Our day started off well, up at 7.30am, showered, packed and with a takeaway breakfast.
We left Yogyakarta BnB and started walking to the train station. It was quite cool at first, with a nice breeze and the sun not hot yet.
We had a 20 minute walk along the roads, by the end we were quite tired and hot. My backpack was sitting funny and although only 20 minutes it felt a lot longer.
We could see the train station, but couldn’t get into it. There was a huge fence and so we had to walk the length of the station to the entrance and then all the way back up.
We queued at a ticket counter and then when at the front asked for 2 tickets to Probalinggo. He asked if it was for today, which we said yes. There should be a train in 20 minutes. Full. All trains to probalinggo full today.
Oh great. What will we do now? We asked if we could get part way there but he said no, only bus.
We went to the customer services desk to double check they were full and then when that was confirmed where the bus station was. She wrote it on a scrap of paper for us and we headed to the exit.
We got a taxi for from the station and hoped we could get a bus.
At the bus station we asked for a bus to probalinggo and they said we would have to get a bus to Serabya and then onto Probalinggo.
We were pointed in a lot of directions and were thoroughly confused. A lady running a drinks stall smiled at us and so we decided to ask her instead of all the men that kept telling us different information.
She told us the next bus was at 12pm and so we would have a 2 hour wait. At this point a younger girl came over who could speak good English and asked what we were trying to do.
She directed us onto a bus that was waiting. She told us to be careful as bags can get snatched from the buses. So we sat on a 3 seater with all our bags in between us.
We had just sat down when the girl came onto the bus and said that this was the main public bus. There was an executive bus with air con and was just nicer that we could go on for about a pound extra.
We jumped up and took our stuff onto the executive bus. It was freezing with the air con and had music blaring from the speaker right next to us!
The bus conductor came over and took our bags, putting them behind the back seats. We were only 3 rows in front of them so we could keep an eye on them.
We set off at 9.30am and when we paid for our ticket, he said it would be 6 hours.
We put our hoodies on and tried to block out the Indonesian power ballards. I fell asleep, waking with dribble on my cheek and a sore tongue where I must have been biting it. I had slept for about an hour. I tried to get back to sleep but couldn’t quite get there.
B was able to read but that makes me feel sick so I just looked out the window and finally I did fall back to sleep.
I woke to B telling me it was good time. We had been given a little slip with our ticket and it seemed this was where we used them.
We got off the bus, straight to the toilet. This was not a squat toilet, it was just a plug sized hole in the corner. Strange. Relived but with wet flip flops we found a table and sat down. We were in a large tiled room, which I guess is the service station.
A man came over with a tray of iced tea which we took gratefully. They took our slips which we had chosen Nasi Ayam, which is chicken rice.
We both looked pretty tired and I was looking forward to food. However when it arrived, mine had a hair on the cucumber, B had a fly in her rice and the chicken was black and rock hard.
I had a few mouthfuls of rice but B couldn’t even manage that. We drank the iced tea and then tried to get on wifi so we could email the homestay that we wouldn’t be with them at 5pm as expected.
Back on the bus, we hungrily ate a spring roll that we had with us from last night. We bought a sprite from the shop and shared it between us.
Back on the road, we both fell asleep again. I woke up and the loud music had stopped and it was Mr Bean on the TV!
I watched a few episodes including the Christmas one where he gets his head stuck in a turkey. It was perfect as you don’t have to hear it as he speaks so little.
Once this finished, Pete’s Dragon film came on. I’d never seen it but it was quite a good film, although a tall man’s head was in the middle of the subtitles.
However I don’t know how it finished as I fell asleep again!
6 hours came and went. On the map, we were still far from the station. Maybe he meant 6pm not 6 hours?
The Indonesian music was back on now along with music videos. I watched them for a bit, now not feeling sleepy. B was awake too so we had each other to keep company.
6pm came and went. Who knew when we were due to arrive?
At 7.30pm, we were about 20 minutes away on the map and so we looked around. The man behind us stood up and asked where we were going and he said this was it and to be careful.
We got up and B got our bags from the back. The seats opposite were empty so we could use them.
