Nihiwatu: more than just surfing

Trip Start Dec 29, 2010
Trip End Dec 05, 2011

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Flag of Indonesia  , East Nusa Tenggara,
Monday, July 18, 2011

Whilst Brad's main focus for the week was on getting to grips with the basics of surfing, we all did do some other fun activities. 

The staff of the hotel laid on a couple of really fun events:  one night was a horse-racing night, with horses racing along the beach at sunset.  Everyone was told that they had to wear a hat, and so everyone turned up with all sorts of home-made creations, most comprising bougainvillea or palm leaves picked from the hotel grounds. 

The next day Brad and I bravely decided to ride the same horses with a guide.  The hotel guide described them as 'spirited'.  I would probably describe them as completely nuts.  It took all the strength in my left arm to stop mine from cantering back to its home, but then once we were some distance from the stables it relaxed into it and we had a good canter along the beach.  Then we headed up a steep hill amongst huge bamboo trees, palms and banana trees, and past lots of beautiful Sumbanese houses, and villages full of children waving and smiling at us.  Many of them seemed to find the sight of us very funny, then it dawned on us that Brad is significantly taller than your average Sumbanese, and the horses are a strong, small breed and so they were laughing at the fact that Brad's feet were virtually dragging on the floor.

The three families with younger children - us, the Australians and the Dutch - also took part in a sand-sculpting competition which everyone really enjoyed and which prompted lots of imaginative uses for bamboo and baby coconuts.  The Dutch family produced an amazing depiction of a windmill, complete with dyke, garden, flowers and a fence.  Brad and the kids made a great submarine, and Belle and Leon made an octopus.  I was in charge of making sure Benjamin didn't ruin any of the creations!

Our boys and Leon became increasingly obsessed with the turtle hatchery at the back of the boathouse, often going there to see if any more turtles had hatched.  They were rewarded with over 50 turtles hatching overnight on the last day, and they helping to release them into the wild, watching them all making their way to the ocean.  Another 'Diego' moment for Zach, who was ecstatic....

On the last night, the staff of Nihiwatu put on a really nice barbecue down by the boathouse.  They decorated it beautifully with palm leaves woven into different shapes, and everyone sat at one big long table.  Benjamin - having gone to sleep on the sofa in the bar - was awake and being jiggled around by one of the bar staff.  I headed off to bed with him and left Brad having a final beer, watching some of the other guests and staff dancing on the bar.
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mike66jakarta on

What a wonderful trip! Next time if you want to visit Sumba again try to come around February or March to see the Pasola festival. It's a war game between groups of Sumbanese riding horses. But sometimes a bit violent so not suitable for kids.

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