Driving to Pemuteran

Trip Start Mar 13, 2009
Trip End Jul 01, 2009

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Flag of Indonesia  , Bali,
Saturday, May 2, 2009

Suzanne and I headed out the door by 7am for our jalan jalan- walk around. We wanted to go on the "rice field hike," that was sketched onto one of our maps. The start was right where the start of my normal run/hike is, so we naturally assumed that it was the same trail. Lots of tourists go on this trail and I've never taken the road all the way and rice fields surround it, so there was no question it was the exact same trail as on our map. We started up and passed the farthest point I had been and passed by art galleries. The art galleries were on the map as well. We must be going in the right way. We continued walking straight, stopping now and then to take pictures of the mountains and rice fields and ducks swimming in the water and cows grazing the side of the road and a man climbing a tree to fetch the young coconuts. The trail led into a road which we continued on, motorbikes speeding past us. We kept on waiting for the curve to the right, since the hike was supposed to be U-shaped. The curve wasn't coming. And on our map, there was no real road that we were supposed to be on. Especially not any with motorbikes and the such. We realized we must not be on the same trail that we intended to go on and we had to turn around. Looking at the map more closely, which I should have done beforehand, we realized we were on the wrong side of the river. We weren't even close to where we thought we were or where we intended to hike this morning. It didn't really matter that we didn't make it to the official "rice field walk." We walked along the rice fields in the mountains regardless. And it gave me the opportunity to bring a camera and finally take pictures of where I do my morning run. I wish it hadn't been so cloudy this morning. The pictures do no justice to the view seen in person. We weren't lost, we just weren't on the trail we thought we were. It was easy getting back, we just turned around and followed the one road. Thankfully there were no other roads we could have even turned on. The two and a half hour hike was over before we even knew it, with Oreo running after us back home.

We went to class and taught Grade 2, a class where half the kids are extremely rowdy and the other half don't say a word and just sit there quietly, even when you try and ask them a question. We went over parts of the body and tried to ask them simple questions like how are you and how old are you, but we were pulling teeth. There was one girl who was smart- you can pick those kids out immediately. The class didn't go well... we were ready for our weekend.

Our plan was to leave around 12:30 to head up to Pemuteran for the night. It would be a group of us: Suzanne and me of course, Franzi, Tamara (another German girl from Gianyar who only talked with Franzi and they would only speak in German), and another new girl Marlane from Holland. After tonight, we would head over to Lovina for Saturday night. Pemuteran is famous for their snorkeling. It has been a research center where they have attached electrical currents to the coral reefs, which has sparked their growth remarkably. I heard about the place from someone I met out on the Gilis and she raved about the results of this experiment with the electric currents, saying it was the most beautiful coral reefs with the most fish she has ever seen. And Pemuteran is right by the island Menjancan, the island I've been dying to go scuba diving around, known for one of the top 5 scuba places in the world. Of course, my plan was to just go snorkeling when we got up there today and then scuba all day on Saturday before heading back to Lovina on Saturday early evening. The bad part about Pemuteran was that it would be a three hour drive. An hour and a half up to Lovina area and then another hour and half west. We all agreed it would be worth it. And if we left by 12:30, we would get there by 3:30, plenty of time to do an afternoon snorkel and find a place to stay.

When our driver came to pick us up a half hour late, I was already frustrated with him. He did not know English at all, but finally figured out where we wanted to go when we showed him a map. He said it would take about three hours. He complained how far it was. We negotiated a price with him. At first, he was being ridiculous requesting around $80. We easily got it down to $50, $10 per person. We started heading out in the car in a different direction than I had previously taken to Lovina, but what was I to say? I just thought he knew a better shortcut across to Pemuteran, connecting a triangle with the hypotenuse. When he started stopping and asking people on the streets directions, we were getting quite annoyed he didn't know the way. He tried to tell us we should stay in Lovina and that he had never been to Pemuteran and didn't know the way. We kept on telling him we wanted to go to Pemuteran. After three hours of sitting in the car, we were only in Lovina!!! Absolutely ridiculous! This drive took me an hour and a half the time I came up here before. I have no clue what way he went, but it was completely in the wrong direction to get to Lovina. When I realized how much extra time was wasted just to get to Lovina, I was absolutely furious! Lovina is a big tourist stop, a place that any driver should know how to get to easily. It took him twice as long to get here! We almost thought about stopping, but decided to continue on. I knew it was an hour and half longer to Pemuteran and with this driver, probably another two hours. I hated wasting my day in the car with someone who didn't know how to get around his island. I argued with him when he stopped to ask directions again. I would never ever take him again! We've used him before and he was pretty bad the first time also. I was pissed because I would miss my day snorkeling. He was taking my precious time of my weekend from me.

By the time we got Pemuturan, the sun was already going down and we had to find a place to stay. Whenever we go on these weekend trips, we just find a place once we get there and its usually never a problem. Of course, we ran into problems here. It seemed like nothing was working for us. The smaller and less expensive places were booked and the nicer places were too expensive. We went around to about five different places and none of us wanted to make a decision about what to do. We were thinking of just staying at an expensive place since we were tired from the long drive and looking around at a ton of places without anything working out. And yes the "expensive" place would really only be about $25 each a night, not really that bad. But, our driver did say he knew one other place, so we decided to try one last place.

We got to the Juwaba home stay hotel and it was perfect. It was a perfect budget price for all of us (about $10 each), breakfast included like most every place, the rooms were clean, the beds were freshly made, and the hospitality of the people was more than pleasant enough. After our long drive and our trouble finding a place to stay, everything worked out. And even though I did hate our driver, he was taking the time to drive us around while we looked for places to stay without bugging us about how long that was taking. In the end, we had a wonderful place to put our heads down for the night after grabbing a fresh dinner of fish by the ocean.
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