Bemo nightmare!

Trip Start Sep 30, 2005
Trip End Sep 29, 2006

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Flag of Indonesia  ,
Friday, July 7, 2006

Even LP says ruteng is a mad place!. The bemo mafia own the town and you cant go anywhere without using them! We got the big bus from bajawa to ruteng cos it made a convenient stop over before heading off to Labuanbajo (beach/islands) and a guy we met had told us that Ruteng had some nice looking paddy fields etc around that were worth a look. So we thought OK we'll overnight it there.
The big bus dropped us about 4km outside of town, theyre not allowed in to town by the bemo drivers. You then have to get off the bus and on to a rattly old bemo, along with everyone else, their huge piles of luggage and chickens...then off for the last 4km in the heap of junk which will cost a disproportionately large sum of money. Even the locals get shafted like this, its not a tourist thing. Once in town the bemo driver will zigzag around the town, in no logical route til eventually everyone is finally dropped off. The last 4km took about 40 mins!!! CRAZY!!!
We walked up the hill next morning to look out over the rice fields, and yes it was pretty! Certainly worth the hour it took to get there.
Back in town we had to get back out to the 'bus station'(4km away) by bemo to catch the bus to Labuanbajo. There are bemo's everywhere, but they seem to just drive aimlessly around in circles. People get on, then just sit and wait til the bemo gets somewhere near where they want to be, then they get off. This can take anywhere from 5 to 50 mins, its totally unpredictable. NO schedule, no route, no sense! We got on with over an hour to spare before the bus was due to leave the station. Then the farce began. We went round and round the town over and over....but we were the only people on it! there was no reason not to go to the bus station! they werent dropping anyone else off, or picking anyone else up! After 30 mins we were getting mightily pissed off! Numerous gestures to the driver to take us to the station, were met with a grin, but no action! ( you get a lot of grins but no action in Indonesia, its not that they dont understand, its that they think they can do it when they feel like it, and you can just wait!!)Eventually he took us to an office of one of the bus companies in town! We went off it! Even the guy at the office was looking confused as to why a bemo would bring ANYONE there, let alone tourists. He told them we needed the station (as we had told him countless times) and he grinned and said 'ah, OK!' we eventually got to the bus station after 45 mins! Arriving there, the driver acted like he'd achieved some amazing fete, and we should be impressed in some way, he told us to wait in the bemo(?)while he looked around the bus station frantically, God knows what he thought he was doing...what a nutter. We got out and walked off.
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Hans on

Ruteng is now better than you were there hahaha.

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