Sunday, October 19, 2008

Probolinggo to Kaibukbuk Bali

From Probolinggo I was headed to a beach town in Bali called Kalibukbuk a small beach town in the area known as Lovina. It took 2 busses and alot more time than I thought to get to Ketapang where the ferry leaves for Bali. From the bus station it was a short ride in a shared little van to the ferry the problem was just waiting until the little van was packed. I can safely say that they do not waste space in public transport in Java.

I caught the ferry and reached Java just as the sky opened up and it was sort of like walking under a waterfall. I did not really know where the bus station was so when I was approached by a guy on a motorbike offering me a ride at what I though was an OK price I got on. He drove me across the street. Based on distance it was one of the most expensive rides I have taken in a long time but oh well. On arriving at the bus station they kept telling me the last bus to Kalibukbuk had left at 5 and I did not understand this since it was only 4:10 until they told me it is an hour later in Bali than in Java.

They took me over to a minibus and it wanted 300,000 to take me to Kalibukbuk. I did not want to pay this much so figured I would just go back over to Java for the night and comeback early to catch a bus the following day. I told someone this and he told me there was a hotel close by so paid another motorbike too much for a short ride and got a room for 50,000 for the night. The room was not very nice but was OK for 1 night and I really did not want to take a ferry back to Java.

I decided to go get something to eat and there was one of these street stands selling chicken and rice. I managed to order and watched as someone else ate the same as me and paid. I have learned to watch when people pay to get an idea of what the price should be. After I finished eating and ask to pay the lady said 30,000. I just stood and stared at her because this was really a high price for street food and was sure the other guy did not pay this. She went and got a man and I figured this might get ugly but all he said was 15,000. I had not said a word and the price dropped in half. I should know to always get the price first but when I can’t speak the language I just have to hope people are honest but around tourist areas it is buyer beware most of the time.

The following morning I was walking in the direction of the bus station when I saw a bus with the sign for Singaraja. I thought I need to go to Singaraja and then catch another bus to get to Kalibukbuk but I should have looked at the map better because Kalibukbuk was on the way to Singaraja. At least I saw this on the map prior to passing it. The guy that was collecting money seemed really nice and helped me with my bag when I got on the bus and also when I moved to another seat with more leg room. He also seemed to speak great English at least until it was time for me to pay. I usually just guess how much I think it should be from watching other pay and past experience of bus travel. I thought it should be around 20,000 for the distance I was going to go. When he wanted money from me I pulled out 20,000 and handed it to him. His face changed like I had just insulted his mother and he no longer spoke any English. I said how much and he kept talking in Indonesian to me and seemed upset and I just kept saying I don’t understand and handed him a pen and a piece of paper. He wrote down 30,000. I pulled out 10,000 and gave it to him. Once again he spoke English. Later on I was eating in a local place and talking to the owner. He goes to Java to see family and I happened to ask how much he pays for a bus to get to the ferry and he told me 20,000. I told him this story and he said oh so it cost 10,000 extra for the guy to speak English. I think I now understood why he had quit speaking English to me when I had given him 20,000 it was because I hit the price right no the head and if I understood Indonesian I would have not had to pay the tourist tax.

With paying the tourist tax the guy was helpful again and stopped the bus in the center of Kalibukbuk and helped me with my bag when getting off the bus. There were some people there when I was getting off the bus and asked if I need a room and I said yes and figured I would at least look at the room. The guidebook listed places in the area at around 100,000 with air so was happily surprised when they offered me a room with air at 80,000 and it was a nice room so I ended up staying there. One of the few times I have got prices less than what is in the lonely planet and did not even have to haggle.

The first day in Kalibukbuk I just walked on the beach and tried to take a swim. The beach was really nice but not a good place to swim. The water was to shallow and lots of rock and got stuck by some sort of plant in the water. This is a picture of the Kalibukbuk beach.

While walking along the beach I noticed a crowed of people and went to see what was going on. They were holding cockfights. It was a bit hard to see because of the crowd but there was a lot of yelling and I think this had something to do with the betting and then a lot of pushing and shoving. It wasn’t until the 2nd fight that I figured out the pushing and shoving was the start of the fight and people were trying to get somewhere to see. On the second fight I sort of saw some of it and holding my camera in the air sort of got a short film of part of the fight. After the birds would fight a little bit and start to stay away from each other they would take this basket and put both birds back to back in the basket and then release them so they could not really get away from each other until one bird was dead. I did not really find this much fun to watch even though it was interesting I left after getting a good view of one of the fights so now I can say I have seen that. One more thing checked off of the list of things to do in life. Here is picture before the fight starts.

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