Monday, November 29, 2010

Secret Society Leader turns into friendly helper.

View from Indonesia, how we came home? in a larger map

This is the biggest gamble in our trip. Even we seeked advise from Ulrich, the local travel overland expert, he do not have much information about getting in or out of Indonesia via Dumai. We do read on some previous posting on a forum that it is not advisable to ship bike from Malaysia to Dumai of Indonesia but right now we are doing the opposite way. So we would want to try Dumai. Maybe we can get a system on how the shipping works? Then we can let our Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand friends know and we can ride into Indonesia together!
Most bikers use Medan – Peneng for shipping. Both are major cities and logistic are made easier.
We are in Bukittinggi, 12 July 2010. Our aim is to reach Malacca before Crystal birthday on 20 July. Crystal is one of Samantha’s best friend. 2 of Samantha’s other best friend will be at Malacca for Crystal’s birthday. We want to make this a joyous day and event, marking Crystal being the first of our friends to be ‘seen’ by us.
To meet this target, we have 2 choices.
1) the faster way is to go by Dumai but there we will miss Lake Toba, road to Dumai is bad from what we heard, shipping is not reliable and Dumai is a cow boy town.
2) the safer way is to go north to Medan where many bike travelers has used this port for shipping their bike to Malaysia but it is about 650km and it will take us 3-4 days to reach Medan before we can start the shipping procedures. We may be late for Samantha’s friend gathering date.
I decided to take route #1. we need to go Dumai. It will take us 418km and 2 days journey. In between these 2 town, we would stop at Pekan Baru as we heard there are possible shipping from there, which, nobody wants to entertain us.
14 July 2010: we reached Dumai. We tried to ask around for a ferry that is able to get both of us with the bike on one boat across to Malacca but the only ferry service told us that we have to seek approval from the Port Master of the harbor on putting the bike on the fast ferry. We tried to get the best info on how to find the Port Master. One kind soul sincerely took us to look for the correct person. He is actually late in fetching his 6 years old daughter to school.
As usual, Samantha will be with the bike looking after everything we have and I will go into the office to do the business.
A guy named Mazuki came over. He tried to fulfill our wish but he need to confirm with us tomorrow. No promise. We have to come back again tomorrow.
15 July 2010: we got out of the flimsy HOTEL with a Malaysian tourist pestering us to lend him $200 because he do not have money to go home with his wife as his parents are supposed to transfer a large sum of money to his bank. We went to the harbor office to wait for the Port Master. Waited… from 830am to 11am, we finally saw Mazuki and he introduce us to a Port Master. He has big moustache above his lips. He never smiled. He had lots of badges on his uniform. He lighted his cigarette and blew his smoke onto the air. He did not have eye contact with me. Mazuki translated my English to him on what I wanted. Port Master blew more smoke onto the air, gave me a look that I am disturbing his time and he took up his mobile phone to call someone. His actions were very slow, like a secret society leader drinking tea with another leader. Then he told Mazuki that my request cost 2.2 million rupiah. Passanger cannot go with the bike as the cargo boat cannot take in private passangers.
** to buy off passanger ferry ticket, it cost about 0.5 million rupiah for both of us.**
Then I counter offer him 3 million rupiah inclusive of everything! The bike and 2 passengers together for 3 million rupiah! The port master suddenly put down his both legs on the ground, sat straight, threw away his cigarette to the floor, heads leaning forward to me, eyes enlarged by 50% and trying to reached out his ears:
3 million rupiah for everything? He questioned.
I stressed that it’s for bike and 2 passengers together. I am giving him 0.3 million rupiah extra.
Port master suddenly had a big smile on his face, made a few phone calls and ask me to follow his private car to the port. Surprisingly it was lunchtime now and he would still want to ‘work’.
Port master bought us to the port. Loaded Hope Too onto a big net and hoisted it into a cargo boat.

I asked:
What about us?
He said we have to take passanger boat.
But you just said 3 million including us with the bike?!
He misunderstood… we have to take another boat separately with the bike.
We asked for shipping documents. He said no need, just go to Malaysia side and look for ‘orrr kit’.
Orkit? Any address or telephone number for orkit?
He took out a crumbled paper and showed us : orchid shipping agency with address and contact number.
So now… we are at risk. We paid him 3 million rupiah, we leave Indonesia and he could retain the bike in Indonesia for sale or even ship to other countries. We do not have any proof.

In the port master's vehicle!

In the end, we took his private vehicle, went to the passenger ferry terminal and took a ferry to Port Klang, Malaysia, leaving Hope Too with the cargo boat in Indonesia.

I have to carry so all these panniers and bags. the bag on the extreme left is not mine.
16 July 2010, the bike is supposed to arrived in Malaysia. We called that Orchid Shipping contact number given to us… it was not Orchid Shipping. It was not a correct number.
Oh no…

Friendly port master (right) and the shipping agent (left)

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