On arrival to Kuta Lombok Levi was unidated by a group of local girls running the market stalls along the beach
. They were all his friends from the many trips he has taken to Lombok. The sarong girls were all giggles and smiles as he flirted and reveled in all the attention. He is considered a local by many of the locals. My favorite girl was a fiesty young one who kept saying her pineapples were the best in the west. I ended up teaching the pineapple girl a few lines to lure in the few passing tourists. "You look good, but you would look better eating a pineapple." I hope her sales go up. She reminded me of some of my students back in Long Beach, but she sadly doesn't go to school. She has to make sure those delicious pineapple are sold.
The next morning the winds were up early with Levi and I. We motorbiked our way through the palm groves to the outriger canoes in the next village to get a ride out to a right hand reef break called Gropuk. It was on the small and windy side, but still fun. Of course, a bad day surfing is better than a god day at work. We surfed for couple of hours and then made it back for our free breaky at the hotel. After a quick recharge of batteries and nutrients we headed to another wave a forty minute motorbike ride away. The ride takes you over hills and through valleys dotted with small villages tending rice paddies, water buffalo, goats and whatever else they can manage off the land. The young kids love to yell "hello!" and hold out their hands for a slap as you zip past them on the motorbike. It is a very simple happy life they lead
. Observing a moment of it is a travelers fuel. Their quick smiles and giggles were often capture by Levi's ever ready camera. The beach of destination, Mawi, is a right and left hander with a surrounding scenery of a seascape that could inspire the most traveled of eyes. Virgin beaches lined the bays formed by dramatic headlands that swooped down from the hills of Lombok. Crystal clear water swirled over the flat reef as I took off on a peaking right hander that pitched itself over me two times before the ride ended. Levi captured it the camerera. How happy was I? Very. The sunset was a golden display of Mother Earh's treasures. How moved was I? Very.
The swell picked up the next couple of days. The sideshore wind at Mawi made it a bit too difficult to get into the bombs exploding down the reef. Levi and I had a few attempts at them proving to be nasty whoopings. A stand out moment was when a set came, Levi turned and paddled, I was cracking up as Levi committed to the particularly hefty one and was smashed by the heavey lip. Of course I was destroyed on the next one I tried to get a piece of. I ended up snatching two good ones out of the four I attempted. When the waves get this heavey I tend to just put my head down and paddle for anything. My judgement is not my best quality when it comes to surfing bigger waves, which equates to getting a thorough thrashing quite often.
Looking for a better wave Levi and I journeyed our way to Desert Point
. A two hour challenging journey turned out to be m anyhours of ulsar causing stress. It was the most intense six hours of my entire trip so far. Armed with a helmet, a weak manual motorbike, surf board, a couple pieces of clothing, my journal, sky map, and flip flops I bit the inside of my cheeks and put my faith in Levi's judgement to get us to our destination. The hills we rode through were lined with the worst roads I have ever experiened. Massive pot holes and loose gravel challenged my novice motorbike skills. After almost stacking it on a nasty descent the grinning and laughing locals just shook their heads and rattled off something to me as I tried to keep my heart rate under control. I just smiled and laughed nervously. At one point Levi gave a young man a lift for part of the trip and we found ourselves drinking coffee and chatting with his extended family in his village. They were all just stairing at us nodding and smiling using a few of their English words as we sipped on the ultra sweet syrupy caffine saturated blend. Buying them a few cigarettes upon request we said goodbye. The journey continued along "roads" that were not on the map. The scenery I was later told by Levi was spectacular. I was too busy biting holes in my cheeks and dodging craters in the road to notice. At one point a concerned local man road next to Levi and told him to very careful in this area and to not stay there too long because of the many robbers and shady characters. I was at my wits end as we road up a one particullary nasty hill
. I lost control and headed into a bush. I was cursing and spitting mad at the perdicament. Why the hell was I riding a motorbike on this 'f'ing piece of Earth. I was thinking "I hate motorcycles and I hate that I suck on motorbikes, I hate that I will probably crash and I hate that I have no insurance". Bouncing along the road I burnt my naked ankle on the hot transmission and cursed more at the situation. I spat in the general direction of Levi as he rode gracefully ahead. He was loving the trip. He was just smiling, swirving potholes on his bike, fiving the little cheering kids outstretched hands, listening to his iPod. All while I was burning holes in my stomach just trying not to fly over the handle bars and become a cripple.
We finally arrived to Bangko Bangko, Desert Point. My nerves were rattled. I just wanted to sit down and calm the nerves. As we watched a pefect waves come through a surfer was barrelled three times as he raced down the left hand reef while the sun cast its last rays for the day. I calmed as the evening progressed with Nasi Gorang the local fried rice dish and a cool coke. Levi and I posted up in a hut on the point. A thin mattress and a mosquito net were the only furnishings, simple but comfortable. Just how I like it.
Levi and I met few of the surfing crew sharing time at the point. Christian Flether was one of them. He is a pro surfer covered in tattoos and full of crazy stories of his youth. I ended up using the skymap with him to point out a few constellations in the moonless night. Feeling like a teacher again. I headed for bed and discovered that the mosquito net seemed to only capture the critters inside causing for an annoyed and restless night.
The next morning the surf had backed off but Levi and I were able to capture a few race tracks. The barrels were a bit too fast for my backhand stance
. I ended up getting a axed after trying to blitz a looming section far down the line. Still releshing the brief moments of tube time I popped up just laughing in the foam. With nothing to do but surf and watch surf on the point. The day was spent enjoying the freedom of travel under a palm shading shelter chatting with and interviewing a few folk for my "feature travellers", and surfing the point. The swell was dropping so Levi and I debated on heading back down to Kuta Lombok or staying another night. I made the call to stay another night because I was hoping the waves would pick up in the morning and I didn't want to get back on the motorbike just yet.
The waves didn't come, we jumped on the motorbikes and began the trip back to Kuta, Lombok. The journey was much better than before. A couple of days were
With the swell lacking Levi and I got to packing. We booked a forty dollar flight to Lombok, a neighboring island. Lombok is about 90% Muslim. The people here are more aggresive than the jolly Balinese. For example on arrival the airport taxi drivers had mobbed around us hassling us to jump into one of their blue taxis. One little guy was yelling and running around us grabbing our luggage and then decided that we should eat some of his Pringle potato chips. A stack of chips were thrust into our hands and then hands were guided to our mouths. He then began to run between cars shouting out the price. A non airport taxi driver gave us a better deal. We began to head to his car and then the mood shifted from fun and games a big argument between the mob of airport taxi drivers and the lone nonairport taxi driver. He backed down and we got a discounted fare with the airport taxis.