April 9, 2017
The scooter drivers in Bali annoyed me less than than those in say Palermo or Florence even though they are as insidious. They are parked on every sidewalk. They dart through traffic.
They speed down paths. And they are usually loaded with two or three passengers, or boxes of stuff, or chickens, definitely small children, and offerings of course. You can't have too many offerings.
Balinese drivers, car and scooter, make their presence known by beeping an I'm-entering-the-intersection warning at every corner. Beep beep beep.
But I quickly grew used to them. I was even impressed by their politeness.
Often the driver would say sorry or thank you as they passed me and I stepped out of the way.
The only scooters that scared me were those driven by tourists.
Scooters double as income generators. It seems like every fellow in town is available to drive you
somewhere which translates to a large scooter : tourist ratio.
I also saw what I interpreted to be pro- and con-Uber signs but then maybe I misunderstood them.
All day long you see lines of young men sitting along the street looking at their phones, using the free WiFi from the neighboring cafe (while their wife / mom / gfriend is at work?).
As you pass they hold up a taxi sign or ask "Sir? Taxi?" in a lackadaisical manner.
But it isn't offered with much pressure, the Balinese are polite even when they are encouraging you to buy something.
This is all very unlike the Turks who transition from aggressive welcome to threatening insult in the seconds spent walking by their business.