Friday, 24 January 2014

SUMBAWA cont...   
This was true travelling in all it’s (non)glory, a hot, packed bus with doors open, everybody smoking, hurtling through dangerous roads as fast as the beast would take us, stopping regularly to load more locals and tie even more gear to the roof.  This bus also apparently serves as the local long-haul transport system.  

The views at times were spectacular, other times a depressing culture shock, Sumbawa had some of the worst poverty and harshest landscapes I had ever seen.  

After what seemed an eternity of banging and crashing our way across the length of Sumbawa in a hot, crowded  bus with a numb ass and a whole body ache, we finally arrived in Bima after around 9 hours travelling, not for the faint hearted. 
But the journey did not end here, I still had another 2 hour bus ride to get to the port town of Sape, my departure point by ferry the next morning to finally make it to Flores.  This was the most insane bus ride I think I’ve ever been on, there were seriously, literally, about 60 or more people on a 26 seater bus??!!  I counted at least 53 just inside the bus, plus all the rest that were hanging off the side or riding on the roof. 
Here we were hurtling (sort of) through dangerous winding cliff side roads and these guys were climbing over, on, around the bus.  I may have done some car surfing in my youth, but this was just crazy, massively overcrowded, hot and dangerous.  I kept having visions of us crashing and nobody being able to escape the burning wreckage, oh well you just go with it and ‘find a happy place’. 

I would have taken some pictures but it was seriously so crowded there was no chance in hell of even being able to reach into my bag to get the camera out.  
The locals were pretty impressed that I could speak some Indonesian and after some limited conversations, aches and pains and stunning views, the bus ride from hell was finally over.  A huge sense of ‘survival’ and relief came rushing over me as I stepped off that bus, vowing never to try that again! 

 When you are dropped at the port, a quick 2 minute walk will see you find some very basic accommodation, I stayed at the Mutiara and at $8 a night, I paid too much!!  Basic was an understatement, but after being on hot, uncomfortable buses all day I didn’t care in the slightest.  A mandi shower (bucket of cold water thrown over yourself) saw me hungry and in search of a cold beer.
There is no alcohol allowed in Sape, but the owner of Mutiara can hook you up with his mate who will deliver large, almost cold Bintang’s to the hotel for you, not the cheapest I’d had, but man had I earned one! 

I slept well that night with a belly full of Bakso from the little stall next door, I had actually gone for a pretty good walk when I first got to town and there was not much  else around. 
Mandi shower,   this is what you get for $8