The Sidewalks in Bali

I'd like to take a moment to talk about city sidewalks and the ways in which they conspire to maim the unobservant. The sidewalks in Bali are narrow enough to accommodate only single file pedestrians or a scooter which has already shaved a chunck off both mirrors in an alley bottleneck. Sometimes the pavers lurch upwards or downwards with no warning as if a tectonic shift has left residual rollercoaster waves or the Hulk passed that way on a rampage. Usually, the walking surface is tiled with bricks or large squares of concrete that allow the copious rain to flow through to the water channels beneath. Gaping holes in the concrete wait to claim an unsuspecting ankle. Missing tiles, potholes and bent metal grating create an ominous obstacle course. Sometimes there are parked scooters or cars that take up the entire width of the sidewalk. Scooters and cars WILL drive up directly onto the sidewalk at any time to drop someone off inches from the entrance to a hotel or shop. Scooters motor towards you in both directions like jousting knights. The sidewalk may as well be an extension of the actual street. My favorite image is when a deep hole in the sidewalk is covered over partially with scraps of wood or cardboard or palm fronds as if Wily Coyote had set a comical trap for Road Runner. Not having fallen, or witnessed someone falling in said hole yet, this sight always induces a laugh. Ok, I'm done. There are myriad reasons for the disrepair of city sidewalks in Southeast Asia and some of them are well justified, don't get me wrong. The term, “bigger fish to fry” comes to mind, also, “small potatoes”……mmmm….hungry now, gotta go.



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