Change of Venue

Part of my personal improvement plan includes being more assertive. I got to put that into action quickly. Yesterday, the gentleman that drove me around on his scooter to find a place to stay (Sudu, I believe) also advised me he runs a boat service to see dolphins and go snorkeling at nearby Menhangan Island. This interested me. Also, he made QUITE a fuss about the price I paid for the room, even getting into an argument with a whole group of other workers about it (faux argument? maybe) and he returned to my room no less than THREE times to ask me not to tell anyone else about my price. I’ve gotten that song-and-dance before, but the fact that he came back to me JUST to tell me that multiple times increased my belief. I told him I’d be happy to take his service out this morning, which excited him. He advised me to be ready at 5:45, as dawn is the best viewing time. No problem!
A few minutes later, he returns. “Say, I need a deposit. You know, for the petrol?” he said with much more trepidation than I liked. Oh, for the scooter ride around town? “Yeah,” he replied. That’s fair, he took me around to find this place…how much? “Twenty-thousand.” What?! We went like two blocks, and we were on a scooter. He refused to bargain lower. All I had was a 50k bill, so I gave that to him and asked for change. “Thank you, friend, will do.” Twenty minutes pass and no Sudu. I find him sitting at the entrance with his pals. Where is my change? He excuses himself, says, “You pay for room?” much too loudly and escorts me down the path back towards my room. He gives me all 50k back. “You pay in full tomorrow, yes? Don’t tell anyone about price.” I nod and head back to my room, sufficiently confused. After thinking about it awhile, the only LOGICAL thought process is that the deposit was for the dolphin trip, not the scooter ride. Nothing made sense. Oh well. I had a nice dinner of lemon chicken and vegetables (lovin’ the bell pepper right about now) and went for a swim in the pool. It was very nice, and I had the huge thing all to myself underneath a vast field of stars.

I get up and get ready on time, but he never shows. I wait 45 minutes, then pack my bags. I had booked three nights at this place, but didn’t like being pushed around and left hanging. I went for a short walk before actually checking out and found a quaint little homestay run by the sweetest German lady ever. It is even mentioned in the Lonely Planet guide I have with me. A single room is 40k rupiah. That’s FOUR DOLLARS. Sold! I went back to my old hotel, got my things, gave the desk man the 70k for my one night and advised him to tell Sudu that his failure to follow through was the breaking point for my stay there.

I now sit in a much more comfortable chair on a quieter porch with a sweet caretaker and a very talkative Beo bird. He sounds like Stitch (of Lilo and Stitch) when he talks. Also, it appears that mosquitoes have finally found me.

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