Yay Indonesia got me back again! Sad to say goodbye to Vietnam and my dear boyfriend, I landed via Singapore in Bali in the evening. The
pick up worked well and soon I checked in at Grandma‘s Hotel not too far from the airport - as I took a morning flight the next day to Lombok. Although it was a short day in Bali, I got welcomed
by a fantastic sunset over the clouds and friendly people which brought immediatley memories from my stay last year back.
One exception and this was mostly my fault was that I got scammed at the airport. Usually knowing to say no I just realized too late that a so-called „portier“ assisted me with my luggage brought it to the checkin counter - but obviously not for free. I told then that I have no cash and he insisted to go to an ATM. I did had cash, tough no small one and I insisted of giving me some back, he didn‘t of course. 3.- might not be much for me but a lot for him and considering other people I met, others would have deserved that and I would have been more than happy to give it away - just don‘t that way. Still annoyed somehow more about myself that this happened to me as soon as I was travelling alone, I boarded to Lombok. There I got picked up again and I had a very friendly driver who shared some information about Lombok and when he told me that he was sleeping almost 2 months outside of his house because of the disaster earthquake, the fear that it is coming back and the trauma they got, I felt sorry for the many people suffered from that natural disaster but it also told me that it was the right decision to come here and support by being a tourist and later doing some volunteering.
Arrived in the Living Asia Resort - I chose it mainly because I knew they have an inhouse divecenter I could check in soon in a fantastic bungalow room - with outdoor shower - yay! First appointment was at the pool where my colleague from work Spalti was awaiting me. He was on the way back from his holidays in Australia and made a stop in Bali / Lombok. It was good to see somebody again you‘re familiar with and you could talk about your recent travels while watching the amazing sunset.
Later we had a yum dinner at the Italian in town and the next day he had to leave back to Switzerland - time for me to get some things organised:
Aand I did it all - yay. So next day the dive course will start. Decided to watch the sunset this time not from the resort but from Sengiggi Beach - where some school girls joined me for interview and pictures - When in Asia it happens sometimes that I feel like a celebrity :-) I don’t mind when kids are coming and talking to me or even the vendors at the beach trying to sell their souvenirs - but when you enter the supermarkt and the lady just get out to make sure she can take a picure of you without asking - this is kind of weird, but I think I am able to deal with it for the limited time I have here :-) ending the day with a lovely dinner with Lombok Food (forgot the name, chicken with coconut/ lemongrass sauce). Next morning - the mission started. I got warmly welcomed by the crew of Scuba Froggy (can only recommend it) and after some instructions about the equipment I was heading with my diveinstructor to the pool for first exercises. Everything was pretty new to me and at the beginning I went up to the surface all the time. But with some more excercises I gained some more confidence - at least in the pool 😄 after around half a day the lesson at the pool was over and I was ready for a powernap before having teatime at the pool and savouring another sunset. For dinner I took a taxi who was supposed to drop me off at Warung Paradiso. However he drove further to Cafe Alberto and said this was Paradiso - it was obviously not, thanks to my sim card I checked gps but on the other hand I was too tired to discuss about and gave the restaurant a try. It was located directly at the beach and as a starter I took springrolls - having the one of Vietnam in mind but they were huge and I was almost full when my honey chicken arrived. Dinner was good and as complementary I got offered Limoncello this time which was great as well :-) back in the hotel I went to bed soon, getting nervous and excited about the next day - where I could practise what I have learned in the ocean....
Don't get me wrong, these might all valuable points and in a tropical area you might have to deal with ants and other things but as we like to say - it's the small things that counts and often make the difference. And somehow I had the feeling these got partially lost here. Maybe I am also not made for staying in luxurious resorts as I prefer to have it anyways more personal. The people working there are really friendly and the bungalows and pool area are amazing - but most probably also not targeted for a single traveller :-)
To sum up, I knew that my next days would probably be with less comfort and it made me happy knowing there will be somewhting new....
Before 10 am I checked out and said goodbye to the resort life (which would have bored me if I’d have staid longer) I got picked up by Andar, my host for the next week of Lombok Volunteer Homestay and his motorbike. First challenge: how to get us all, incl. my big backpack on the motorbike but we somehow succeeded. The ride was about 1.5 hours incl. a coffeebreak. The sun was burning down and once arrived at the village, Andar introduced me to his family, my bed and showed me the area around. We got delicious lunch cooked by his wife and then I was ready for a powernap as I was tired from the long ride. As there was no class today I got up later and one neighbours guy was so kind to get for a walk with me along the coast. He doesn’t speak any English but I enjoyed the walk around the village. When I returned, Andars sisters brought me to the mangroves nearby which was actually closed and to one of the beaches just to show me the area and I was happy that I got welcomed so warmly by the entire family (Andar has one wife, one son, 3 sisters and one brother and his parents live here as well). All the time I am surrounded by the neighbour kids who like talking to me :) and I get so much food it’s incredible. I can try everything and there is nothing I did not like so far.After dinner I was soon ready to sleep - he warned me that at 6 am it gets very loud, all the people nearby getting up, the babies crying, the animals making noises etc... that I better use earplugs to sleep :) The noise wont last long and then it will be quiet for another two hours. And it was true, when it got early morning I just put myearplugs in and I could sleep easily for another two hours.
