The gateway to Bromo

Probolinggo Travel Blog

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People i met here, who contributed to and improved my trip: Juliana (Russia)

Arriving at 2am and having very little clue where anything was didn't really help our plight. Luckily we found 2 bicycle drivers willing to take us across town for a fair price and we managed to check into a hotel around 2.30am. This wasn't the end of the night however, as i was unable to fall asleep due to something biting me and my body swelling up with a reaction. They changed the sheets and thankfully i managed to get 40 winks.

The following morning a guy was loitering outside our room and this should have been the first indication of what was to follow. He informed us that he could sort our transport out to Cemero Lawang and that it really would be too difficult to do ourselves. Originally his price was clearly too high and the more we questioned it, the lower it became. It was all too obvious that he was trying to scam us, so i thanked him and assured him we'd manage just fine. We hopped in a bemo and asked for the local bus station, which we driver told us was no problem.

After 10 minutes drive however, the guy dropped us off at a travel agency! The owner rushed out assuring us that the local bus picked people up from his shop and it was due in 30 minutes, but obviously we should sit down inside. For the next hour he pestered us to buy onward tickets to Bali from him and like the previous guy, his price just kept coming down the more we said we weren't interested. When i told him local transport would be half the price of his ticket he told me the usual lies of how he would 'give me a million dollars if it was' and there was 'no way it could be so cheap'. His 'final offer' was reduced so much that his price was $5 per ticket cheaper than when he had begun, but it was still obvious that he would be taking commission for nothing. As it turned out, to buy the tickets directly from the bus company cost even another $5 less and to go by local bus as we eventually did, was yet another $5 cheaper. The thing is that other Westerners who had been 'trapped' here were falling for this and he must have been making a very good living from it. After telling us how stupid we were and clearly been annoyed that we weren't falling for his lies, he arranged for a minivan to pick us up.

Finally we were on our way.... or were we? The minivan rode up and down 1 road, detoured to the bus station, went back up and down the road looking for passengers and eventually went back to the travel agents half full. We waited another 30 minutes before we did another lap of the town, took another trip to the bus station and sat and waited a bit longer. Having set off at 9am from the hotel it was now unbelievably midday before we actually made any progress. The most annoying thing was that we knew this wasn't the real local bus, but no-one was going to tell us where it went from, as everyone was more interested in taking a slice of commission for nothing. Its a common thing in Indonesia, but one that annoys me more than anything else.

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photo by: Sonya