Day 43 - August 5 Malang to Banyuwangi
Hello folks. Thanks for stopping by to check in on us. Today and tomorrow are travel days for us. Today we left Batu and went to a mall in Malang to get a few things for our trip. Some food for the train, another USB charger, and some pulsa.
You do know about pulsa, right? On pre-paid cell phone plans (like all those in Indonesia) you need to have currency on your phone so that you can top up your Internet quota when you run out and all data services die. Which is slightly less bad than running out of oxygen, but not much. I mean, we live on our phones over here. I will do a whole post on technology at the end of the trip. but let's just say that is a scary thing to not have data access.
So ... I needed pulsa for our three Indonesia phones and I went to couple of stores thinking they would sell pulsa, but no luck. So, I asked in a store that sold HP (Hand Phone) accessories and they walked me over to where they buy pulsa. And I asked for what sounded to me like a reasonable amount of pulsa for each phone - about $12 worth for each phone. Great consternation ensued and many phone calls were made along with a great number of button presses. Here is a picture of this process:
So, $12 is 150,000 Rupiah times two phones is 300,000 RB. I am looking at the sign above and watching this process. Finally, she walks me over to a shoe store where her friend works who speaks English. The friend explains that the pulsa seller has never had a transaction this large before and I have exceeded her credit limit. Would I be willing to settle for 50,000 per phone? I smiled and said of course and completed the transaction. I then walked to another vendor and repeated the process to get more pulsa until I got what I needed. Life in another country, eh?
The train ride was third class as that is all that is available out of this area for us. On the one hand the seating was not the comfy seats that you have seen in our other rides but we had some wonderful conversations. Here are two pics:
Anyway, we arrived in Banyuwangi at midnight and I negotiated an OK price for a taksi (taxi) to the hotel. We fell into beds and slept like the dead. Long travel day, but a good one. Today we completed one of our goals - we have traveled (essentially) from one end of the island of Java to the other by trains. When I told that to our driver the next day he said, "you have seen far more of Java than I ever have and probably more than most Indonesians every have." That was an interesting thought.
Folks, if you read this far - thanks again! We appreciate you staying with us. Take care.
- The Conners