April 03 2020 Friday at 08:20 AM

Gareng's Travelling Wall of Death

There are certain thing in life that you hear about, maybe even see photos of, but could never see yourself actually witnessing first hand. 'Tembok Kematian' or 'Wall of Death' is one of these events...A show I had heard tales, seen pictures of, but I thought was destined to elude me.As me and Theo cruised the streets of Jogja, continuing our quest for a bicycle frame maker, we caught word that the carnival was in town. A once a year traveling utopia of the strange and wonderful, and it was in town the same time as us!
(more after the jump)
So last night, we braved the rain and ventured into the depths of the south-side, searching for the lights and sounds of our destination. A Ferris wheel sticking up amongst a flurry of lights and shadows pointed us in the right direction, and before we knew it we were there.
Theo mentioned that there might be a wall of death within carnival we were now exploring, which made my eyes light up and gave me a mission. After trudging through muddy walkways and receiving conflicting directions, we found it. We ventured inside to escape the rain and to talk with the everyday dare devils. Gareng was the main man of the operation...Covered in tattoos and laden with quirks, he has traveled for 25 years with this 6 ton structure, reaching the furthest corners of Indonesia. He no longer rides but was quick to whip his sons into the saddle to give us a show. As we were being ushered out the arena I quickly asked if I could take photos from inside, to which the answer was...."why not?" So the door was shut, and there I was, standing right in the middle of a 'Wall of Death.' His sons, amused with my presence, jumped on their bikes and kick started the wailing two strokes into life.
From there things went very fast very quickly...The boys circled above my head, pulling off maneuvers that left me wondering why I was in there, and why they weren't wearing helmets. They wizzed around for a couple mintues or so, putting on a great show and gettin' nothing but smiles from Theo. As they slowed down and returned to Terra Firma, I asked them why no protection was involved...."not look good" was the answer received, which I suppose is fair enough.
We hung around for a while after, talked shit and shared drinks 'n' stories...by the way I'm sure Dutch Courage has quite the part to play in this whole en-devour...and to that, I salute them. As crazy as they are they are some of the coolest people i have had the chance to meet!