Thailand, the number one death in the country is coconuts falling on your head. The number two death is white people driving scooters when they have never driven them before. I was one of those people in Thailand. I saw the man with no face, just eyes, staring out. Or the other man who had lost his heel and had an empty stare very much like what I imagine women go through in birth. I spent 3 weeks having my back raked with a steel brush to clean the wound.
It was a good day to die; even better, to still remain. Or to Stillness remain.
So it wasn’t a difficult transport after all, in fact it was easy. It started and ended with accepting the situation as it is… I just had to risk all of who I was to receive the gift.