Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things that escape those who dream only at night. – Edgar Allen Poe
After mentioning the Hamburglar in my last blog, it gave me the idea of thinking of the 17 worst fictional characters to travel and backpack with. Everything from hostel life to organizing transportation and making new friends along the way, these are 17 of the worst travel companions you could encounter on the road, and unfortunately I’m sure you all have your own stories–just as I do–of those unforgettable characters that, at times, we only wish were fictional in our imaginations. And, to avoid angry lawyers and vicious lawsuits, all of the images are the copyrights of their creators or whomever they might have sold their souls for large sums of money and know control the creative rights.
CHEWBACCA: Practically a walking carpet that has no shot for being wingman of the year with incessant growling-sounds, plus one-time showering after him with clogged shower drains and you’d turn him in to the Empire.
ARIEL: Forget traveling overland across any continent, this fish out of water limits your travel plans to bodies of water, plus who wants to be seen with a ginger anyways, right?
ALAN GARNER: Besides waking up with a Mike Tyson tattoo imprinted permanently on your face and married to a hooker, he’s also ready to roofie you without warning.
CLAYTON BIGSBY: Besides being a loudmouth voice for bigotry, this blind black-white supremacist is sure to make you friends with everyone you meet.
MISS HAVISHAM: Talk about a hostel shut in. Forget trying to drag this old bag out to do anything as she sits and waits eating crusty old cake.
THE INCREDIBLE HULK: Besides always needing to shop for new clothing, talk about massive temper tantrums, the always end in violence.
BILL COMPTON: Surfing and beach days are out as you can forget about any daytime activities, traveling under the cloak of darkness and a trail of spilled blood.
RAMBO: Dealing with constant night terrors and flashbacks from Nam, John Rambo will eventually have you caught in the middle of a one-man civil war.
WALTER WHITE: Not only is he a Debbie Down with cancer, but every time you’re ready to move on, this bloke needs to make another batch of meth to sell–having every drug lord in the area chasing after you with a machete.
NEYTIRI: Searching out hostels that can accommodate a 9-foot blue giant would make life difficult, not to mention squeezing in to transportation in Asia.
HANNIBAL LECTER: Making friends is easy, that is, until it’s time for dinner and he’s ready to chow down on your face.
BRIAN FANTANA: Yes, he’d be the life of the party for a while, but share a few minutes around the stench of Sex Panther mixed amidst the heat and humidity of a chicken bus and you would be gagging for relief.
SMEAGOL aka GOLLUM: This shadow-lurking, raw-fish eating, weirdo tagalong will never leave your side until you give him your precious.
JANICE: OMG, what a set of pipes this broad has on her. And whatever you do, don’t try and be funny, even when you’re not trying.
JABBA THE HUTT: Endorses slavery and human cruelty, this tub of lard is sure to be the perfect compact traveling companion.
OSCAR THE GROUCH: If lugging around your own bag wasn’t enough, try carrying your travel buddy around in his smelling ole trashcan as he hurls insults as you as you go.
GRETCHEN WEINERS: So fetch, right? Not! Traveling with this brain-dead bimbo will have you ready to commit Harry Carry in no time.
First off, since I know some of you that have met or know me personal–whether that’s family or friends from back in the States, the new friends I’ve made throughout my travels and live throughout the world, or those that I’ve yet to meet and are planning their own adventures abroad–I know that some are just inquiring about the most up-to-date travel information, which is fine, so please feel free to scroll through as I’ve posted the budget friendly travel route from Bali (by air) to Lombok to the Gili Islands. On to my personal experience, which began early in the morning to the sound of an early morning rainstorm in Bali, where upon viewing this, it made me feel less guilty leaving the so-called envious current location that is much more well-known than perhaps the Gili Islands that are exactly 61.6 miles, according to Google maps. Previously setting my alarm to wake me at 7:45am, I take advantage of the extra amount of time by adjust this current blog format since I am assuming from previous travel experience that Wi-Fi will be slower connections speeds if consistent during my stay on the island.
