We had always planned to get a car at some stage, though we had been waiting to get more familiar with the roads and driving conditions. We decided the time had come after last weekend paying $50 for a driver to take us on a day trip to the coast, in which he dropped us off and hung out with his friends all day before picking us up again.
We had spent the first few weeks in Bali getting drivers each day to take us into and around town (we are staying about 10 minutes out of Ubud). It became a hassle to organise our days, coordinating trips to different places to minimise the number of trips. It did not seem right paying $10 to go to the shops, when sometimes we would spend not much more than that. Also, we were still adjusting to having someone working for us and we still felt uncomfortable making them wait for us (even though they were happy to).
Fortunately when I asked at our villa about renting a car there was a guy visiting who knew someone who got us a great price (in Bali there is always someone who has a friend who has something you want!). While negotiating the deal, the guy renting us the car did not want to see a driver’s licence – that’s our problem if we get caught by the police, he said. Bribery is big here? It also wasn’t clear whether the car was insured. It seems like repairs are so cheap that we fix most dents and scratches ourselves, and anything major we have an excess payment of $100 and he takes care of the rest.
We are now happily renting a 7-seater Avanza by the month, the cost works out to about $10 a day. What a bargain!
It didn’t take long to get into the swing of things, though our first drive was eventful. We headed the wrong way down a one-way street (Clare driving, Rob navigating!). The cars we passed did not seem too concerned. Eventually a guy jumped out in front of us and alerted us newby “Bules” to our mistake. I didn’t think they had road rules here?
We are loving the freedom now, and are zipping around town like locals.