844 days, 20,256 hours, 1,215,360 minutes, or 72,921,600 seconds. That is the approximate duration of my world tour. I never wanted it to end and now, in a manner of speaking, I suppose it never has to. If you wish to go by country do so by clicking on one above. They are numbered in the order I visited them, more or less. If you enjoy reading about it even a tenth as much as I enjoyed living it then you will not have wasted your time. Grab a refreshing beverage, settle in a comfortable chair, and make a journey across the world, experiencing it as I did. Then get off your ass and check it out for yourself. You're not getting any younger.

Jakarta Five-0 (Jakarta, Indonesia)

For an updated version of this post, go here.

June 3rd, 2009 - Busted. Again. This time it was an illegal right hand turn. One more violation and I think it will be time to join a crime syndicate. I like traffic circles. Who doesn’t? Some circles are not meant to be circumnavigated I guess. The ones in Jakarta are certainly not. Apparently, when you have the green light you can only go straight through. No turning. I am sure there is a sign telling me this somewhere but how the hell was I suppose to know? Not to mention I was merely following another vehicle. The problem is, Indonesia loves one way roads, no u-turn signs, and all kinds of other obstacles that prevent getting to the place you wish to go (usually within your line of sight) with any sort of ease.

Sometimes you can turn left on red. Sometimes not. Sometimes a red light means stop. Sometimes it means, Yeah, right! Following other drivers does little to shed light on the proper procedure since it is impossible to determine who is actually following the rules and who could not give a rat’s ass.

So there I am stopped on the other side of a circle at a red light. This is, of course, right in front of a traffic police post. Out of the corner of my eye I see Barney Fife and his partner headed in my direction. I am next to another vehicle so I am hoping they are coming for him. If you were in my head you would have heard Don’t look. You’re invisible. They can’t see you. They don’t want you. They want him. Stay cool. Look straight ahead and--- Hello! Busted. I was invited to park my hog and join them in the traffic shed. I graciously accepted their offer. I once again put on my stupid hat and pretended not to know a syllable of Indonesian. Then began the incomprehensible utterances and pantomiming.

Barney: You no turn right. Right you no turn. (Lots of pointing and gesticulating.)

Me: Aaaaah…ummm….huh? Can’t right turn there? Whaaaat? Uuuuuuuhhhhh…

Barney: Blah-blah-blah…mumbling….blah-blah-blah.

Me: Uuuuuhhhhh….Sorry. I don’t understand. What?

Barney’s friend: Blah-blah-blah . . . . . . license.

Me: Yes. License? Okay. 

Barney: How long you Indonesia?

Me: Four months.

Barney: You like Indonesia.

Me. I love Indonesia.

At this point I produce my motorcycle registration and International Driving Permit. Barney has a peek and then the dance begins anew.

Barney: You go justice. Pay registration. (and then in response to the quizzical look on my face) Injustice. You know justice? 

Me: Ummmmmm……huh?

Barney: You go justice (pointing out window) and pay money. You know money?

Me: Money? Ohhhh….moooooney. Yes. Pay money? What? Where? Huh?

I thought he was trying to tell me that I needed to get some kind of amendment to my registration and this required me to go to their version of the Dept of Motor Vehicles. The name on the registration is the woman from whom I purchased the bike. In actuality he was telling me that I needed to go to the ‘Justice Department’, as he put it, and pay a fine. While this is going on the guy driving the car (the one whose lead I followed) was being issued a ticket. Now why would a local make an illegal right hand turn right in front of a police checkpoint? Kooky.

Barney’s friend: No problem. You pay here. 500.

Me: 500? 500 rupiahs? (Keep in mind that 500 rupiahs is the equivalent of five cents).

Barney’s friend: 500 rupiahs. 5000 rupiahs.

Me: 5000 rupiahs? Huh? (Now we are up to fifty cents).

At this point Barney took the liberty of writing down 500,000 rupiahs (a little less than fifty dollars). Of course I realized this from the beginning but I certainly was not going to make the extortion process any easier for them. Isn’t it nice that in lieu of wasting your precious time going down to the ‘Justice Department’ you can easily and conveniently take care of the issue on the spot. Sure is swell. I would have tried to negotiate the price downward but all my money was bunched together and they were watching me very closely. I was screwed. I suppose it could have been worse. They were fairly excited at the prospect of me touring Indonesia on the motorcycle so maybe that helped. I even got the thumbs up. However, they were even more excited about the prospect of making a quick fifty bucks. I really wanted to get a picture with my new friends but I thought that might be pressing my luck a bit far. Maybe next time.

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'Love me or hate me, but spare me your indifference.' -- Libbie Fudim