Those that seek to be future ultra-light backpackers, is utilizing the space outside of your pack. For instance, I’ve used my rain jacket to cover my bag instead of an additional separate rain cover to carry, plus the advantage of having pockets on this jacket I can place easily accessible items such as my universal power adaptor and converter, iPhone charger, sunglasses, and headphones. Not only will this protect my items from getting wet, it also keeps prying hands that may come up from behind me attempting to pull at the zippers and spilling my contents, causing for a brief disorientation or distraction as something more sinister may be lurking. However, jokes on them, because not only do I do this for the weather element, but, underneath I use my thick-gauge combination lock to keep both zippers tightly secure. This is also in due part to the fact that, yes, my bag is slightly over-packed and the larger section occasional becomes slightly unzipped when I don’t do this. On a side note, a carabineer also does the same, but because I travel with my combination lock for securing my valuables (i.e. passport, credit cards, extra cash, and electronics), this is why I’ve added this extra bit of security. As you can see I’ve just taken the sleeves of my jacket and double-knotted them around the two shoulder straps. Simple. Easy. Secure.
After obtaining my boarding pass and shuffling through security, I was highly surprised, almost a bit nervous, with the fact that I was able to obtain an airline ticket and board the plane without showing a single piece of identification. I had my passport in my pocket, yet no one–not the ticket agent for Merpati Nusantara Airlines, airport security, or inflight crew–asked to confirm my identity. So, once again this is a good travel warning for those to keep passcodes on their smartphones otherwise anyone could have ended up using this purchased flight.
As you can tell from the photo, this was what I had imagined, just a bit smaller in size, since the flight duration is only 35-minutes from Bali to Lombok. First off, the smell aboard was atrocious and I almost wish there was a way to send smells digitally. It was a mixture of foul body odor and stagnant humidity. I suppose what the cologne that Brian Fantana, from the Channel 4 News Teams, Sex Panther, wears regularly. The flight was about 80% full as I counted only 32 seats for passengers.
LOMBOK TO SENGIGGI TO BANGSAL HARBOR - JANUARY 2014 PRICES
From the airport, don’t listen to any of the incessant pleas for the cheapest easiest option. Walk straight through and outside, again ignoring the taxi drivers and people that approach you.
There is a stand to the left with the bus company PERUM DAMRI and here you can purchase the ticket and the bus is normally just waiting outside past the hordes of taxi drivers. Once they realize you have purchased your transportation they will part like the Red Sea and wait to vulture upon another foreigner.
The bus may wait until the top of the hour, which I noticed, as the driver boarded just before 2pm where he ripped your ticket and we were on our way. Even though we changed buses, which is not standard, the journey was closer to 90-minutes than the quoted 1-hour 50-minute journey. Again, this may depend upon traffic, but my flight arrived in Lombok around 1:15pm.
From Sengiggi I read that the rate for taxi fares, since there doesn’t seem to be a local bus to Bangsal Harbor, should be around 70,000Rp. I noticed I was the only person to get off at Sengiggi, which never helps your negotiating powers in some ways, as you are an easy target, especially being alone. Immediately a taxi driver approached me and when I told him of my destination for the public boat to Gili Trawangan, he quoted the price of 200,000Rp ($16.77) for the 18km trip along the coast. I said 70,000Rp and he immediately went down to 150,000Rp then to 100,000Rp. I took my time went in to a shop since I needed to use the bathroom, but no luck, came back out hoping other taxi drivers would approach me, but the same guy and no one else.
More negotiating and patience, and we finally settled on 80,000Rp (0.83 cents difference) for the 35-minute trip along the coast to Bangsal Harbor.
When we arrived 100m or more short of the pier, I pulled out two 50,000Rp notes and he said he had no change, which I knew he would use this as an excuse. I told him then I would get change and bring it back. This of course prompted him to drive me all the way to the pier where I purchased my public boat ticket for 13,000Rp ($1.09) and gave him his change. *Note that arriving later than 6pm there are no public boats across.
PUBLIC BOATS FROM BANGSAL TO GILI:
These operate from 8AM – 5PM (and rare after 4pm, but I boarded around 4:30pm).
Only purchase from the official Koperasi Angkutan Laut Karya Bahari office located on the waterfront to the left (believe it was a blue building).
**BEWARE YOU WILL GET MOBBED APPROACHING THE WATERFRONT BUT IGNORE ALL PEOPLE, SAME EVEN AFTER YOU PURCHASE AS PEOPLE INQUIRE ABOUT YOUR RETURN AND ATTEMPT TO SELL YOU ON OTHER VESSEL OPTIONS**
The speedboats on average charge around 400,000Rp ($33.55) and will get you to the island in 25-minutes as opposed to the slow boat that the locals use for a fraction of the cost. Yes, you wait a bit and there can be some overcrowding as other items being transported are loaded before the passengers, but I had a fine seat and my bag was well secured. Still arrived at the same location as others, but at a fraction of the cost.