Reluctant Return to Civilization

Trip Start Sep 17, 2007
Trip End Oct 08, 2008

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Flag of Indonesia  , East Nusa Tenggara,
Saturday, May 24, 2008

It was like leaving some kind of Eden and returning to Earth.  In Moni people just wanted their photos taken, they just wanted to have us over for dinner, just try a piece of their fruit.  No pressure.  We'd travelled so far that we'd finally left all the lying liars behind.  And four hours later they were back.  Not in abundance or anything.  It was just a necessity of having to return to doubting everyone after a nice break from such cynicism. 

Maumere really wasn't that bad.  It's not a tourist town, and there's really nothing there but an airport.  We were dropped at the hotel we'd requested, which was much more expensive than we would have liked (all prices up in Indonesia, after all), but there was nowhere else for us to go and the staff was friendly enough.  We settled in. 

Hirolimus suggested that we go to the harbor for a lunch of fresh fish.  It took a while to find, but we eventually did.  Also not totally what we'd have liked to pay for lunch, but it's hard to argue with fresh seafood that doesn't cost a million dollars.  Travis ended up ordering some way nasty soup substance, though, so I had to share my shrimps.  As I stared at the floating globs of fat with small bits of meat attached, Travis told me, "Next time we're in a restaurant and there's a local special that just happens to be served on the day we're there and it seems like providence that I should get it, don't let me."  And we ended up getting charged more for our drinks than was on the menu.  Sigh.

We walked back to our hotel, stocked up on some snacks to get us through dinner and the morning's flight.  Back at the hotel we asked Hirolimus about getting us a cab to the airport.  Just so you know, it's 3 km from the center of town.  Yeah, Hirolimus said, my friend will take you.  It'll cost 50,000. 

WHAT?!  That is a hugely inflated price.  You may not think so, but then you're thinking in terms of your Western pricing.  Besides, we really can't waste any money.  And we just don't like to be taken advantage of as stupid foreigners.  But again, there was nothing we could do.  Taxis don't really go roaming around Maumere and we had to be at the airport at 6.  And it was Sunday the next day, which also means reduced transport in general.  Lovely.  We tried negotiation, but there was no budging.  It's all about the petrol price rising.  Please, spare me the petrol argument.  It means absolutely nothing to me.  I had a car and I paid more for gas per liter and I know how far it will take you.  But this is everyone's favorite argument for transportation pricing.  I was irritated. 

In the morning Hirolimus's friend arrived.  Our breakfast hadn't been what we requested or when we requested it, so we were running a little late.  He walked in, saw that we were still eating, and said, "Take your time."  Less than two minutes later he told us we were late and we had to get a move on and he had things to do.  So we carted our bags to his pimped out car and dumped them in the back.  By this time I was pissed.  We were paying 50,000 rupiah for a ride that took about three minutes (maybe) so this dude could pimp his ride.  And he was bossing us around like he didn't have to be polite.  We looked back into a trunk stereo system with flashing blue and red lights and big fat woofers.  As I pulled out my bag (pretty much every taxi driver helps you with your bags, too, but he didn't) a mat fell out of his trunk onto the wet pavement.  I didn't appologize.  And I didn't say thank you.  I also didn't say what I wanted to say, so I think I behaved pretty well, but Travis gave me a little hard time for not saying sorry about the mat.  Whatever, said I. 

Then we flew back to Bali.  I was very happy to be back. 

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