When waking up, I got server delicious breakfast and decided to swim to the next island (Gili Sudak) nearby for a walk and enjoying the beachlife. Later I swam back, had delicious lunch and just joined the village life as the class was supposed to start later today. At the end, the kids didn’t show up or showed up too late that I could not do any introduction as I was accompanied by other kids to get up on the hill for watching sunset -it was wonderful.
Back home, I got served a yum dinner and then the kids joined again and we were playing UNO for the rest of the evening until we went to bed :)
New day, same start. I grabbed my things to get to the island again. Stupid me I didn‘t close my seabag properly and therefore I count now -1spare phone and -1 ebook. I really like to stay at gili sedak, the island
just next to it as it is so quiet there and perfect to relax for a while. When back, I got served lunch and later we were supposed to have the first class, starting easy with whats your name, how old are you etc. but about 30 minutes later we stopped as I got invited to join a wedding ceremony as the cousine mof the family got married. I went there with Ira, my hostsister and other people from the village we went on the back of a truck and drove about 45 minutes to the place. There we took pictures of the wedding couple, had delicious dinner and then we just waited outside of the mosque till it was over and then driving back again to the village :) it was very interesting for me to see and I am very grateful to get treated like a familymember and everyone is so friendly for me - only exception when it comes to eat, I get a spoon which makes it much easier for me than to eat it by hand :)
Next day my ritual started again by swimming to the island, having a coconut and enjoyed some snorkelling and a chat with the owner of the restaurant there before heading back for lunch. That day the class got skipped
as my host still have problem with his teeth and instead I went jogging with Ira. Luckily she is as passioned as me about jogging and we were walking most of the time but at least we did around 9 km before we got picked up on the motorbike on the way back as it was getting dark :-) she also told me that the next day it will be the 40iest day since her grandma passed away which will lead to another ceremony with a lot of cooking - and she was right.
The next day I guess I woke up the first time at 6 am and could smell that cooking is in full progress already. After breakfast I asked if I can help and so I ended up in chopping vegetables and soaking the water out of coconuts. I joined Ira then on the motorbike ride to the next village to go to the supermarket and when we were back we got served the big meal already.
Later in the afternoon, the girls and the youngest brother Aril and myself went into town for a little bit of a shopping, as Aril needed a new bag and new shoes. We had then some yum meatballs and it was cool spending the time with the family members.
The next day, Fatima, another sister of my host brought me to the traditional market of Sekotong. I love markets and it was interesting to see how loclas get to buy their things there - we brought eggs back to the village and then I swam again to Gili Sudak. There I got welcomed by the manager of the restaurant Nirvana and he offereed me tea and fried bananas - you see, how could I ever starve here by getting served so much food? :)
Back in the village, I had another Uno Session with the kids and Andar took me then for a ride to another sunset hill and we did some climbing at turtle island where you have a fabulous view as well.
Next morning I had some fun with the kids who got amazed by my pocket knife :) before we went on the motorbike to see the Makaki Martahon - unfortunately it was over already when we arrived, but Andar took me then to a further ride on the island, we were cruising up and down and enjoyed beautiful views and beaches. Back in the village for a nap after gertting a lot of sun, I joined Ira for another traditional lombok wedding parade which was interesting, but intense too as I was the only western person there and everyone likes talking to you - it sometimes feels like being a rockstar :) as this is a temporary status, I don't complain as I enjoy also feeling welcomed :) Back home, I had another delicious dinner and watched Nemo wit the Kids on TV.
Wow, time is flying! Already my last day at the village just started and after a yum breakfast I took the opportunity for a last walk around the village and the coastline just nearby. After lunch Andar organized a boat and so the family and I went to Gili Nanggu & Gili Kedis for snorkelling. Woow we have seen so many fish and had so much fun in the water. Andar and I walked around Gili Nanggu barefoot - what a great idea the ground was incredibly hot and sneaky peaky things on the ground buut I made it :) Also Gili Kedis is super cute, it takes maybe one minute to walk around :)
Then it was time for the last sunset on the hill where I got accompanied like the first day by other kids and afterwards I went the last time on a motorbike ride with Ira just to get her peanuts for the shop.
The next morning could not have been stopped and so it was time to say goodbye :( Luckily there were not so many kids around as this would have made it even harder.
Andar brought me to Kuta, which took us about two hours on the motorbike, incl. police control stop - all was fine of course :) and during the ride my head was full of memories of that week. Ok to name it: I didn't really teach that much in class and I had a lot of freetime. The time with the family, their relatives, their friends, the neigbours, the kids, the goats, chicken, roosters, cows and cats was an incredible experience and when I compare it to the stay in the luxury resort in Senggigi, I felt much more home and happy and I hope to be back one day to see all this lovely people again!
