Aaron Twite, Jesse Toler and Eric "E-Brake" Pettit are embarking on a six week stunt adventure through the island country of Indonesia. Twite will be reporting for the duration of their trip right here on StuntBums.com! These boys are in for an epic ride so be sure to check back each week as their story progresses.
It's Sunday, June 10, the day after our first show in Indonesia. The majority of our “work” was in setting up the bikes. That completed, relatively speaking, gives us a considerable amount of free time during our off days of Sunday through Wednesday. Not wanting to waste any opportunity we plan on spending every free moment taking advantage of our free vacation.
Before I begin I would like to introduce the word “bule”. Pronounced “boo-lay”. The closest literal definition is “Caucasian”. It is the common term applied to white foreigners. It is neither positive, nor negative in nature, just a word for us.
We have decided to stay on Lombok Island and do a bit of exploring. Lombok is relatively small, about 50 miles across. There are glorious beaches and the second tallest mountain in Indonesia: Rinjani. Our illustrious driver Tatto has connected us to his motorcycle club buddies in Mataram (largest city on Lombok).
We awake Sunday to find the club hanging about in the hotel parking lot. The plan is to tour via motorcycle south 1.5 hours to the beaches of Kuta Lombok. The club provides us with several choices of bikes to ride, all less than 200cc. I select a touring bike in the 50-200cc range, Jesse the same bike only a cruiser version, and Eric on a full on scooter.
We leave the hotel late in the morning. Our entourage consists of 8-10 bikes and a truck carrying our personal effects. We are now on the streets, completely exposed to the full fury of Indonesian traffic. Indonesian traffic is like having a street ride on an American sidewalk, going against the flow of traffic on the wrong side of a road populated by blind drivers. We have the vague notion there are rules, and indeed everyone except us knows them, but they certainly follow no form of logic or reason. It is way too much fun. Our crew is led by off-duty police officers, fire fighters, paramedics and other city officials. They are literally running oncoming traffic off the road to clear a path, splitting lanes, and Mad-Maxing through traffic. It is totally out of control and begins to feed the street rider inside us. Caution is thrown to the wind.
We make our way to the only “highway” on the island: a four lane road divided by a median of trees and grass. There is no speed limit so of course we are going as fast as possible as soon as possible. As we cruise along I come upon an old man pushing his bicycle in the right lane (my lane). This would be the equivalent of finding a cyclist in the left lane on the freeway in the states. I take a chance to pass between him and the median and at the last possible moment he cuts right in front of me. At this point my wrist has the throttle fully engaged. I am going as fast as this bike can possible carry me. Jesse's speedometer reads 80km/hr (50mph) and I am pulling away from him fast. Our best guess at my speed is 50-60 mph.
As my body flies through the humid Indonesian atmosphere my mind goes back to a warning I gave Eric and Jesse: whatever you do, you do not want to end up in an Indonesian hospital. I was now hurling to that very destination at fantastic speeds. Landing in the median, my lengthy crash experience puts me into a tucked rolling position. Tumbling for nearly 100ft I made the unfortunate discovery that the median had a healthy population of large stones, which were now pummeling my arms and legs. The small rocks imbedded in ground found a new home, imbedding themselves in my unprotected skin. It's a good thing I at least made the decision to wear my own Scorpion helmet. The very worst part was the immediate knowledge of the future pain I was to endure.
When my tumble slowed enough I was immediately on my feet. It's the reaction I cannot explain, but every rider knows. If you can stand, you are “ok”. A quick pat down and range of movement test reveals no broken bones. I am, however, completely covered in road rash. My right shoulder put a trench in the ground any farmer would appreciate. I am instantly furious, yet frustrated because there is nothing to be furious at. It was an accident. I want to be angry at the old man, but it's not his fault. Swearing seems to help a bit, and I keep my visor closed so no one hears my language.
As the dust settles we survey the damage. My bike is totaled. The bicycle is a piece of scrap, and there is ice cream everywhere. Ice cream? That's right, I have t-boned an Indonesian ice cream man at terrific speeds.
The decision is made to head to the hospital. I need the gravel cleaned out of my wounds and the ice cream man needs stitches in his foot. Thank God I didn't kill him! Luckily the hospital is close, and one of our crew is a nurse there.
Here we are. The one place I never wanted to see in Indonesia. No doors, no air conditioning, no modern technology one associates with a medical facility. Rusty beds with blown out “cushions”, archaic medical devices seen in old Frankenstein films, rooms and halls filled with locals moaning in a dreary, stoic atmosphere.
Just like I imagined.
The only saving grace is the lack of formality and paperwork. I walk in, lay down on the “bed” and they immediately go to work. Betadine, familiar in color and scent, puts my mind at ease. The nurse goes to work scrubbing the rash and grooved wounds on my body. It sucks. Road-rash is the worst kind of pain, inescapable and extensive.
I have crashed all over the place, annihilating an Indonesian ice cream man. Hilarious. The humor is unavoidable. Between grimaces of pain, I am laughing uncontrollably with Jesse and Eric. Only later did Jesse and I realize how bizarre the situation is. We are in a rural hospital few, perhaps no white person visits. I am bloodied and visually in horrid condition. Between my gasps and grimaces of pain we are laughing so loudly it echoes throughout the hospital. All the locals did was stare with looks of bewilderment; they must have surely thought we were completely out of our minds. We had invaded their cultural bubble on so many levels they could hardly process it.
The only things remaining are hospital bills, and the judicial negotiations between myself and the ice cream man. No one here every wants to go to court, so a settlement is negotiated. Seeing his chance of a payday from the bule, the ice cream man goes for a huge sum of 3 million Rp. However I have the police on my side and the settlement is finalized at 1 million Rp.
- Ice cream man pay off = 1 million Rp
- Hospital bills = 110,000 Rp
- Total = 1,110,000 Rp......or $110!
Of interesting note I will mention the ice cream man did NOT speak the national language. He spoke the local Lombok dialect of Sasak. So information was translated as such: Sasak – Bahasa Indonesian – English and back again.
The rest of the day was a wash. Back in the hotel I finally passed out in a chair. Jesse and Eric did me the kind service of making a medical supply run. To my surprise Jesse discovered a burn medication containing silver can be obtained over the counter here (prescription needed in the states).
PART 5 COMING SOON!