Over and Under Water

Trip Start Mar 26, 2009
Trip End Jul 18, 2011

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Flag of Indonesia  , Nusa Tenggara Barat,
Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The island of Lombok is about 5 hours away from Bali by ferry, its marked down as the new place to be in the guide book but to be fair i think its been known for quite a while yet took a massive blow after the bombings as its main tourism comes from the Bali overspill. We wanted to check it out as it looked as though we could get to know more the people over on other indonesian islands getting a little bit away from the main drag.

The ferry crossing went pretty smoothly, the best thing as always is to get tickets from the main centre as too many hawkers bumped up prices for their own profit. We also declined the "quickly" fast boat going in with the local crossing. There were few people on board the ferry so we managed to get a table outside and read for a while looking at the horizon every so often when the rocking began to make the old stomach do somersalts when we reached the open water. As we arrived at Lombok it looked pretty similar to what we had left behind, a dense tropical vegetation clinging to the rugged coast with a few beach huts out on some of the small peninsular which were clearly being lived in by fishermen. The port was more industrial than i had imagined and had waiting for us as had expected the usual hawkers offering us rides to where ever we wanted to go all over the island for the "best prices". We had already eyed up a few fellow backpackers and so we ended up sharing with a French Canadian guy and his Korean girlfriend in shuttle to the beach resort of Sengiggi for a price of 50,000 rps each. The short hour drive grabbed my attention of we were in new land which now had the inclusion of horse and carts in the traffic and also the distinct lack of western influence, both things pleased me. Another thing to note was the amount of mosques that where scattered everywhere, Indonesia has one of the highest Muslim populations in the world and in Lombok they outnumber the Hindus 4 to 1 at least. We later learned that Lombok was called the island of a million mousques, a wild figure but definitely most prominent in the 3 million population. Sengiggi is about an hour from the Lembak port and is the main hub for people to use to explore the other islands of flores and the komodo island. its also located right next to the gili isles which are also a turning into a major holiday destination in Indonesian with three small tropical islands each one smaller in size just a few km from the coast offering wild parties and excellent snorkelling.

To say we are in the wet season aside from the guaranteed shower in the evening that you almost look forward to take the humidity out of the air, we had had it pretty easy so far... that was until after we arrived. As after the usual cruise of the local hotels we still had not found anywhere suitable as they were either out our budget or just a little bit grotty. The one that seemed to be the winner due to location was Hotel Helen, which was cheap and cheerful but was smack bang right next to a mosque which preached troughout the night with a megaphone from the dominating tower. We then found ourselves trapped in the little hut of one of the many reps on the main street, who had a hotel a little out of town which interested us, just as the heavens really opened. The storm came on quick and within a matter of minutes the sky had fallen dark and the rain pounded down relentlessly in large drops leaving a haze of white on the road as puddles began to form. It was intense, that much so that we thought that we thought it must be over in a few minutes... we were wrong. The shelter of the rep soon became a local restaurant next door and from there we had to succumb to the delights of Helen after the hours rolled by and we still had no home at 9pm. Not the best nights sleep, especially when the water and power were knocked out in the storm leaving us to sweat it out with no fan and a many uninvited insect to nibble on us to the soundtrack of “allllllllaaa, allllllla” at hour intervals but hey you have to take the rough with the smooth.   
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