July 21, 2014

Probolinggo, Indonesia

Today sucked. I got up early to catch a train from Yogyakarta to either Probolinggo or Surabaya, but the morning trains were booked solid – the first time I encountered this in Indonesia, I suppose I should start buying train tickets in advance as I did in China. So I took the city bus to the main bus terminal and started looking for a bus to Probolinggo, but I was told the bus to Denapasar (Bali) – which usually stops in Probolinggo – would not come until later and that I should take a bus to Surabaya and then get on a bus directly to Probolinggo from there. In retrospect, I’m quite certain I was lied to about this; I am certain I was lied to about the time it would take to travel (I was told six, then eight hours – it took eleven hours) and I was lied to about the price (I was told 82,000 rupiahs, then once the bus departed, I was told 105,000 rupiahs, I then found out it was actually 95,000 rupiahs and the 105,000 price quote included some cheap meal which I declined). Anyways, the lesson learned is do not travel with EKA CEPAT bus company – they fucking suck and they gave me my first truly negative experience in Indonesia, which until today had been a rather pleasant and enjoyable country. So, after eleven hours of sitting on a bus, I made it to Surabaya. Once there I found the bus to Probolinggo and traveled for two and a half hours even though I was told it would only take two hours (granted thirty more minutes is nothing, but frankness and honesty in business practices is what every company should strive for since it is less likely to piss off your customers. The lesson learned here (as well as in the Philippines) is to usually add two hours on top of whatever travel time a bus company gives you; this will provide you with more realistic expectations. It soon became dark and most people were trying to sleep except the woman sitting next to me who talked on her two cell phones almost the entire trip; when one call ended, the other phone rang and she had another conversation, that one ended, and she went back to her other cell phone to strike up a new conversation; she then slept for about thirty minutes before waking up and using her cell phone to talk to someone else; it was actually kind of comical, though also sad. Finally we reached Probolinggo and I walked to the nearest decent looking hotel, got a room, ate dinner (Nasi Goreng (“fried rice”) and fried chicken with tomatoes and onions covered in a sauce – rather tasty, but the center of the chicken was frozen – lucky for my health, it was precooked). I then went to my room, watched some of ‘Anaconda’ (there was not much else on in English) and then went to sleep.

No pictures for today.

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