Today – being day 3 – Crissy, Crissy’s mum (AKA Mamabear) and I, have a new driver and to get the ball rolling he took us to an ‘artist’s village’ that we didn’t ask to go to. Being that he’s a local we took a punt and decided to explore as he must know the best places to go. What we got was a silver shop in which pieces are mass-produced, put on sale at a high price to which, had we paid our driver would have gotten a commission. Again the same hard sell, follow you around pushing the ‘bargain’ pricing, bordering on desperation. We held firm, being cheap and having principles and left nonplussed as I suspect was everyone else involved.
Next we went to a great art gallery which was the same sort of set up, admittedly it did have some really good paintings and local feeling, and I did enjoy browsing. Noticing that many had been certified as original one offs, I decided to ask if I could take some photos for the blog and share the local artists but no photos are allowed. Its hard not to be cynical at this point about the reasons why but I can’t help speculating that these originals were just a selection of a long line of just such works.
We foolishly mentioned our hiking intentions for the next day which our driver overheard and – lacking any sort of tact professionalism and courtesy – proceeded to repeatedly mention that his friend who could get us a better deal (this before we even mentioned the price we were paying) and even kindly – and unexpectedly – drove us to said friend without telling us that was his intention. Eager for a bargain, we listened and he gave us a price more expensive than we were paying, and then dropped it to what we were already paying, rendering the trip pointless. In the end we managed to get a better deal from our original arrangement, it’s worth noting that everything can pretty much be bartered down to 50% or more off if you bargain hard, such is the mark up put on prices for tourists.
As you can tell by my tone, I was already jaded by the way we were seen as cash cows to be milked but it didn’t end there. As soon as we got to our hotel, we were accosted for a massage by the locals, it’s a terrible, desperate advert for any place but here it is par for the course. The scenery was great however and the air clean, and we looked forward to our 4am hike. Winding down in the evening, we decided to turn on the TV and take in some Indonesian TV. There was one channel of what looked like a serious drama but with a laughter track. There was also a lock on both the inside and outside of the bathroom door, and a mosquito net liberally coated with bug spray which made for a less than pleasant sleep. Read the rest of this entry »