2008-10-14 Back on the road, Bali, Indonesia
"That would be 1,200,000 please"... Even if this was in Indonesian currency, I could not help but think that I am overpaying. 1M in any currency just feels like too much money. After doing some rough number crunching, I calmed myself by realizing that it's not that much more than $120US. By the way, I was in the middle of buying an airplane ticket from Jakarta to Bali.
It was nice being on the road again. There were currency exchanges to keep track of, there was the familiarity of wearing gray clothes that always look the same regardless of how dirty they actually are. The cheap watch from Walmart was back on my writs - readily dispensable yet indispensable in meeting bus schedules. Then there was the backpack, weighing just about what I remembered - hella heavy. But that's good - it makes it harder for someone to run away with. And of course, there is the zip-lock baggy with some toilet paper in my side pocket - because you just never know.
By the time I landed in Bali it was already dark but I knew that I was in the right place with the first sighting of mopeds with surfboard racks mounted on the side. Not wanting to deal with walking all over town in search of a cheap room, I cave in and took a taxi. He asked for 50K and even though I could tell that he is overcharging, I agreed to the ride, intending to hard ball haggle starting tomorrow.
The taxi ride involved, what seems like, a rat race through a maze where each block was about 50 meters long, with a mandatory turn at the end of it, while swarming with mopeds that came out and left from every conceivable direction. But since we already have agreed on the price, the route must have actually been somehow the optimal one...
In any case, he finally dropped me off at some unmarked intersection with direction to go straight and then take a right. I did exactly as told but, except there was no "right" to take.... I was on a continuous road, guarded by shops and restaurants on both sides. As I passed each building, I was being abruptly greeted either by an aggressive hotel owner, or a shop lady, or a taxi driver, the later of which lined the street shoulder to shoulder as far as the eye could see. Since I already picked a place to stay, yay Lonely Planet, and I was definitely NOT going to take another taxi. So I keep pressing ahead, till I finally had an opportunity to take a left.
To make the long story short, mind you that this is after having already spend a total of 27 hours in transit, I zigzagged my way to the hostel and was shown to my room. There was a bed, a fan, and a shower/bathroom section where the lack of shower curtains meant that water was to splash all over the toilet seat - typical of Central America style. There was also no sign of toilet paper or even the remnants of a holder for it - thaaat's where the zip-lock baggy comes in.