Mad Max – Alive and Well
Remember Mel Gibson in the classic Mad Max series? Well, do away with the violence, the purple prose and weaponry – then add a touch of romance and simmer gently in Ubudian sublimity. When ready, garnish with Balinese smiles. What do you get? I Wayan Ekayana, the charismatic, enigmatic and truly entertaining young man who is the leader of the Dewata Scooter Club of Bali.
I bumped into a young artist from Sumatra who was driving what looked like a scooter designed and built by inmates of One Flew Over the Cuckooâ€™s Nest. The truth is I bumped into him with my jeep. No one was injured. We sorted things out by sharing a beer at my watering hole. He turned out to be a friend of Wayan, who built the crazy contraptions on two wheels, and he arranged for me to meet him at Lidya Art Gallery the next day.
There are around 152 such bikes in Ubud alone, ranging from original Vespas, to chopper, sport and tricycles. Bikes are modified into trendy pieces of artwork on wheels. The scooters, if this is the apt term, which look like moving garbage, took my fancy and I asked Wayan to bring one into the art gallery so that I could take a picture.
â€œThese scooters are works of art,â€ he says. â€œHow much do they cost, you ask? Art does not have a price. It is with much love that we build these scooters.
â€œAs we drive along the road, anything that looks aesthetic we put on the vehicle – from scuba diversâ€™ flippers, to rusty mesh, nuts and bolts, used ammunition, horns of a cow and old number plates.
â€œThe police really donâ€™t bother us. I mean, what will they get impounding our scooters?
â€œI travelled around Indonesia on this scooter for 42 days. My wife didnâ€™t mind. My brothers of the other clubs across Indonesia gave me food and shelter wherever I went.
â€œAnd one thing I say to you brother, tell your readers of The Bali Times that whenever they come to Ubud, they should stay in Balinese homestays as they will learn all about culture here.
â€œI feel sad that the ricefields are being converted to villas and houses. The ricefields are part of our culture. If they go, then we will all go.â€
Well you heard it from Wayan. You can call him on 0361-8586660 to get enlightened. (MU/BT)Filed under: , Travel & Culture