Jember-East Java, Road Trip.
As we passed through the very average villages past Jember, I couldn’t get over the number of people hanging out all over the roads. The interesting and disturbing thing here was the number of people begging from Jember to the Ijen Cliff Resort we were heading to.
First, people begged on the beautiful winding road we headed down on. This went on for many kilometers. They had dozens of little huts set up and I assume they are professional beggars. This drive was amazing, but also incredibly saddening in what we saw. Second, was the amount of begging through these “road checks” by little villages who are gathering money for the Mosque building.
Not what you think.
These roadside checks are set up with speakers and a microphone and essentially bully you into giving money. At first, this seems interesting. Passing through dozens and dozens of these checkpoints was annoying.
These checkpoints involve putting up certain pylons or drums on either side of the road. Close enough together that one needs to slow down to pass through them.
While you slow down, the locals will approach the car with buckets or hats to ask for donations. This is a little scary and a bit too much. When you see three to five people hounding you for money and hackling you on loudspeakers… Well, this sure ain’t no tourist attraction for the village.
This tidbit here will be a little controversial. Jado and I are both seasoned travellers and we have lived in Indonesia long enough to know how things work.
I have a work permit and Jado is a citizen of Indonesia. He has an Indonesian passport. However, the gouging and double standard reared up its ugly head more than once during our trip through Bromo, Ijen, and even to Bali.
As long as you have a work permit or are a citizen you should get the local price. Pay taxes here like a local and be served as a local. In Bali, this happened in a restaurant with my brother and I. The local menu and the tourist menu. Yes, wages are different and why should the tourist not pay more? Depends on how you look at it. People visit Indonesia because it’s cheap. If they wanted to pay more they could go to many other places.
So how did it happen?
One incident was at Bromo volcano when they didn’t want to let me in as a local. They wanted $10 CND more despite having my paperwork in order. Now, this is to see a volcano, not a show or a professional service. These petty little things came up after we had already agreed on a price and given a 50% deposit to the driver. The guys work in tandem with the checkpoints.
They all make a little extra and split the commission. Jado was having none of it. As they were going to charge extra, we proceeded to leave the vehicle. In a matter of seconds, the three guys changed their minds and let us in with the previously agreed pricing. This was not carved in stone. This get-rich-quick scheme also happened to us at the location of a hot spring. Because of my scooter accident, I didn’t use the facilities and only ate at the local restaurant. Yet they wanted to charge double for the bath usage when they knew full well I didn’t use the facility. These unpleasant moments puts a black spot on travel in Indonesia. The mentality of the people needs to change. No tips for you guys…
road trip, East Java, Surabaya, Bromo Volcano Traveling, Travelling Explore Indonesia, photography, travel blog Indonesia,