Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Before Sunrise

Day 294
My alarm went off at the ungodly hour of 3:30 am. Quickly I had myself dressed in the warmest clothes I owned and was ready to leave. After about a 30 minute drive through invisible terrain we parked and walked the last ten minutes or so to the top. I managed to get myself a good spot at the railing when someone randomly walked away.

A first light I began taking picture after picture. I figured the more I took the higher chance I would have of getting something really nice. In less than 30 minutes I took over 100 pictures. Digital cameras are the best. Thanks Mom and Dad!

Once the sun was up I tried to wait for the other people in my group, but every two seconds I was being asked to pose for a photo. 5 am is not my most photogenic time and eventually I just went down anyway to get away. I hadn't paid any attention to where the jeep was or what it looked liked. When I got to the end of the cars I hadn't recognized anyone and stood there for some time. I got bored after a while and I was really very cold. I walked back up a bit and quickly found the group that I was with.

I hadn't know it when I booked the tour but on the way back down we had a chance to climb up one of the craters. This is definitely a must do before breakfast. For about $6 you could ride a horse, but you would be lead by some guy and the horses looked really skinny, I just couldn't put money towards that. Due to this I walked. I really have no idea how I did this. I was tired and hungry and the terrain was a bit rough. The stairs were a bit thin and despite the fact that they were clearly divided into up and down lanes people were in the wrong one and getting angry when they couldn't get through. Up top the smell of sulfur made it hard to breath but the view was fantastic.

After everyone had eaten breakfast and paced we went back down the mountain. The driver had been in a horrible mood the day before but this somehow changed and he stopped on the way down for photo ops.

When I had booked these transfers I was told that I would be in an 8 seater van. The first part was and I was a bit surprized to see that the second part would be done by a big bus. The bus was about 1.5 hours late and when it did show up they had over sold it and I didn't have a seat. The bus was also beyond packed with five seats instead of the normal 4 seats in each row. After much discussion they decided to have a woman who wasn't going very far take a cab and for me to take her seat. These seats must have been made for 3 feet tall 50 pound pygmies. There is just no way a typical adult is meant to fit. The only saving grace was that I was so tired I could have slept through anything. I didn't wake until 3 hours into the trip when we stopped for food.

After a few hours it began to pour. I felt really bad for the people on motor bikes and push bikes, but even worse for the lateness of the bus. The rain had stopped by the time we reached the ferry. It was nice to have some space to myself. I fell asleep right away. After the ferry I opted to stay on to Despensar. I was a bit surprised and miffed when everyone got cabs to Ubud. I had wanted to share, but no one was going to Kuta.

Several of the cab drivers refused to take me to Kuta, they told me that all of the hotels were full. I refused to believe this and after some persistence found a guy who didn't rip me off too much. After wandering for about 30 minutes I was finding that all of the hotels were full. It was about 1 am when I met up with an English guy also looking for a room. We began to look together and eventually found a couple of Aussies to search with. We got lucky and managed to find two rooms, but I was sharing with the English guy. It sure beat being on the streets though.

The four of us decided to grab a beer and we walked out to the main street. On the way we ran into a couple who had a hold on one of our rooms but was late in claiming it. I felt a bit bad, but there were two of them and there is only one of me. If I get stuck for a night that would be really bad. The main street was a mess of prostitutes, drunks and beggars. I hadn't seen many adults or children begging in all of Indonesia and this really surprised me. At the second bar the bartender refused to give me my change and night stopped being fun. I went back to the hotel for some much needed sleep.

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