We broke the rules twice (and paid cash bribes twice) to catch sunset at Dreamland Beach in Bali.  Thanks to the determination of my Indonesian friend, Stefani, and her innocent face, we got to witness a dramatic sky of blue, pink-orange and a band of gold before the sun plunged downward into the water at the horizon. 

As soon as Stefani took a turn out of the wrong lane (rather than continue and re-route), we were pulled over by the police.  She instructed the rest of us to keep quiet and followed the officer out of the car.  When she climbed back in, she blinked a few times out of relief and squealed with delight.

“I gave him some money so he wouldn’t give me a ticket.  He wanted more, but I said I didn’t have any more because I’m just a student.  Then he asked me to ask all of you for some more money, but I told him ‘They won’t even give me one cent!'” She put her hand up to her mouth and giggled, pulled back into the street and continued to drive towards destination Dreamland Beach.

We were close to the beach when we encountered the entrance to a parking lot with a sign that read “No vehicles.”  Without hesitation, Stefani drove up the path.  A few minutes later we clamored out and raced along a small stream towards the beach.  We joined a few other spectators and drank in the view before finding a seat at an outdoor restaurant as the great expanse overhead shifted to a dark blue and the stars peeked out.

On our way out, we were stopped by a man in the parking lot and paid another small bribe, which was no problem because the sunset view was priceless.