When We Turned Into Cranky Travelers

Aloha from me in between this fantastic piles of assignments! For weeks have I lost the chance for strumming my guitar and also looking through the viewfinder of my camera. Oh, dear. How can I not blame the assignments?

However, it is glad to be back to school campus. I have been through tough days as an intern, believe me. Now I am in a fast lane, writing papers and somehow overthinking about what will happened after the so called graduation. But let me take the slow lane just for a moment. I would like to share my view regarding my visit with some friends to East Java early this year, when we turned into cranky travelers.

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Lapindo Mud

Nine years ago, on May to be precise, there was a mud eruption in Sidoarjo which had razed people and buildings. I bet you’ve already known that this mud flow disaster was happened on PT Lapindo Brantas’ drilling area. That is why it is well-known as Lapindo Mud. So, the mud keeps on going out of the earth, covering the land, wider and wider, and so on. To prevent more terrible expansion, embankment was built.

Years passed. Now local people has developed the mud lake as tourism spot. It was on our to-visit list. And so, we went there in full excitement like hippopotamus. I have already thought of good angles to take photos. And not long before, I read about Dadang Christanto’s artwork on the area of Lapindo Mud, which added more excitement.

To reach the view of the mud, we had to climb up the stairs. But… before the we were able to reach the stairs…. Some discordant voice shouted at us, “Masuknya bayar lima puluh ribu, Mbak,” which means we had to pay IDR 50K for entrance. It was one of the men who stood by the embankment wall with theit motorcycles. I don’t want to sound too much, but seriously, the seemed intimidating. I didn’t see any ticket booth, stamp, nor printed ticket. Hmm, that was definitely extortion.

At first, we were about to give them what they want. Then, the spokesman started again, “IDR 50K per person.” WHAT? 😮 Just to make sure they knew what they were doing, we asked them, “Memangnya di atas ada apa Pak,  kok mahal sekali?” It means: what is so special up there till we had to pay that much?

A moment of silence. Really. They gazed at us with confusion for about three perfect seconds. Yup, it felt like victory.

“Ada lumpur”. They said that there was mud up there…. Correct, guys. It’s only m-u-d, mud. IDR 50K per person to see mud? Come on, think again.

We turned around, left those fellows behind.

Mount Bromo

The road was spinning and uphill. But thank goodness we could reach the last stop for non-jeep cars. Starting from that point, we had to rent a jeep to be able to see Mount Bromo. There, the bargain began. Eventually we agreed to pay IDR 300K for a pink jeep. Pink jeep was rare. I was happy, I should say. But the happiness didn’t last long.

Then, we stopped nearby the mountain. It was unexpected. There, the driver told us that he could not continue the trip anymore. We ought to take the horse in order to reach the mountain. Well, well. I felt like I wanted to chew the jeep seat. That pink jeep was disappointing. Therewith, we were surrounded by coachmen with their horses, holding cards with IDR 125K written on it.

Let me calculate. We have paid IDR 300K for the jeep. Then, if we decided to take the horse, we would have to pay IDR 125K for each horse with a possibility of more expense waiting ahead.

We certainly felt insecure about our pockets. We were just local tourist, eager to explore our country. But those people has been too easy to set their price, which in our opinion was not reasonable.

I won’t lie, the view of Mount Bromo was lovely and the weather was nice though sand was everywhere. Unfortunately, we had lost the interest to continue the trip. Thus, we told the pink-jeep driver to drive us back.

Traveling is not solely pleasure. Sometimes it is more like a patience test. Stay mindful and critical wherever you go, folks! 😉

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