Still trying to get to Lombok
8 Feb 2009
|Yesterday I said my farewells to Kirsti and Josh as they left Ubud to catch a plane to Kuala Lumpur. I then sat around daydreaming about hot running water, sheets that covered the mattress, flushing toilets and other such mythical conveniences that would be awaiting me in Lombok as I had already arranged accommodation at the Sheraton there for the week.
I boarded the shuttle bus to head the harbour and there in the bus is Birgit, a woman I did my volunteer migrant tutoring course with last year. It was very random! The drive went for about 1.5hrs and I spent much of the drive chatting about books to Canadian, Shannon, who was heading to Candidasa. She was in need of a Bali Lonely Planet, which I happened to have, and I was in need of a big thick novel, which she had so we happily swapped our books and settled in to read.
When I got to the harbour at Padangbai the driver told me that the ferry was cancelled for the day so he would show me some accommodation. I didn’t believe him so I demanded proof of the ferry cancellation. After a big shouting match between the driver and I as to the inconvenience of not having told me BEFORE we left Ubud, the driver called the Police to try to make me pay an exorbitant amount of money for the trip I had just taken. We ended up coming to an agreement on the price to be paid and I stormed off to the ferry master. Well, the driver was right. The ferry WAS cancelled and had been for the last 2 days due to 6m waves. I wandered around aimlessly for awhile in what had to be at lest 40C heat until I thought I was going to melt into a puddle.
I didn’t have much choice as to what to do so fortunately found a fantastic place to stay, Padangbai Beach Bungalows and got an air conditioned room for about $14. It was the nicest place I have stayed so far!
I spent the rest of the afternoon in the pool trying to reduce my core body temperature from near spontaneous combustion.
Given that the line of trucks waiting to get the ferry to Lombok was stretching for kilometres out of Padangbai I figured the ferry must be leaving the following day and the tour agency man ASSURED me that the 9am ferry always leaves regardless, so I slept sound in the knowledge that tomorrow I would be on my way to Lombok.
So I got up this morning and headed out to the harbour to triple check the ferry time. Alas…ferry is again cancelled. Then began a ridiculous rigmarole of trying to find someway to get out of this one horse town and over to Lombok. It became apparent that unless I wanted to sit and wait there all week my only option was to go back to Denpasar and fly to Lombok. I booked a flight through the shonkiest tour agency operator I have ever seen and a shuttle bus back to Denpasar. Sounds simple but it was far from it. It involved multiple time changes, $$ alterations and in the end I was just exhausted. I were so sceptical that the shuttle bus would even arrive that I took all my gear back to the tour agency and sat there for the hour before it was due so that they would realise I wasn't leaving until they got me a way out of Padangbai.
When the transport arrived turns out they had put me in a car with a Dutch man who had paid 200,000 rupiah for a private transport to Denpasar and I had only paid 45,000. Naturally the Dutch man was quite indignant but graciously allowed me to share his car but demanded most of his money back from the driver.
It took about 2 hours to get to the airport and it seems that my ticket is genuine and I really will get to Lombok today! There is still another 3 hours til the flight though so anything is possible...
Oh and my flight ticket says "For safety reasons, carriage of certain goods in your baggage is forbidden: MATCHES, LIGHTERS, GAS, PANTS, BLEACH. So I am hoping that I can smuggle my PANTS in without being arrested :P