I booked a ticket through one of the guys on the street for a shuttle bus to Probolinggo. He wanted 200,000Ru, I paid 170,000Ru and it took ~14 hours. There was so much traffic the guy who booked it said we’ll have to meet him on the main road by scooter, that was fun. At first I thought I was being kidnapped as I was the only guy on the bus and he was driving through all these side streets. He did so to pick up people as we went.
Hit up the ferry, it was an experience at midnight, bunch of interesting characters on it to say the least. Arrive in Probolinggo at ~4am. Before that I spoke with some guys on the ferry who said Bromo is horrible this time of year as it is the rainy season. As a result, it is “hit or miss” if you are going to get to see the peak or not. I decided to skip Bromo, stay on the bus and go to Sarabaya which is a few hours forth. I had to pay an additional 50,000Ru to stay on the bus. Turns out the local people on the bus paid 150,000Ru from Bali-> Sarabaya. Then again I booked through a guy on the street, obviously he made commission.
Get there and get dropped off at a train station, driver warned me to be careful a few times. This was a seedy train station. Seediest one I’ve seen yet with hordes of people offering “illegal taxi services” outside. It was kinda like a jungle really. I have to go to another station and figure a metered cab that is registered is safest bet so I do it and this guy was legit, he even used the meter. It came to 21,250Ru. A shady guy at the next station told me to try a bus station and probably a 60,000Ru fare when the station is closer. Always go on the meter.
Get to new location at ~7am. Train leaves at 3Pm. So I have a coffee or so and then find a location where I can rest. I figured out a way to lace my legs through the straps which make it impossible to steal the bags without waking me up. When sleeping, pick somewhere that is well light, central and has people working that can see you. Also one that has security guards near by preferably. This place was perfect. Didn’t really sleep but did drift in and out into a quasi dream land of sorts.
Lots of people came up to me and got all friendly before some how offering to “take me away from the train station”. Some may have been legit, some definitely not. This one lady told me she loved me and then showed me these horrible burns all over her arms and side. I have no clue what they were all about but it was sketchy. I asked her about it and she told me “Jesus wanted this”. I was like “Ok” and looked away. She left shortly after with her son.
The train finally came at 3PM and I got on. The trains here are quite cool. For 90,000Ru I got the “fan option” in business class. For 120,000Ru you can get air conditioning. I opted for fan because I always regret a/c. I get so cold that I am uncomfortable. I made the right call except a few times when the train stopped it had some power issue. The place quickly turned into a sweat shop, a most significant one at that. The economic class is a slower train and just people crammed in like sardines. I opted for business for an extra $6us as the economic was 30,000Ru.
Safety is different, people can hang out the sides of the doors, smoke in between trains and what not. Also when the train stops people come in selling a huge array of items. I bought a few things and appreciated the service. The train took 7 hours from Sarabaya (2nd largest city on Java) to Yogyakarta.
Arrived at Yogyakarta and this update here explains what happened. I found a place right in front of a coffee shop and set up shop. I laced my leg through my big pack and then put my feet on it, put arm through small pack and used it as a pillow. When you are tired you can sleep anywhere, seriously.
I opted for the train station because I had looked for a while, it was New Years, the streets were packed and everyone was loaded. As a result I thought I’d cut my losses instead of “going for gold”. The train station was the only place that I knew of where it had security, lights, people working with no interest in ripping me off and even security to even get to the platform. From there I opted for the most central, well lit place I could find. It turned out to be okay. Not so comfy but I can’t think of a better way when it’s already midnight on a big holiday and prospects are dim. I did not want to get into a cab and end up in the middle of town with no safe haven.
So now it’s 8am, I’m at the same wifi spot. Looks like the stock market took a beat down, much to my chagrin. Check out is at 1pm so I am going to start combing the streets looking for a place. If I can’t find one I’ll take a cab to another part of town. Simply put, I NEED a hotel. If I cannot find one, I will take a night train somewhere so I can at least sleep. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen. Typically going places with no room is OK, it’s just on holidays you need to plan, apparently.