Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Yet another adventure in transportation!

Another adventure in transportation

After months of traveling I've had many different experiences with transportation. There was the slow boat in Laos, the public transportation adventure in Jakarta, and who can forget the confusing train ride from Lop Buri to Chiang Mai? That being said the journey I'm about to describe to you was one of longest and most grueling trips I've had to date.

Part 1: Leave Labuanbajo via ferry for Sambawa. The ferry was suppose to leave at 8am, but this is Indonesia people. We left at 915. It was a long 7.5 hour ferry listening to loud Indonesian tv/music sitting in a hard metal chair. All while watching a toddler throw plastic bags and bottles off the side of the boat and take regular drags from his grandfathers cigarette. No I am not kidding. Yes, the toddler was smoking! At first I thought I was hallucinating, because who let's a 2 yo smoke?! Oddly enough, upon my return to Bali I checked in with CNN and there happened to be an article about toddlers smoking in Indonesia. Apparently it isn't an uncommon occurrence. I was sitting with a few other travelers and we tried to explain that smoking for anyone, at any age is bad, but especially for children. We got blank stares in return. Okkkk...
Part 2: 1.5 hour mini-bus ride through Sambawa. Sambawa is one of the poorest places in Indonesia and home to Mount Tambora. A volcano that when it erupted in 1815 is the most massive natural disaster ever known to man. The locals called that year The summer without sun.
Part 3: A mere 9 hours into the journey and my ass has already gone numb. Guess what I got do now? Get on the "exclusive" overnight bus for a short 14 hour ride! My bottom cushion wasn't attached to anything and it kept sliding off and taking me with it. Road conditions in Indonesia aren't exactly great either. I was surprised my head didn't hit the ceiling a few times, we bounced around so much. At 3am we stopped for what else? Dinner of course! Where everyone stares at the crazy tourists who for some reason don't want to eat rice at 3 am. Weirdos. This ride also included an hour long ferry ride, where they forced us out of the bus. Even though all I wanted was to sleep without being bounced around for an hour. Who needs sleep? Not me, no sir.
Part 4: After an incredibly frustrating encounter with bemo drivers, ended up taking a taxi from Mataram to Lembar harbor.
Part 5: Another 5 hour ferry that I managed to sneak onto before it left, late, of course.
Part 6: Arrived in Padangbai and got on yet another Fing bus! A short hour and half ride to Ubud, my final destination.

The final counts:
Left Labuanbajo at 8am on 9/17. Arrived in Ubud at 530pm on 9/8.
Total: 33.5 hours!
3 ferries
1 mini-bus
1 taxi
2 buses
1 motorbike ride (to my hotel from the bus station)

1 1.5L bottle of water
1 small coke (for the inevitable nausea that this duration of travel creates)
Countless cookies
1 pancake
1/2 bowl of noodle soup (I was absolutely desperate for some "real" food at this point)
1 banana leaf package of Nasi Goreng (fried rice)
1 mini pineapple
2 toilet breaks

Two days later and my tailbone is still recovering! But I made it! And in one piece and with only one small tantrum in Mataram to the rude bemo drivers. All I can say is that I'm really really really happy to be in Ubud for the next 6 days!

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