Gareth Todd

Gareth is one of the guys who stayed in Krui for more than one month. Gareth, or Gaz as he is usually called, is from England. He came to Krui in the mid-September and only left earlier November 2014. Unlike other surfers who prefer to stay by the beach, Gareth stayed at a hotel in town most of the time for cheap. He only moved to a budget camp by the beach on the last weeks of his stay.

And probably, he is one of the guy who was blessed with so many bad lucks during his stay in Krui. He lost his left booth when he was surfing Krui Left a few days after he arrived in Krui. And a few days later, he got dings on his board when he was surfing LA. LA is the only break in Krui that he found he was very fond of later. But LA wasn’t so friendly for him. He broke his board at his first surf, and many times later.

He went up north in one fine morning heading to Jenny’s or Jimmy’s but then he came back to town empty handed. “I didn’t make it,” he said. Then I explained to him the locations and the landmarks he should notice which can lead him to the place, but then he never went back to Jenny’s. He might have found that places too far, I guess. Instead, he commuted to LA every morning which only about seven ks from the town.

Learning that his board absorbed water from the dings and the dings wasn’t just easy to mend, he gave up using it and tried looking for another board to buy.  He bought a used-board for 1 million rupiah. The board looked fine but then he broke it in half when he used it for the first time. “It was too much. It should have been half that price,” he said.

The next day, on his way back from LA he found his rear wheel flat while he was riding his bike, but luckily, he saw a tire patch shop nearby. And the next day when he was riding his bike to Ujung Bocor, he found his bank notes flew in the air behind him after he got bumped into deep potholes on the street. ‘I knew there were potholes, but I couldn’t swerve around abruptly because I could have hit my board with the bike handles if I did. The baggage got loosed because the shock was so big and the bank notes flew away out of it,” he said. “Then I stopped and picked my money on the street while local people watching.”

And that’s not whole.

He had some other bad lucks which I can’t tell you here.

And since his visa was to be expired soon. He needed an extension. He had to go to Bandarlampung, a city about 250 ks from Krui. He talked to a local guy who he can have his visa extended but he found the price was too expensive. “He asked for one million and a half,” he said. Then he talked to some camp managers and he was told that he could go to Kotabumi instead of Bandarlampung for cheap. “In Bali, you only need to pay 300,000,” he said. 

I talked to the manager of the hotel where he was staying whether he can help. The manager then called his friend who worked in the immigration office in Bandarlampung, but, still, the price was expensive. The manager’s friend said that he had to pay 1,250,000 rupiah, not including some overhead.  

Kotabumi is another town in Lampung province, about four hours drive from Krui. To go to Kotabumi, you’ll have to take your way via Liwa, a town about 32 ks north of Krui. I told him to take Krui Putra bus that goes to Bandarlampung via Liwa earlier in the morning, so he can arrive in Kotabumi at about noon and then back to Krui in the afternoon after he got his visa finished. Krui Putra bus that goes to Bandarlampung via Liwa will pass Kotabumi before she gets Bandarlampung. But he took a bus that goes to Bandarlampung via Kotaagung instead.

 “I don’t know. It was earlier in the morning and I didn’t see any Krui Putra bus in the office,” he said. “And then this bus came over me, and I asked, “Kotabumi?” and the bus boy said yes. So I got into the bus but then I found myself in Kotaagung, way too far away from Kotabumi.”

A trip to Kotabumi via Kotaagung is completely a wrong and crazy trip. You’ll have to get to Bandarlampung first because this bus doesn’t pass Kotabumi, and then take another bus to Kotabumi from Bandarlampung, which can take your whole day and drain your energy.

And Gareth found himself stranded in Bandarlampung bus station at about 2 o’clock in the afternoon before he could get another bus to Kotabumi. Although he was already in Bandarlampung, but he decided not to have his visa extended in that city. Kotabumi was his destination once and for all. 

“I was so mad. I gave the bus boy a hard time with everybody in the bus station watching,” he said. “Some people laughing out loud when they learnt what happened to me.”  

But at last he arrived in Kotabumi at about 5 o’clock in the afternoon. 

He had to spend a night in a hotel and go to the immigration office in the next morning. Luckily, the immigration office is only a stone throw from the bus station so he could find it all at once as he arrived at the station. But he found Kotabumi a dangerous town. “This town can kill me,” he said to me in a text message.
Finally, he got his visa done and tried to catch a bus back to Krui. “I had to pay the boss at the immigration 600,000 rupiah,” he said.

And again, he failed to get a Krui Putra bus from Krui to Kotabumi and had to go back to Bandarlampung instead. “I was like missing the bus. I saw the bus passing by on the street not very far from me. I cried out loud but nobody heard me,” he said. “I tried to negotiate with a bike taxi man to chase the bus, but they didn’t seem to understand what I said.”

Then he took a bus back to Bandarlampung.

But the bus that he took from Bandarlampung then didn’t go straight to Krui either, but to Liwa only.

He arrived in Liwa from Bandarlampung at about 10 o’clock in the night and found no more bus heading to Krui. 

Instead, he had to get a bike taxi from Krui to Liwa who charged him 150,000. 

And he arrived back in Krui at about midnight. 

He had spent close to 1,500,000 totally for a visa extension, plus a very arduous and emotional journey.

See you next year, Gareth.

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