Bus journey from hell - "jus fo mo ours"

Trip Start Sep 10, 2010
Trip End Feb 19, 2011

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Where I stayed
on some shabby mini bus

Flag of Indonesia  , Java,
Thursday, October 28, 2010

Its always a bad idea to start a journey in the early evening - we normally try to leave late morning as that gives you time to wake up, regret that last G&T the night before, shower, breakfast and head off, arriving somewhere else later that night.

So when we only had the option of leaving Bali on the 7pm bus, heading off with an unknown agenda, we sort of knew it would be tough. The buses on Bali have not been great, when it’s a tourist route where you have no option, they tend to stick on dirty old basic buses. So we were delighted when the modern, clean, comfortable bus showing 007 movies arrived to pick us up. It was 2 hours to Gilimanuk, the western port from where ships leave for Java. We boarded a great little ferry where everything from a massage, to karaoke, to kids toys and cheap jewellery was on offer, plus some spicy rice and chicken dish served in a brown paper bag. Was less than 1.00 for two and gosh was it spicy - when in Bali and eating non tourist food, be really sure before you order “spicy please.” It can be so hot that it feels like you have a cleft pallet at the end of the meal, but good grub. Ship only takes an hour to get to Java and the coach travels with us. We then had a 5 hour hike to Probolingo, the base form where we could then catch a local mini bus to Cemoro Lewang, the village on the edge of the first volcano we wanted to visit. The deal is normally that you check into a hotel at 3am and then overnight there and next dawn get up and hike to the rim of the volcano. By luck, when we got off the Bali bus after the 8 hour journey, we found an agent who offered a deal of a trip from the bus station direct to the volcano region and back, so that it could connect to a bus to Yogyakarta. This would save us two nights in Cemoro Lewang where the crap hotels charge 300k IDR a night, whereas in Bali for ok hotels we were paying 120k IDR. So, we dashed off to the volcano region, caught the sun rise and then climbed the second volcano (Gurung Bromo) which is very active and was pumping out huge plumes of sulphurous clouds.

Back onto mini bus and jeeps, we headed back down from 3000m to sea level to catch the bus to Yogyakarta, which should have taken 7 hours. By the time we boarded this bus, we had been on the road 15 hours.

The luxury bus we had booked turned out to be a 12 seated mini bus with basic aircon and a slow slow driver who did everything possible to hit every bump in the road.

7 hours into the drive I asked him when we would arrive - smiling as usual and laughing away to himself he replies “jus fo mo ours” and keeps chuckling away. I asked Cheu what he said and he translated for me Four More Hours. I was already rocking in my seat by this point and mentally planning all sorts of options we could take, and of course there was none short of finding a “beam me up scotty” kiosk at the side of the road. I should explain that Java does not have freeways/motorways. In fact, they don’t even have town bypasses, just one long 700 km road that passes through every single town and village the whole length of Java. That’s a long way to be in a constant stream of traffic, bouncing around and every bone in your body aching, being driven by a smiling friendly mad man who just keeps saying “fo no ours” and chuckling away to himself.

In the end, of course we arrived battered, bruised, knackered and pissed off - thank god for the luxury and free upgrade that Melia Hotels gave us - the Spanish hotel chain is a life saver.

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Maria on

Just love Cheus face climbing that hill!!, CLASSIC!!!

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