Saturday, 2 February 2008

Trust me, I'm your friend

We're in Indonesia! We entered the new and mysterious world of Asia at 17.30, with no Rupiah but luckily enough US Dollars to pay for our visas.

Challenge #1: Find an ATM.

This might seem a relatively easy task, in an airport, but we're not in Australia anymore, we're in Lombok. First off we tried to look like we knew what we were doing, traveler style, but it soon became apparent that there was no ATM in the arrivals lounge we were in, and no-where else to go except into the marauding masses of touts and taxi drivers awaiting our flights arrival. OK. Deep breath. This is why we're here, for the challenge. So, we asked the locals where the ATM machine is. Ans: "There isn't one at the airport, you have to go into Mataram by taxi" OK, this isn't really what we had in mind. Let's get a second opinion and ask the money changer (yep, pretty dumb, I know now). Ans: "No ATM here. You want to change money?" Mmh. OK, third option, go back into the airport and ask someone there. Bingo, there's an ATM about 100 yards away, in the other part of the airport.

Challenge #2: Get a taxi to Senggigi. Easy, non?

We wanted to be in Senggigi nice and early so we could get the ferry out to Gili Air first thing in the morning, where the ferry for the Gili islands leaves from (or so we thought). First off, the taxi driver tried to charge us 50,000 Rp then very generously offered to let us have it for 40,000 Rp after showing us printed 'proof' that the official cost, as dictated by the government should be 50,000 Rp. Luckily, I'm too tight to pay over the odds, which I knew was 30,000 Rp, thanks to some internet research, and Ben saw through the printed document ruse, after reading a book on how to negotiate at Deb's and Stu's house. We went into the street and got it for almost exactly 30,000 Rp on the meter. Bingo.

Lessons learned: Always come armed with as much info as possible, and get multiple opinions and try to extract the truth from a combination of answers. Lots of people here lie. Never trust something just because it's printed.

After a long day of traveling, we slept like logs, and were woken up at 5am by the magical sounds of the call to prayer from the local mosque. Here we go!


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