Wow, somehow emotionally overloaded from leaving the village, I got warmly welcomed where I stay for the next 3 nights before heading to Australia. Rawa Lombok is a lovely place to stay, managed by a Swiss and I got a great room. Somehow overwhelmed being now in a place which is more touristy (it is not Kuta Bali!) in the southern of the island, I was not motivated at all and was missing the village life already. Buut nothing helps, the hard goodbyes are the proof of an amazing time.
Trying to see the world more positive again, I went up to the pool area for a healthy drink and had afterwards a walk around and stopped for a snack at the tasty hesty cafe, where I was the only guest before a cat joined me for my lunch. I checked out further what you could do here and I assume these are the main things:
For the motorbike I was too tired but kept that into consideration for the next day. But I decided to book a snorkelling trip just before I leave and guess what? It is where I've been before. Looking forward already to get on Gili Nanggu, Kedis and Sudak again and hope to meet again one or the other friendly face I met during my stay at the village :)
For dinner i went to the burger zone for a yum burger. I have to say I absolutely love the traditional food of Lombok I got served by the family everyday. But as Kuta is targeting more tourists, it has also a wide variety of more western food and from time to time I need a change :) I got the Mahi Mahi burger and it was delicious!
Something fun during the night, I woke up at 4 am in the morning, this was when the rooster supposed to get awake at the village. But this time, no noise :) it made me sleep again with a smile, still having the sleeping rythm of the village in me :) But I managed to sleep in a bit (until 8 am) and got served a delicious breakfast. Life looked much brighter again today than yesterday and later the manager of Rawa Lombok, Severin welcomed me. The cool thing is - he is Swiss and it was cool talking SwissGerman again and even better - he told me that they do some "Berliner" today and if I like I could order one. How can I say now to such an offer - and I can tell you it tasted delicious!
But the downside of long travels, sometimes you need to organize some things too. What I really had to get is a laundry service - luckily the hotel staff took care of it (just picked it up, then gave it to somebody who knows somebody etc... and in the evening I got it back :) and I decided to go for a massage as I could feel different pain of my body. The rainbow spa was a good choice, it was not that much relaxing but rather focusing on the pain points and I believe it was worth the pain as I feel much better now. Beside that, I thought it is good to get a hairtreatment after exposing my hair to so much sun, wind and seawater. So I got them treated by coconut something. I washed them now 3 times already, they are still greasy but I found out it fits perfectly to the surfer lifestyle down here. After taking my time to explore Kuta, I have to say it is a very cool place to stay. Very relaxed, unwinded atmosphere, of course some travellers, nice bars and restaurant, and you somehow get to these special vibes of Kuta Lombok. Coming back to the things to do in Kuta, I get a bad rating as I
- didn't get a motorbike to the beaches
- didn't do Yoga
- didn't take any surf lessons.
But I really enjoy it here and if I would have more time, I would definitively get a motorbike, would take some yoga classes and the surf lessons..hmm I am still not sure about that :) As much as I enjoy Kuta now (finally) I am looking forward to the snorkelling trip tomorrow which brings me back to the area I felt home most during my stay on the island <3.
And so the day has come - the last one on the island before heading to Australia. I got picked up at 7 am and in total we were a group of 5 who got picked up by Gemma from Mimpi Manis Snorkel Trip - which I can highly recommend. On the way I got excited as the road and the way getting there was so familiar to me and I felt much better knowing I am close to the people with whom I shared incredible days. On the boat we stopped first at Gili Nanggu where I was with my hostfamily as well, for about 1.5 hours of snorkelling. Our guide knew exactly the hotsposts and soon we were surrounded by many fish, followed by many colorful corals - so many different species, and sometimes hard to spot. We even spot a clownfish which is not specified and named yet - how cools that? Gemma really took her time to get to spot as much as possible and in addition she had a great book with her and could show us at lunch what we have seen.
We were trying to see the islands barracuda as well but he was hiding. Anyways there were soo many clownfish, lionfish, we spotted later on a scorpionfish - I can't name all what we have seen but luckily, Gemma can - so if you want to see more I recommend to have a look at that facebook link
For lunch we headed to the -for me- wellknown GIli Sudak but ate this time at the Warung and not at Nirvana where I usually got my coconut. I waved to the other side to the village for a final goodbye and then we were going to Gili Kedis, where I've been with the family as well. We were snorkelling around the island for one hour, one of the highlight was to see the seasnake and the scorpionfish, the cuttlefish on the other hand hided unfortunately this time. Anyways, it was for me the perfect day before saying goodbye to my indonesian adventure. My time in Kuta might have been short and I probably have not done what most people do here - but I enjoyed it to the fullest and can imagine to come back one day to Kuta and the lovely accommodation Rawa Lombok.
I am very thankful for the experience I made on the island, the lovely and friendly people I met and the unforgettable memories we created together. I wish I had more time here, but I can't complain (hopefully) about the next country - it's time to go to Australia. Back to the country I've been 10 years ago!