Linus and I were picked up by our shuttle in Sengiggi, and whisked north along the coast to a staging area 200 meters away from the beach where we'd be boarding a small wooden boat to ferry us over to Gili Trawangan.
As we sat around, the “boatman” who would take us the rest of the way was chatting. Among other things, he mentioned mosquito coils. I knew what they were, though never bought them myself, so I had no sense of their regular cost. The boatman said they were not available on the island. I'm all about avoiding malaria and dengue fever, which meant I was about to make yet another foolish mistake.
The Lonely Planet speaks poorly of the port area, and it's a well deserved reputation. The people are very aggressive about picking up your bags and carrying them to the boat without your approval, in search of a tip. In fact, you had to cross a small stream to get to the boat and two guys literally carried Linus over it so he wouldn't get wet. It's not like he wanted them to be doing it either!
Back to the mosquito coils, the quoted price for a box of 10, with lighter, was 95,000 rupiah (about $10). Being that we were in transit, and I was concerned about the hijacking of my stuff as it was, I paid the piper. Supposedly my quoted price was lower than what he asked of the Spanish. The boatman also reassured me that it was the “regular” price.
A 40-minute ride in a long wooden boat with 20-25 people brought us to our island destination, where mosquito coils were available in every shop for the local price of about 30 cents. The screens were so good on the two rooms I had during the stay, I only used one full mosquito coil.
The lesson I learned on this one was to think of products and services in terms of the price locals would have to pay.