As travelers in Bali, we are still trying to figure out the money thing. The exchange rate is kind of staggering — we get 13,517 rupiah for every U.S. dollar. So, we still laugh about getting to the airport and taking out 100,000 rupiah, thinking that was a good amount to get us started. We realized we had just withdrawn a little more than $7. We had to go back and get a million. Our wallets are now fat, since most bills are 50,000s.
Together with the fact that haggling is expected here, it can be pretty confusing to figure out what something is worth. Yesterday, we wanted to head northwest to the town of Pemuteran, which is very close to Menjangan Island, where snorkeling is supposed to be amazing. It was a long drive from where we were before, Ubud — maybe 4 hours or so. It sounded like we could have paid about 150,000 rupiah per person to take a bus most of the way there (total about $22), but we realized that a private car was not too much more. So, for about $50, we called up a driver we met a few days before. With our new friend Wayan, we got our own mini tour of Bali. Wayan took us to several beautiful stops, including this stunning lake:The drive itself was gorgeous, through rice fields, mountains, and loads of green.
We also stopped at the GitGit Twin Waterfalls. There, a guide tried to convince us to pay 300,000 rupiah per person to walk us to the waterfalls. In case you didn’t do the math, that’s about $45! We ended up deciding to go on our own, and the path was totally clear without a guide.
We had a sweet stop for lunch at Lovina Beach, where we got a laugh at the salt and “paper” shakers, and treated Wayan to some fried rice.
Lovina Beach was beautiful, famous for its dolphins. The sand was dark, but not quite the black sand from volcanic ash that we had heard about:
We made it to Pemuteran after a full day of adventure, where we had reserved a hotel room for about $40. Wayan told us that we were paying too much — we could find something for $10. Sigh. But hey, we got a welcome watermelon juice and we have a really cool bathroom with an outdoor shower. So, here’s to getting ripped off in style.