Loving it in Lombok
Trip Start Jan 27, 2009
42Trip End Ongoing
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I flew into Mataram on Sunday, February 8 and headed straight for Kuta Beach, Lombok, the antithesis of Kuta, Bali. It is a gentle town of mostly Sasak people with few bules. Sasak food it out of this world good, much better than any I had on Bali or Java.
I spent the week training English teachers pronunciation, vowel combinations, comparative/superlative, and advanced comprehension. I also taught three English classes in a local high school in Sengkol, the nearest town to Kuta. Next week I take the show on the road to Praya.
My host is my friend and proprietor of the Kuta Beach Hideaway Greg Luke, originally from suburban Chicago. He has arranged a local English teacher (name Lalo) fluent in English and very well connected with everything and everyone to open doors for me. Lalo has also been very kind, taking me to his home, introducing me to his wife, picking me up on his motorcycle to transport me to where I need to be, and knowing where I need to be since I pretty much don't.
While Greg may own the Hideaway, Nina runs it. Nina is a cheerful, laughing, chattering whirlwind of energy and it is best to let her run things. She is called "bibi" (aunt) by Greg's 4 year old son Willie, who is the light of Greg's life and a bundle of good natured fun and energy.
Greg is a very generous guy-- always giving away medicine when local people drop by who are ill, supplying local people with potable water, making me a guest in his home as his contribution to improving local schools. His bungalow has the most beautiful view in Kuta Beach. Travelers to Kuta Beach should stay at his incredibly beautiful beachfront bungalow (it's about $100 for one week) and help support a guy who truly gives it all back to the Sasak people.
Went to a stick fight on the beach yesterday. Pretty wild excuse to gamble and a sport, like bullfighting, more fun for the spectator than for the participants.
Rambutan are in season (the red fuzzy fruit). If you've never eaten rambutan, it is highly recommended you do so before you die.
Tonight is Nyale, the annual festival where sea worms are harvested. Local legend has it that Princess Mandalika was being courted by young men from four tribes and could not decide her favorite early enough. She became concerned that whichever one she picked would result in war from the other three tribes, so she threw herself off of a cliff, and every February strands of her hair return (nyale) to the island.
Federal Police (there is no local police in Kuta, just a type of neighborhood watch meets Guido system that apparently works quite well) arrived in large numbers in Kuta on Thursday and arrested all the beer in town. I kid you not. They made every place that served beer take it out from behind the counter and stack it in cases in the middle of the store/cafe. I( think all the Australians left town on Thursday as a result.) Apparently the beer made bail, as it was free from state custody on Friday.
Did not get pics at school - will get some in Praya.