So we left Ubud the next day and headed for Lovina. It took about 3 hours over the mountains on the bumpiest bus ever! At least it wasn't packed like all the other buses have been. We arrived in Lovina about 2.30pm and were dropped off at the hotel that we asked them to. It was such a nice room, and it felt a little like a treehouse!! Well, it was all made of wood anyway. It had a lovely pool, and was right on the beach aswell. We spent the afternoon at the pool and then made the mistake of going for a wander down the beach... The minute we got to the beach we were inundated with people trying to sell us crap, and they were so persistent! Even if you tell them - no, i don't want an balinese birthday calender, no i don't want fruit, no i dont want a sarong, no i dont want a massage, they just won't take no for an answer! We ended up walking on to the beach and then about turn and went back to the hotel where there is no-one to bother you. At night it wasn't as bad, and we sat down at the beach to watch the sunset which was nice. We had planned to hang around there for a couple of days, but with nothing to do, and nothing but hassle the minute you step out of the hotel we decided to make the long journey over to the island of Java. Plus Jack is feeling much better now so we were ok to make the journey.
We decided to get the public bus from Lovina to Gillimanuk, where the ferry goes to Java. The bus was fine, and it was cheap. We ignored pleas from some guy who said that the public bus wasn't running, but he could take us... for a lot more expensive! We got to the ferry port 2 hours later. The ferry only takes half an hour - probably could be a bit quicker but it goes at 1 mile an hour!! We got off the ferry and were wondering what to do next when we were accosted by some guy who said he could take us to Probolinggo for 270,000 each!!! We laughed a little bit and told him to get lost. We decided to have a look and see about the train instead. This guy followed us all the way to the train station hassling us to take his bus. In the end he managed to drop the price to 50,000 each!! Interesting... but we got the train for 19,000 each instead. It took a couple of hours longer, but it was fine, even is a little uncomfortable! We arrived in Probolinggo to a complete powercut of the city as it was raining. We got to the hotel that was recommended in the lonely planet. Worst hotel ever!! But we didn't really have a choice as it was dark and we were pretty tired. The room was stinking hot with a crappy little fan. There was no sink and shower, just a tap and a bucket to wash yourself! And not a western toilet - a hole in the floor job which is gross. The bed was in the worst state i have ever seen. Not a comfortable night - we think that they took all the springs out of the mattress and stuffed it with t-shirts and rags instead!!! People had splatted mosquito's on the wall and it hadn't been wiped off. Jack got covered in bites - they don't like me at the moment which is great!! We decided to make the short journey to the shop to get some water and food - the people acted like they had never seen westerners before, it was crazy. People shouting, laughing, screaming when we were walking down the road! A lot of 'hello miss, hello mister!!! where are you going???' that is a question they ask a lot!! We got our things and then headed back to the hotel. We stopped at a chicken satay vendor and had that for dinner. Then went to bed, it was too much work walking around!
Eager to get the hell out of that place in the morning, we set the alarm early and were heading for Cemoro Lawang, which is on the crater lip of a large volcano, within which there are 3 more volcano's! We got the public bus to the bus station, only to have him drop us off about 1km from the station at some little travel agent that tried to charge us 40,000 to get to Bromo, and then tried to sell us some jeep trip. I couldn't believe that he was blatantly trying to rip us off and then said 'you can trust me, or not trust me that this is the same price as the buses at the bus station'. I said 'well, i don't trust you because everyone in indonesia is a liar!!' and we walked the last kilometer to the bus terminal, where we got the bus for 20,000!!! We got chatting to a french guy who was by himself, and when we got to Cemoro Lawang we shared a room between 3 of us, which made it so much cheaper. In the mountains at about 2500metres, it was freezing! Jack and I didn't have any jumpers, so Goutier lent us a jumper each which was handy, as we got up at 4.00am this morning to climb the volcano before sunrise. It took us about an hour and a half from the hotel, and we got there just as the sun had risen. It was pretty cool, and Gunung Bromo is constantly smoking, so when we got there it stunk of sulphur (even worse than Rotorua!). On the way back, Jack was feeling a bit tired so he got a horse back and i walked. I got asked constantly to get on a horse and i told them that i don't like them and there's no way i'd get on, so leave me alone! Jack got back about half an hour before i did!
When we got back we had a wee sleep, then got up and had breakfast. We had to wait till 1.00 before we could get the bus back down to Probolinggo. It doesn't like to leave until it is packed to the brim, so we cruised around the streets for an hour while they shouted at people to try and get them on the bus! It's like, you can't force them to get on the bus!!! Eventually we got moving, and got to Probolinggo bus station. We were lucky that the bus we wanted to get to Malang was in half an hour so we didn't have to hang around too much. We are in Malang now and have a nice room. We are getting the train to Yogyakarta tomorrow, where we will stay for 3 or 4 days.
We are both disappointed with Indonesia. The constant hassle and people trying to make you pay double or triple for stuff is getting tiresome. We have not yet met a genuine Indonesian person. Anyone who seems interested in you is always looking for something in return if you give them the time of day. A lot of the places we have been have been disappointing - there doesn't seem to be many activities and not much to do. And when there is, it is so expensive or you have to barter with people to get a reasonable price for something! There doesn't seem to be anyone else backpacking in Indonesia. I thought it was high season! So we are struggling to find other people who can recommend things, or just have a chat and a beer with. We have high hopes for Yogyakarta, but if it is rubbish then we are going back to bali to spend the rest of our time here sitting by the pool and working on our suntans... actually, that sounds pretty good!
Hope everyone is well, sorry about the essay!!!
Linsey and Jack xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx