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Monday, July 16, 2012

IT WAS GODS WILL YOU GOT ROBBED, SO SUCK IT

SENGGIGI, LOMBOK POLICE

While out wandering around thinking "Why did I come to this waste of a town?" I ran into the local police.  They were doing motorcycle checks in front of the police station.  Many, but not all, of the motorcycles were pulled over to check to see if they had their paperwork in order.  Sometimes, someone would hurriedly try to pull on a motorcycle helmet to claim they had had it on all of the time.  Since the people doing this weren't very bright, they ended up doing it about four meters away from the police while they were being watched.  Since I was looking for a hostel I'd read about on wikitravel, I headed over there to see if I could find out directions.

Since I didn't have a motorcycle, the police were very friendly to me.   I got invited to eat with them but since I had just eaten I had to politely refuse.

I inquired if they ever pulled over tourists.  They said they did though I've not seen it.  Some of the tourists I've spoken to said they had been pulled over in the past but a 20,000 IDR note enclosed in the paperwork made the problems go away.  A cheap bribe indeed.  That would be like bribing a cop with a pack of cigarettes.

The police told me they looked for an international drivers license though I got the impression that any license would probably do.



MOMMA THROWS A PARTY

Momma threw some sort party.  I had no clue what it was for.  The thought of free food and alcohol got me there at the specified time.

Unfortunately, during the party it seemed to be some sort of 'Christian thing'.  They had a few songs punctuated with prayers and impassioned sermons - all naturally in Indonesian.  You can only keep an interested look on your face for so long before you lapse into a 'where is my food, goddammit' boredom.   While it was nice they asked us to come, I was only seconds away from plugging in my earplugs and firing up my MP3.  It would have made the songs I couldn't understand perhaps better.  Imagining Momma playing her guitar and singing 'Smack My Bitch Up' during some sort of Christian revival would have revived me!

I settled for taking notes in my book.  I'm not sure what they thought I was writing but it kept me from trying to sing along using my own words.

While people were busy worshiping the Christian god, several of the rooms got burglarized.  

Momma didn't seem too upset - it was probably 'God's Will' and nobody can ever understand what that fickle bastard is up to anyway.

It didn't look like a professional job but the work of kids.  One nice German couple had left their door open and had a bag and wallet removed.  These items were later found on the other side of a wall.  This emphasizes the need for broken glass and barbed wire atop walls.

My room was undisturbed.  In addition to using my own lock to bar the door, I had my pac-safe on and possessions attached to the bars in the windows.  When I first heard about the break in, I was more curious than afraid I'd been robbed yet again.

Eventually, the food got brought out and quickly devoured.  It was good.  Basic and plentiful.  I can live with that.



LOMBOK

Lombok seemed more 'primitive' than Bali.  I would guess that the further east you go, the more primitive it gets.  This may appeal to younger, more hardcore tourists but I find myself demanding wifi too much.

I had an interesting conversation with an expat.  DISCLAIMER:  I am not saying I agree with some or any of his views, I am merely reporting them.  If you don't like it, remember YOU hit the big red button to get into this blog - it didn't just pop up on your computer like a porn advertisement.

The expat I was talking to seemed to be from Australia.  Like many of his countrymen, he'd probably been here to party at one time and taken a fancy to the country.  He and several of his friends had moved here and all set up houses to live.  His friends had all sold their houses in Lombok and moved to other parts of Indonesia.  He was currently working on fixing up his house so he could sell it and move to a different part of Indonesia as well.  I asked him why.

He told me that there is a certain level of iodine needed for brain development that is suppose to be within the soil.  Lombok doesn't have it.  He said this is why the residents of Lombok were unusually stupid.  He and his friends were eventually so frustrated by the stupidity of the locals they decided to move to other parts of Indonesia where the people were more clever.

The reason we were standing there chatting is because we were both waiting to use the ATM.  As he was telling me of the stupidity of the locals, I was watching two ladies attempting to figure out how to get money from the ATM.  They seemed confused and frustrated.  Both of them had cell phones out and had used their 'phone a friend' option to try to figure out how to get money from the big box.  I was told this sort of thing can go on for twenty or thirty minutes and still not result in them getting money.

I thanked him and went off to find a different ATM.


The entire culture of Lombok seems designed to seperate tourists from their money.  For example, in Bali if I asked someone where to make a call to a local number, they would simply hand me their phone.  At the place I was staying, I had to pay 10,000 IDR and had a guard placed to make sure the call was short.  Amazing.

Despite their desire to get money from the tourists, I couldn't find anyone competent to book me tickets from Air Asia.  I knew it was time to return to Bali.



BACK TO BALI

Before I went to check out a bit of Lombok, I knew I'd probably have to return to Bali.  The airport (DPS) is a huge gateway in and out of Indonesia.

Despite what the people tell you, the ferry time is roughly four to six hours.  I include the 'oh, the ferry is full you must wait for the next' times and such.  From Sengiggi to Ubud the time is increased by three hour bus rides on either side.  They say it will be less but the waiting, competence (or lack thereof) and traffic all play big factors in the actual travel time.

The only phone call I made (or have made in a long time, come to think of it) was to Dani who assured me my usual room would be waiting for me.  What a great relief after Lombok.

After a couple days in Bali, I can say that all I've been doing is purchasing tickets for Philippines and trying to research.  That's really about it.



THOUGHTS ON INDONESIA

For SE Asia, it's a bit expensive.  Sure, if you want to live at the very basic level and spend a lot of time in a bug infested room sucking on a bottle of water, you can live cheaply - but no real 'quality of life'.  It's pretty beautiful but you're paying for it.  The people are friendly and I'm glad I came.  But it's not cheap.  For a couple vacationing and doing stuff, you can very quickly get into the normal $50-$100 USD/day range they say to allocate for vacation money.  No, I don't know who 'they' are.  Only 'they' know who they are.  I am not one of 'they' though I could be one of 'them'.  There is just no telling.

How fast can Logan turn a couple thoughts on Indonesia into a mad rant?  PDQ.

I remember before I came to Indonesia, I had people telling me they were able to live here for $10 USD per day.  They either did long term rent on a place, lived in a ditch, had shitty memories or just lied.  Ten bucks might cover your rent.

Will I come back to Indonesia?  Possibly.  I think if I had to do it again, I'd go see Java.  Still don't know if they'd have friggin wifi though.



COSTS

Local call, payment to greedy people, 10,000 IDR

2 comments:

  1. Speaking (not that you were) of overly packed backpacks...
    http://gizmodo.com/5926598/the-amazing-contents-of-steve-wozniaks-travel-backpack

    ReplyDelete
  2. Two iphones is a bit silly. Also, binoculars are illegal to carry in some countries.

    Laser pointers (unless you are a business person doing a business meeting while you are on the road) are absolutely stupid to take.

    Cigarette lighter USB? Stupid. One would think if this person traveled any length of time they would come to their senses. Perhaps they have the hording mental illness to some degree?

    ReplyDelete

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