Just a few hundred meters to the beach, I saw a big sign said: POLICE IN 50 M. NO BAGUS!
Police has always been annoying, really. They could be anywhere, everywhere you might or might not think of, doing patrol or routine check. I knew it, so we were really prepared for it.
It was a good thing that we had everything prepared with us everywhere we went -valid international driver's license, motorbike's plate license (STNK), both of our passports (also my KTP and my Indonesian driver's license), cash, credit card- because, there were three times we were stopped by the police. Twice were routine patrol, once was a just trying to get us.
First patrol was on our way to Tanah Lot. They stopped every motorbike. This officer told us to get off the road. He saluted us, and said, "Hope you don't mind. Just a routine check." He then asked for our documents, well, this time were the driver's license and STNK. He didn't ask for our passports. He read the driver's license a bit and talked a bit of basa-basi, asking where we live, as he saw that the driver's license was issued in Japan. So I said that I live in Japan and he let us go.
The second stop was kinda not cool. We were on our way back to Seminyak, dark, cold and wet. The rain poured so hard all the way from Ubud to probably the boarder of Gianyar and Denpasar. I still remember how dark the road was, and gosh, now I just imagine how incredible it was that there was nothing wrong with us, like the tire burst or something like that. We did stop to buy petrol just when we started to leave Ubud, and we tried to bargain two rain coats, however, 6 dollar for each was too expensive for us. Hahaha. We were in backpacker mood. So, we decided to ride the scooter in the heavy rain.
Ubud, before it became famous and international, was a quiet village. A village still up to today. And despite its internationally well-known name, it is still dark in the evening. Soon after we started to ride the scooter, it was dark. Thankfully we have left the forest area (which area that is, I don't even remember the name. I'm guessing Peliatan). I still remember we were in the border between Gianyar and Denpasar, and all we did was following the road, driving straight, and when there was an intersection, we took one that directed us to Denpasar. I remember the road back wasn't the same as the road we took there, but it didn't feel any longer or farther. And finally the rain stopped. Our bodies were still wet. Suddenly we came to the road I know well, the road I used to take home to Kuta from Sanur. Yes, we were in Sanur. Finally. OMG, we were in our area.
We were riding our Mio on Sanur highway, and the wind blew our face. Joe bent his body forward to make himself convenient and to tackle the wind. Little did we know, a police officer was hiding in the dark, by the road. A few meters ahead, we were stopped.
Joe and I asked each other what happened. We just passed an intersection but we were on the right track, we didn't cross the line, so we didn't understand.
"We got everything, right?" Joe checked.
"Yes," I replied. I hope, I said to myself. However, I was sure we brought everything.
The police stopped us and asked for the documents. Thank God we had everything.
"Why (did you stop us), Sir?" I asked.
"Why bent forward?" he asked me back.
He bent his chest a little bit forward, copying Joe.
"Well... it's (effin') windy, and it is so hard riding a scooter against this big wind!" I couldn't help myself raising my tone.
After returning our documents, he let us go. But oh man, what an unpleasant situation that was.
Third stop, this time was epic.
It was in the corner of Jalan Melasti, in front of Panorama Hotel. If you come from Jalan Legian, you can't avoid this turn.
We saw already there were a number of tourists got caught. We were guessing these people didn't have valid IDP, or no helmets. We were ok. Pffft... The officer had -once again- a little bit of basa-basi chit-chat.
"They're also discipline there in Japan, right?" he said.
"For sure. Way more so than here," I said.
This time the officer was quite friendly actually. He asked us how long we've stayed in Japan.
So anyway. Don't drive anywhere in Bali without a valid International Driver's License, for God's sake. It is illegal there, it is illegal everywhere else. But I mean, seriously, even in a tourist place like Bali, don't look down on it. Even we were always safe, it was indeed still no bagus being stopped by police three times.