With a little delay – I continue with Indonesia 🙂
After mostly muslim Java, we arrive to hindu Bali. Temples everywhere. Incense sticks are burning at every door, there are also mini baskets with flowers, rice or any other small gifts for gods. The ferry ride from Java takes around half an hour and ships are in “their own quality standard”. The significant difference on Bali compared to Java is that you have to negotiate for everything. Literally everything. And the initial price is usually expensive even for european standard.
According to Lonely planet our bus ticket should be around 60-80 thousand rupiah for both of us and our initial price was 150 000 per person! Yes sure! When I am in a good (bargain) mood it bargain can be really fun and Indonesians are really funny to negotiate with. They could get at least nomination of Oscar as they can be such a good actors! My initial price for everything is always 10 000 rupees. As they can bump prices to the sky, I can dump them down with no offence, and my friend hates me for that. She always get screwed and buys everything else what they offer, but I always insists at my 10 000 rupiah price. After awhile negotiating for the bus ticket, they come up with the idea that the bus doesn’t drive today and they can call a friend with a car to take us to our destination. After awhile they gave up and says that bus goes in one hour. Our price offer is still “to make us bankrupt” and we are the worst people on the Earth as we don’t know that prices of gasoline had gone up to hundred thousand per cent in last 3 months and our Lonely planet is surely outdated and this is definitely the best price especially for us. After a hard negotiation procedure we agreed on price slightly higher than the lonely planet one (it was clear that all prices are going to be bit higher). We pay for the bus, guy jump down leaving us without any ticket. No, you can’t get screwed twice in 5 mins! We were a bit worried that the bus driver is going to sell us the “true” ticket again, but luckily nothing like this happen. The guy that sold us tickets, magically appears on the bus 5 mins later.
The same ceremony follows when we are barging for the price for the rooms. Well, people here mostly make their living from tourism. After a day we realise that is better to book over booking.com without negotiating for the price. Still cheaper. Once we finally agree on the price, I want my coconut on the beach. The coco palms are everywhere and there are piles of coconuts along the road. Yes, I have to negotiate for the price again.
You can notice special barging abilities of indonesians at every temple you visit. For religious purposes you have to wear a sarong. Kind of huge headscarf that you put around your waist. In some temples the sarong is already counted into price, in another you have to make a donation, or even buy a special ticket to borrow a sarong. Next to every temple there are bunch of stands selling millions of sarongs and all the other things. When you pass by every item cost 10 000 rp – yes, like my initial price for buying everything. Sooner or later you realize that is better to buy your own sarong instead of paying every time you visit a temple. I choose one that I like and price immediately jumps to 50 000. Why? Because of this color. This color very expensive. Because very good quality. Because very big. Because better. Because good price for you can lucky for me. I insist at her initial price of 10K. Well, is your fault, you offered it at that price. It’s clear they want to sell the things to you, they will still make at least 5 times more money than selling it to any local person. It is very funny to just watch the expressions of Indonesians once you give them (again) your price. It is like you just killed all their family, because they had been working for two month to sew the headscarf and now you want to buy it for 10 000. After awhile girl says that 10 000 is only for rent and that she is willing to sell it to me, if I put a bit more for the lucky for her and lucky for me. Put few thousand more and that’s it. No, actually that’s not it! Now I definitely need another one in different color (and another color is again more expensive) or I can buy two the same one – because it is the special price just for me.
The same was when my friend was buying her pants. I made the little shopping on Java already and the manages to find the best pants ever at most negotiable unfriendly sellers. The pants were clearly expensive and they didn’t want to lower the price not even for 5 000 rp. And of course I forbid her to buy them. She was pissed – “I want those pants!”. Few days later we found the same pants at another market at better “morning price” and in the end we bought two for lower price that already good morning price. The saleswoman actually called her husband if she can sell them to us at that price (we are clearly still “gringos”) so we were sure it was good price.
Another thing when shopping even in the morning price hours when sellers don’t want to negotiate half an hour for something is that you have to give your price. When shopping for my bangla bag I thought it can’t cost more than 45 000. It was in the morning when we pass the market at the seller just asked me – ok, just give me one real price, we are not negotiating in the morning. No no. You tell me the price. When the first morning price was 50K you know that you are still going to pay half of it in the end.
Well, even if you get screwed, that is going to cost you like 2 or 3 euros, but when you fall into indonesian prices you are in their prices – bad barging can cost you few dinners 🙂