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Published: October 5th 2008
All good things have to come to an end and the time arrived for us to travel back from the Gili Islands to Bangkok.
We left the homestay at 6.45am to get the 7am public boat off the island to Lombok, by 7.45 it still hadn’t left and Sheila was persuaded by a café owner that we should go with his agency right through to Padang Bai on Bali. "His boat would leave at 8am and we could travel completely hassle free". Big mistake!
Soon after paying our money to the agent the public boat left and we were left sitting around till 8.30 waiting for ours to leave. When we did finally set sail there were 5 boat loads of tourists all heading for Bangsal on Lombok. Once there we were all herded into a small space and left for half an hour in the full sun. At 9.30 they proceeded to call everybody one by one and fill up the numerous mini-buses, this process took ages and we began to see why the journey was going to take so long.
The agent had promised us that the reason it took so long to get to
Lembar on Lombok was because his driver was so careful and wanted to take care of his guests. In reality the driver drove like a maniac, the journey took so long because of all the hanging around waiting to be herded onto the next stage. The annoying thing was that as we got off the boat there were private taxis waiting to whisk you away immediately for a reasonable price and no hanging around, but of course we’d already paid our money to the agent so were stuck being herded about!
Oops, sorry Stan I'll listen to you next time! Sheila.
When we finally arrived at Lembar we were once again ordered to congregate in the full sun for another half an hour. As we eventually boarded the ferry we realized why. The Indonesian people were already on the passenger deck and laid out occupying 4 seats each leaving no seats for any of us. Instead we were told to go up some stairs to a “special” room. This turned out to be a small enclosed space with no windows, a low ceiling and no seats, just a rusting metal floor to sit on. It reminded me of scene
from the slave trade times. Fortunately Sheila and I dashed back downstairs and managed to persuade an Indonesian man to surrender 2 of the 4 seats he was occupying so the four and a half hour journey was a bit more bearable. Unbelievably the journey was predicted to take six hours but took one a half hours less, due to favourable weather conditions I guess, who knows? But we were grateful fo small mercies!
I have to say though, that this has to be the most dilapidated ferry I’ve ever been on and I’m amazed it was actually able to float! We were certainly glad to get off as we squeezed through gaps between huge trucks that were all trying to leave at the same time.
Finally we stepped off the ferry at Padang Bai and went straight to the hotel we’d stayed at earlier in our trip.
THE MORAL OF THIS STORY IS: trust your own instincts and don't believe everything you're told!
Tomorrow we’ve a two hour bus ride then two separate flights and a taxi ride to get to Bangkok. Let’s hope all the connections work out!
Well thankfully the connections did work out even though we only had one and a quarter hour gap between flights at Kuala Lumpur, we retrieved our baggage, got through immigration and even had time for a coffee.
We now have 2 days to unwind by the pool and sit in a street café bar watching the crazy world of Bangkok go by and dream up our next adventure.
Tot: 0.084s; Tpl: 0.049s; cc: 10; qc: 24; dbt: 0.0124s; 1; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
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