The Vespa is not only a scooter, but a way of life, as its slogan states and its Indonesian cultists testify.
And the prospect of repairing and reselling a vintage Vespa is still alive and well among island commuters. locals and expats alike can be seen and heard from 10 car lengths away on Indonesia’s most desolate roads, recognized by custom colors like tangerine, banana, or pressed corten steel unibodies, a single structural unit equipped with a cowling for the engine, a flat floorboard to rest their sandals or bare feet, a front fairing that shields them from the tropic wind and critters, and that sound of freedom in a slow scenic kind of way.
These iconic scooters remain the most common mode of transportation in Indonesia owing to a shortage of parking for autos and cheap operational costs. In Indonesia, Vespa is still revered as a cult vehicle since it made its way to Indonesia in the 1950’s.
On June 9th, these closely guarded and worshipped Vespas took to the streets, riders from all corners of Indonesia rode in packs, forming tight string formations and slowly made their way to the first ever Vespa World Day outside of Europe.
More than 8,500 Vespa fanatics from around the world including 16 countries attended Vespa World day in Bali Indonesia, of which only 500 participants came from abroad helping boost nomadic tourism after easing COVID-19 restrictions and the reintroduction of visa on arrival (VoA).
Participating nations included those as far-flung as the United States, Austria and other parts of the world after Vespa World Day had been postponed for two years. It was a welcome sight for those who had been waiting since the last Vespa World Day 2019.
A bigger number was anticipated, but al lot of Vespa fanatics in Europe found it difficult to go straight to Indonesia because of limited flight paths and recent price increases for airline tickets.
The Piaggio group, the Piaggio Foundation, and Bali’s own event organizer, Imagine Bali, collaborated to put on the event. The Vespa World Club® was founded to preserve the Vespa way of life, culture, and heritage. And, of course, to provide a fun and secure way to support various activities and initiatives all over the world.
However, some of the event’s foreign attendees felt that their was something noticeably absent–their vespas. Others showed up with rentals which turned out to be the most practical and authentic way to explore Bali’s sceneries, culture, and lifestyle.
It’s simple to get a rental in any part of Bali, but be mindful of the police, warned Wolfgang and Edeltraud, a young 30-something Austrian couple who had just arrived at the event. They suggested that we put 100 rupia (the standard bribe) and some extra cash in a separate pocket or beneath our seat in case we were stopped by local police, as he had been. Regrettably, they exposed all of their rupia.
Both laughed it off as they walked away and shouted together, Die Show muss weiter gehen (the show must go on). They were there from the beginning of the event on June 9th till the finish on June 12th.
There were many rare and unique Vespas coupled with lovely people as well as hot weather and zero rain until the event ended, the lack of rain was maybe due to the grip of rain-stoppers at the event known as ‘pawang hujan’ or ‘tukang terang’.
The highlight of the event were the locals, a gathering of Indonesian scooter culture who brought their mechanical contraptions made from salvaged parts, hand crafted and Mad Max approved.
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