Day 683: The Long Goodbye

14.11.10:

It was too early to fathom what was going on, but I seem to have found my way into a taxi and it seems to be heading to the bus station.  These are good signs.  I think I know where I have to go and I think that it takes three hours to get there.  The guy is telling me I can buy a ‘through ticket’ which will include the ferry to the neighbouring island of Lombok as well.  Okay, sure.

I woke up on the bus having dreamt that I had just been driven onto the ferry to Lombok.  I looked around.  I had been driven onto the ferry to Lombok.  Excellent.  It would seem I’ve been doing this kind of thing so long I can now do it in my sleep.

Goodbye Bali.  Goodbye Neil, Paul, Justin, Simon and all the brilliant, brilliant people I’ve met over the last couple of weeks.  I can see why people find it hard to leave Bali, I did.

Arriving in Lombok, I wanted to get taken to the other side of the island, popped on another ferry and taken to the island of Sumbawa.  Luckily, that’s what the bus driver also wanted to do and I was happy to let him.  So another short ferry trip and I was in Maluk on the western tip of Sumbawa wanting to go east.  There was a bus leaving in less than an hour that was going where I wanted it to go.  This was like shooting fish in a barrel.

What’s more, the helpful tout dude offered me a through ticket for the ‘fast boat’ to Labaunbajo, Flores – the place from where I can get another ferry to Indonesian West Timor (East Timor hopefully being country 183 of The Odyssey Expedition).  I settled into my seat on the bus as it sped off into the night.  Tomorrow I would be in THE LAND OF THE HOBBITS.  No, really.

Day 684: The Slow Fast Boat

15.11.10:

The bus drove through the night, arriving in the eastern port town of Sape at 8am, just in time for the ferry to Labuanbajo in Flores.  The helpful tout dude from Maluk yesterday ripped me off good an’ proper.  I paid 150,000 Indonesian Rupiah for a ferry ticket that was worth 40,000.  150,000 is about US$17: enough for three nights accommodation in a Indonesian flea pit hotel.  I may have to return to Maluk and kill him.

He also lied about the speed of the boat: this was NO ‘fast boat’, it was slower than a West African internet connection and didn’t get me to Labuanbajo until it was almost dark.  This a merry man did me not make.  I checked into the cheapest joint in town and headed out to find out the times of the ferries leaving Flores for Kupang in West Timor.  Easier said than done.  According to the Lonely Planet there was a boat leaving Larantuka on Wednesday which sounded good, but nobody could give me confirmation and Larantuka is one the far, far east of the long skinny island of Flores – two days drive from here.  It was doubtful I could make it in time without spending a ridiculous amount ($200!!) on a taxi.  Like in Splash.

Arse.

Unfortunately for me there was no confirmation, timetable, inkling nor educated guess on offer with regards to if, when and where the next ferry to Timor would be leaving FROM ANYWHERE ON THE ISLAND.  I would have to visit the port first thing in the morning and see if they could help me.

I settled in for the night in a great little bar called The Lounge which (if I had arrived earlier) would have been a great place to watch the sun set.