But in Africa bureaucrats are usually too proud to accept a bribe, something I admire when I’m not the one being arrested.
— Tahir Shah, In Search of King Solomon's Mines

On my last night in Bali, Aileen, Frenchie (Tony) and I headed to Ubud. We stayed in a Balinese villa out of town. It was incredibly good value at $20AUD a night and with its own courtyard, kitchen and day lounges it was the most relaxing and chilled place I have stayed on this trip. Next morning we woke up early. Aileen was planning more time in Bali to sort out her bike issues while Frenchie and I planned to head to Java. 

We said goodbye, smiled, hugged and both wished each other well on our journeys. I have a sneaky suspicion that we will ride together again one day. 

Leaving Bali we blasted North to take the top road. 

Leaving Bali we blasted North to take the top road. 


Tony and I planned to take the highroad across Bali. We motored out. The Enfield was running well and unsurprisingly Frenchie’s twist and go was running perfectly. Heading north through the small villages and rolling green rice fields, a number of cars started to flash their lights at us.  There was a police road block - 3 of Bali’s finest in well ironed uniforms smoking by the side of the road. We had heard this road was notorious for grabbing tourists and charging them for not having an international licence. I had just hit the ATM and had all of my weekly cash just sitting inside my wallet.  Normally I only carry a very small amount of cash in my wallet for safety reasons and so that bribing is more straight forward.   While I am completely legitimate, I knew that if they checked out my wallet there was no way that I would able to avoid paying a large bribe for whatever frivolous reason came to their mind. 

They waved us over. 

Tony pulled off his helmet and wished them good morning in Bahasa.  From there the conversation continued but they were speaking far too fast for me to understand more than a  few simple words to follow. Tony pointed to me and to my bike, with a large smile. They checked out my Australian number plate. Tony then looked at me and then whispered in rapid English “make a phone call ... to anyone”. 

I pulled out my phone and looked for the number of the hotel I had stayed in the night before. Tony started talking to the police again. 

Tony must have said the right thing because the police suddenly waved us on. Tony quickly fired up his bike. I kicked the Enfield into life and took off after him. 

We stopped for coffee a short time later and I asked him what had happened. 

He said the police wanted a tourist fee for us to pass through. He said that he had already paid it last time he was coming through and didn't want to pay it again. They said ok but his friend (me) would have to pay. He pointed out that my bike was a foreign registered bike (which is why they checked out the plates). He then told them that his friend (me) would be happy to call his politician friend in Denpasar to sort out any communication issues.  That was when he told me to get on the phone. 

The police wanted to avoid any external communication outside of their well ironed, smoking circle and decided to wave us on. 

Sneaky Frenchie - I paid for his coffee after that.