So we left Munduk and headed back "home" on what turned out to be one of the most beautiful drives I had ever taken. Along the windy way, we passed Lake Tambligan and Lake Buyan, stunning sister lakes surrounded by hydrangea flowers stretching out before Mount Lesong (check out below pic I stole from the InterWeb). Note: If you ever go to Bali, don't miss this drive. You pass fresh fruit markets, adorable mountain craft towns and scenes like this.
Flash forward to Michelle and me at a motorcycle rental shop in Ubud where we asked the guy behind the counter if he was SURE we didn’t have to actually know how to ride a motorcycle to take one out for the day. He swore up and down that it would be fine and sent us out to the road for a test drive. And by “us” I mean Michelle, since there was no way I was going to be our driver/navigator. Bad idea all around.
In order to appreciate what follows you should know a few things about our girl Michelle:
1) She drove a pickup truck when she lived in SF (manual, of course) aaaand parallel parked it on busy, hilly
2) She worked as a public school teacher for at-risk, special ed youth in both SF and NYC (read: she is no sissy).
3) She more than held her own on the co-ed pool team at Murios (a shady bar in the Haight where you very well might just get your ass kicked for looking too happy).
Case successfully made for: Michelle Is Pretty Much a Badass.
With all these factors working in her favor, she received a 2-minute moto driving lesson (see above pic) that basically consisted of learning how to brake. Afterwards, the very, very handsome driving teacher sent her around the block on her own. Meanwhile, I tried to remember if my travel insurance covered motorcycle accident injuries. Ummmm...did it?
Twenty minutes later (during which I planned out the explanatory email I'd be sending to the above mentioned travel insurance company) my long-lost friend returned, white as a ghost, and announced that we would not be exploring Ubud via moto. Apparently, navigating through traffic on the “wrong” side of narrow roads while mounted on a Balinese moto required the ferocity of a Hell's Angel, one baby step above Ms. Michelle on the badass spectrum. Luckily, the cute driving instructor was free for the day, and willing to cart us around in his jeep. Done.