...relax, starting in Senggigi.
Trip Start Mar 05, 2012
58Trip End Ongoing
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"Where is your computer?" (Cody)
"Oh, my friend have." (Friendly, helpful tour operator)
"OK. Can we have 2 tickets to Jakarta from Bali?"
"You need bike?" (Friendly, helpful motorbike rental assistant)
"Sure. How much?" (Me)
"50,000 a day."
"How much for a week?"
"40 a day."
"Nope. Too expensive. Best price - 30"
"OH, no my friend."
I head into the office to see whats happening with Cody and the tickets.The man returns from some unknown destination with some paper in hand, the printout of our plane tickets.
"This is wrong. My name is not Cody Rook / Cody Rook. Can you please correct this."
"It's no problem for you."
"It is a problem. That's not my name."
"Yes. Your name."
"No. My name is Cody Rook. Not Cody Rook/Cody Rook. You wrote my full name twice."
"OK. No problem."
"No. Fix it."
"OK, I call my friend."......"My friend says no problem."
"No. Fix it. I am not going to the airport with this to find out I can't get on my flight."
"No problem. I will fly to Bali to meet you if there is problem. 25 minutes I be there. Pay you 3 million rupiah (about $300) if have problem."
"No. Fix it."
Meanwhile, the friendly, helpful motorbike rental assistant had meandered back into the office where Cody and I were handling the tickets....
"OK. 35 per day."
"You have insurance?"
"Yes. No problem."
"OK. You have helmets?"
"Yes. No problem, no problem."
"OK. Sounds like a deal."
"You write this form."
Back on Cody's end...
"Here. Is fixed!" (Now an unfriendly, unhelpful tour operator)
"This is the same paper you gave me before but now there are two more that still have the wrong names on them. This is not fixed."
"It's no problem, I called my friend!"
"NO! Fix this mistake!"
"NO! Do you have education?"
Cody's hands were shaking with anger and I could see he was about to really lose it so I stepped in.
"Read this name to me."
"Cody Rook/Cody Rook."
"Now read the name that we wrote for you on that piece of paper."
"Are they the same?"
"No. But its no problem. I called my friend. I fly to Bali if problem."
"No, you wont, it will take you 3 hours to get to Bali. You need to fix this. Go back to the computer and change the name. It takes 2 minutes."
By now Cody had had a chance to collect himself and stepped back in.
"Give me the number for the airline."
"OK. I call."
"No. Give me the number. .I will call."
Cody was making the call to the airline and was on hold.
The friendly, helpful motorbike rental assistant had returned.
"You give me passport."
"I need passport."
"I have been renting bikes in Indonesia for almost 2 months, nobody ever asked for my passport. I can give you a photocopy."
"My boss said no. I need passport."
"Sorry, no deal."
I left to check us out of the hotel. Cody followed shortly, tickets in hand. The airline confirmed it would not have been a problem.
In hindsight, we should have avoided the whole conversation from the beginning. What happened was, the operator would have lost the commission on the ticket if he had had the name fixed. So in trying to avoid that, he was trying to get us to trust him by offering to fly to Bali etc. which of course only made us trust him less. A couple of lessons were learned: 1 - Don't buy airline tickets from a tour operator that doesn't have a computer. 2 - Don't rely on the tour operator to fix the problem, go straight to the company you are buying the tickets from.
30 minutes later we were eating lunch, bags at feet, airplane tickets in hand, wondering how we were going to get to Kute (aka Kuta on Lombok, not the one in Bali - depends what map you look at). The motorbike guy returned with two bikes. I asked if they needed a passport. They said no, just my departure card. An agreement was made. They asked for my passport. The deal was off. Ten minutes later another guy showed up (one I had not seen before).
"You need my passport?"
"No. No problem."
We went to the shop. Tested the bikes. Filled out the paperwork.
"Give me passport."
I slammed my hand on the table. "You said no passport!"
He shrugged his shoulders and pointed to his boss. His boss confirmed it.
I handed them my Irish passport. I had not done this earlier because I had already told them I was Canadian. There is nothing in my Irish passport and it is worth nothing (except the cost of getting a new one). Fortunately, none of them were smart enough to look inside it and realize this. In fact, I had even told the new guys I was Canadian. Out of frustration I just handed them the passport and they didn't even look at the cover to see the big "Ireland" on the front.
At 2pm, 4 hours after we had begun (this process usually takes about 20 minutes in any other place that we have been), we were finally off to Kute for some actual relaxing.