Rusty Ferries and Rip Off Flights
Trip Start Sep 28, 2009
92Trip End Apr 22, 2011
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We got the ferry to Lombok in the morning, for some reason we were up at the crack of dawn so we had plenty of time to pack our stuff and head to the roof for breakfast. The ferry was actually quite well organised....which is unusual for S E Asia. Obviously there was no communication but since there wasn't a ferry in the port we gathered we had to wait for it to arrive. Once it came in it was unloaded really quickly and in no time we were walking down the ramp to get on. We had heard you need to make a dash for the seats or it was five hours of sitting on the rusty floor. However the ferry wasn’t very busy so seating wasn’t a problem, we had a whole row to ourselves. Unfortunately five hours of sitting on a plastic chair plays havoc with your bum cheeks, no wonder the locals all grabbed the mattresses and slept the whole journey.
We arrived in Lombok and piled into our minibus full of other smelly backpackers heading for Senggigi. It was cheaper to get a ferry and mini bus package then buy them separately so we are back on with the smelly backpackers.....us being one of them. The bus got half way towards Senggigi when it was pulled over by a police check and the drive was asked for his ownership papers. There was a bit of banter and then the drive and our guide where marched off to a hut leaving eight of us at the side of the road not know what was going on. The keys were still in the ignition so we were contemplating driving off should they not come back. They came back after 20mins with no explanation but there had obviously been money exchanged somewhere along the line to allow us to carry on with our journey.
We have booked back into the Buket Hotel, and were warmly greeted by the hotel staff who remembered us from our last stay. They really are fantastic team here they can’t do enough for you. We hired a bike the next day for a short trip into Mataram to visit the Silk Air office and confirm our flights. We knew where the offices were as we had seen them on a previous venture on the bike. The bike we hired had everything on it except petrol which after spluttering up a hill then proceeded to stop leaving us rolling down the other side. Finding Petrol here isn’t a major problem as every shop or stand sells it in glass bottles, no the problem we had and the reason Gary had to push it up the road for half a mile was they didn’t have change for our 50,000 note (£3.80). The Petrol cost 6000 and they didn’t hold enough cash to give us change. So we had to keep walking until we found a hotel and changed the BIG note up at reception.
I have to say I am very impressed with Gary’s S E Asia driving skills, he is so much more confident and relaxed in the crazy madness they call a traffic system. He had risen to the challenge of simple things like roundabouts. Give way to the right, nonsense, drive straight on and then stop and give way to the left while you are on it......totally wacko. One way streets only apply to cars....not motor bikes they can drive anywhere, roads pavements you name it. I think it’s helped that I have stopped assisting from behind, 'mind the car’, ‘look out for the horse and cart, ‘he’s braking’, that sort of thing didn’t go down to well. I think he will miss the challenge!!
We spent the day round the pool as our flight wasn’t until 7.30pm. We showered, changed and finished our packing before jumping in a cab to the airport. This was where our nice chilled day ended. According to Silk Air we were booked on the flight but they could find our ticket number on their system, and without a ticket number they can’t print a boarding card. We stood for two hours checking their computer, filing through our paper work and trying unsuccessful to phone the Virgin Atlantic offices in the UK. Our only choice if we wanted the catch this flight was to buy another ticket at £200 each....Ouch!! The next flight wasn’t until Saturday and by then we would have missed our connecting flight to Sydney.....Oh the drama!!
Four hundred pound lighter, we boarded the plane, being the last ones to book in means you get the back row of the plane and aisle seats. You can’t recline them, you’re the last person to get served drinks and food.....which meant the chicken had run out. The only good thing was Gary was determined to get his £200 worth back in booze and had one of the nicer stewardesses keeping him plied with drink though out the flight.
Once back at Jane and Jimmy’s we phoned Virgin and established that we SHOULD be able to claim the ticket money back.