A man in blue trousers and jacket asked where we were headed. He seemed very concerned for us when we said probalinggo. We asked if we could get a car straight there but he said that we needed to get the bus.
He said that the station was very dangerous and that we needed to be very careful. B looked terrified and I know she just wanted to get into a safe car even if it cost a lot more.
We asked him again about a car but he was adamant we needed to take the bus.
The guy from behind us explained this man was a captain and so we should listen to him. We nodded although a captain of what we weren’t sure. Maybe a policeman?
The captain said he would help us when we got off, to which we were very thankful.
As the bus came Ito the station he told B to zip her hoodie up to the top, that we needed to stay close to him and look straight ahead. Scary!
He put his hat on…Captain Airforce! Well hello solider!
He got off the bus first and we were greeted with 5 different men offering taxis. He held up his hands and firmly said no.
We walked quickly behind him and through the station. To be honest it didn’t seem very scary. It wasn’t very busy, they were just taxi drivers. However, I was glad to have an escort and know we were going to be on the right bus.
We went up and then down the other side and he told us that he would say we were his sisters. His name was August (pronounced A-goose).
He found our bus and told us to get on. We found a seat together right at the back just in front of the back door. August got on by the back door and told the bus conductor to look after us. He put our bags on the back shelf again and we said goodbye to August, thanking him for all his help and kindness.
The bus was an economy standard bus and full to the brim. Whilst at the station we had offerings of drinks, food, toys, socks by men selling and then we were seranaded by a guy singing with his guitar.
Each time one of them came near us the bus conductor told them no. It was nice to know he was looking out for us as directed by August.
With it being a normal bus, there were a lot more stops and people getting off and on. It was so busy there were people stood down the middle in the aisle.
A guy in army uniform was sat opposite and asked where we were going, just nodding in response when I said Probalinggo.
Halfway through the journey an elderly lady joined the bus from the back door and he offered his seat to her. He then leaned against my seat, with his left bum cheek on my shoulder. Very firm!
It was so hot, and I could feel a migraine starting. We had only had a bit of rice and spring roll all day and I know we hadn’t drank enough.
My body temperature lost control and I started to shiver. A bad sign on a boiling hot bus. I leant forwards and started rummaging in my bag for my sumatriptan tablets. B asked what I was looking for but I just said my phone as I didn’t want to worry her. I took a tablet slyly but then realised that I had lost the space on my own chair by leaning forward. The solider was now leaning further onto my chair and so there was no room to lean back.
I leant my head against the seat in front and tried to find the right pressure point to help the pounding in my head.
The bus conductor asked where we were staying and we showed him on the map. He said hotel, so we said yes to agree that we had booked somewhere.
Another 20 minutes and he tapped us on the shoulder to say we were coming up to our stop.
The solider helped us with our bags and we jumped off the bus. As the bus drove away we realised he had dropped us off at a hotel, but not hotel.
We logged onto the internet but there was no grab or Uber’s available. I could see B was stressed and so we crossed the road to go into the hotel and ask them for help.
They were useless. They couldn’t call us a taxi and refused to give us any help other than that the bus station was 10 minutes walk and we could get a yellow car from there.
We walked off and B set off at a very quick pace. I stubbed my toe on the uneven stoney path. Ouch.
We walked for about 8 minutes and spotted a yellow minivan across the road which we guessed was a taxi and crossed over.
Too tired to argue over the price we got into the back which had no door and just 2 bench like seats with bars against the windows.
20 minutes later we arrived at Clover Homestay at 11pm. We checked in and told the receptionist there was no way we were getting up in 3 hours to do the sunrise trip up Mount Bromo.
The room was lovely, the clean smell hot is as soon as we entered and the cool air con too. We each had a shower with hot water and then got into our pjs and straight into bed.
My migraine tablet was starting to work and I had avoided fuzzy vision or being sick which I was very pleased with.
We didn’t set an alarm but turned off the lights so grateful to be lying down and clean.
Although a pretty horrible day, I was very glad to be with B. We are both similar and rather than give up when the train was full we just looked for the next option. Apart from a little wobble when we got off the bus at the hotel, we both stayed isotope and just made a joke out of things.
Sazzle is here somewhere.