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Published: March 12th 2016
Scary looking hotel
Resembled the Adam's Family home.
When you travel for a long time there are nearly always bound to be low points but all you can do is try to make the most of it. Coming to the city of Sorong was one of these times.
We'd spent 12 days on the island of Kri where the snorkelling had been great as predicted but circumstances had caused us to make the decision to leave early. A whole week before our flights back to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in fact.
After leaving Kri our first jumping off point was the town of Waisai on the bigger island of Waigo. Also know by the locals as ' Raja Ampat'.
We had hoped we might meet up with other travellers and join together to get a boat from there to the island of Gam. Thus, by sharing, keeping the extortionate transfer costs to a reasonable amount.
However on arriving at the port we struggled to even find transport into the town. Eventually A ten minute walk away from the Ojek - motorbike taxi, turned up and called his mate so there'd be two and we were whisked off. Not the mode of transport I like if I'm
honest but beggars can't be choosers as they say and it wasn't far.
They dropped us off at one of the two hotels in town. It turned out to be full and the Ojeks had gone on their way. Now what? We asked to leave our bags there while we went in search of another hotel. Luckily the only other ( and most expensive) hotel had vacant rooms, feeling relieved we checked in and went to collect our luggage.
Despite being the 'best' hotel in town it turned out to be a nightmare,the bathroom was disgustingly dirty, the air con barely worked and the electricity failed every hour or so. Oh, and the wi fi didn't work, ever! They blamed it on the weather but the local little Warung (cafe) down the road had a constant connection.
Added to this - there was a small window in the room overlooking the garden below but instead of putting up a curtain or blind they'd painted the glass black meaning we could see nothing. Very frustrating!
It soon became apparent that we were not going to meet any travellers here. So much for visiting another island, it can cost
anything up to a hundred pounds or more to charter a boat to take you the 40 minute journey to an island then the same to get off. The claim is that petrol to run the boats is very expensive here! More like a money making racket!!
The weather had taken a turn for the worse with heavy frequent rain so we were fast
going off the idea of being stuck on an island anyway with nothing to do but watch the rain pour down.
After a couple of days we came to the conclusion our best option would be to take the ferry back to Sarong on West Papua, find a decent hotel and maybe some Western food and then try to bring our flight forward and get out of here.
Even that was a trial! The day we were due to get the ferry dawned grey and forbidding and in no time the rain began to pour- and I mean pour, bouncing off the road. It carried on for hours, I asked the receptionist, who barely spoke any English, if she could arrange us a taxi to the ferry port. She shrugged her shoulders and
Bird of Paradise
Sadly this is the nearest we got to see one
said " ojek". What - in this weather? I thought - no way but each time we mentioned ' taxi' she shook her head and seemed completely dis- interested.
I went back to the room to pack and pray the rain would stop by midday but judging by the low, thick, grey clouds that wasn't going to happen. I resigned myself to getting a drenching along with all my luggage.
Around 11am the rain was still bouncing down, I ventured downstairs to find some food in the next door mini mart and noticed a new receptionist. I went to the counter warily, expecting to get more blank looks, and enquired again about a taxi.
"Of course" she replied " I can help you" in perfect English I could have kissed her feet. At last someone who knows what they're doing.She called a taxi for midday and got the internet working in seconds although it did break down again shortly afterwards!
From this point all went well, we got the ferry no problem, 2 hours later jumped in a taxi at the Port in Sorong and arrived at a hotel minutes later. We'd managed to book one in
Sorong over the Internet before leaving Waisai.
We were shown to a lovely room with a huge window overlooking the road. Now that's more like it.
The Garuda office was just across the road so next morning we called in to try and bring our flight to Makassar on Suluwesi forward. It turned out the fee to change it would cost even more than the flight itself cost and we'd just be swapping one Indonesian city for another as we then had a second flight booked from Makassar to Kuala Lumpur. That would have to be brought forward too at some extortionate rate.
The only sensible option was to remain here and sit it out until our flight in four days time. At least we had a huge window and could sit here and people watch down below - and there was plenty to see, the road was very busy and the hotel set on an even busier junction. It's quite comical to see whole families on one motorbike or bikes loaded with everything you can imagine looking ready to over balance at any moment. Ladies dressed head to toe in flowing robes riding side saddle on the
back of a bike, an accident waiting to happen! When the rain pours as it does at some point most days people just carry on as normal getting drenched to the skin.
Fortunately we found an air conditioned shopping mall a short bus ride away where we could while away some time and the best thing of all a cafe selling good Western food. No more rice!! Except for the hotel breakfast of course.
We did check out a few other hotels as ours had proved a bit noisy all through the night but we soon came to the conclusion that we already had the best so would put up with the traffic noise and the early morning call to the mosque.
One hotel we'd seen on a map turned out to be really strange, a huge rundown building. As we approached I was convinced it was shut down but the door was open so we peered into the dark interior. A voice called out " Hello, can I help you?" We startled and then as our eyes became accustomed to the dark we noticed a scruffy, old lady behind a high dark wood desk. She gave
us a toothless smile and asked our names then told us hers. We enquired about a room but really thinking there was no way we'd want to stay. Her English now failed and she didn't understand us. We smiled , said "OK never mind" and walked away. I swear it was like something out of the Adam's Family. I couldn't imagine actually sleeping there! A place where nightmares come true!
Well that's it, apart from an early morning walk and getting yelled at " Hey mister!" countless times we are now resigned to people watching for the next three days, jumping on a Bemo ( bus) for 25 pence to eat in the local shopping mall and watching Indonesian TV. At least we have wi fi.
Could be worse!
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