Friday, 23 September 2016

Week 23.1 - Lombok

The evening before we left Kuching was spent chatting to Sam, drinking beer and eating Kek Lapis (layer cake, available in so many different flavours and is exactly what it says on the tin, layers of cake). Sam was asking us about marriage and advised us to get married in Borneo to save costs. He also told us that it is traditional for Chinese people to gift money on wedding days, so my new plan is to make loads of friends in China and get married there, then we could travel again in 2018 with our wedding money. We also covered histories of other countries such as Cambodia and Poland, Sam is very much into history and meeting people from around the globe allows him to expand on his knowledge.

I took myself back to Asia Clinic before we left to collect my test results. Thankfully I don’t have any of the awful sounding germs and virus listed on the test sheet, and instead I have a mild case of dysentery and travellers diarrhea. I have been prescribed more Imodium, I swear my bloods made of the stuff, and bland food….not ideal when we still have Indonesia to go, I can’t wait to be the wanker Westerner ordering chips every night.

Sam kindly took us to the airport once Kyle had finished packing, on the way we got talking about the kinds of music he enjoys listening to. The Beatles, The Bee Gees and Abba are some of his favourites, though he was telling us that Adele is big in Borneo, they’ve even named a hotel after her. I wonder if she knows? We made plans to stay in touch with Sam and Jane, and I do hope that one day we will get to see them again. 

My stomach almost dropped out of my arse at Kuching immigration, Kyle breezed through whilst I was left standing there with 3 officers. Turns out on arrival in Kuching the immigration officer had stamped my passport using an old stamp dated 2015 which caused a little confusion. It’s a good job they take your picture when you arrive and I didn’t have my passport in 2015 otherwise Kyle would have been continuing his trip solo. Me, well I would have been on the next episode of Border Control. 

The flight was OK, a little bit of turbulence but for Air Asia it was better than most of the other journeys which we’ve had with them. We were ripped off at the airport, paying 50 ringgit for a taxi to our hotel, YouniQ, which was 10 minutes round the corner. We were smart enough to book the shuttle to the airport for the next morning for just 10.60 ringgit for two! Before bed we headed to the Indian around the corner, though I opted for plain fried rice…just as the doctor ordered. We didn’t get much sleep, what with it being an airport hotel people were in and out all night, alarms were going off and we got to enjoy next-doors snores through the wall!

KLIA2 really pissed me off, when you arrive it’s filled with shops, restaurants and bars so when checking in you think great, we’ll pass loads of time here. Well that thought is wrong! Once you’ve checked in, passed through immigration and security you are left with nothing. Nothing apart from 3 “restaurants” that microwave shit frozen food, no seats, no where to buy water from and ridiculously cold air con. The worst bit was, we were stuck in this freezing hell for 3 hours as the last airport shuttle was at 12 and we didn’t fly till 3.35pm. Kyle found a way to pass the time though, skating up and down the departure hall on a luggage trolley, everyone in the airport took to filming him on their phones!  

Another pretty uneventful flight, but I did have to fill in the arrival card for myself, Kyle and some others on the plane, they should learn to print them in more than one language. We arrived in Lombok in the evening, which I’ve decided pisses me off, I couldn’t see anything! I like to know what the country looks like from the plane and get a feel for it on the way in! Stepping out of the airport we were greeted by a sea of people, men, women and children, I’m still not too sure why they were all there but they all smiled, waved and said hello. The road that took us to our new bed at Werdhi Guesthouse, was well maintained with brightly lit roundabouts and working street lights. We passed through some villages which reminded me of those in Kratie, Cambodia, with the small brightly coloured houses, people selling goods from the front of their homes, food stands and families and friends gathering outside. Once again we’re in a country with more mopeds than cars, and each moped has at least 6 family members on board, one of which is wearing a helmet and the vans all have 50 people sat in the trailer out back. 

Werdhi Guesthouse is located in a little residential area just outside of Mataram central and is owned by Mrs. Werdiyani and her family. They are all very friendly, and kindly lent us a moped for the evening so that we could get used to our surroundings. We found a local restaurant for tea and tried Nasi Campur, as recommended by the owner. Nash Campur is rice  accompanied by small portions of many different dishes including, meat, veg, fish, nuts and eggs all of which are ridiculously fucking spicy! I couldn’t eat it, it was nice but just too hot, even Kyle’s mouth was on fire. Looks like I’ll be staving for the next month. 

We woke early the next morning and had breakfast at the guesthouse, a fried egg sandwich….with chilli sauce, really? After which we hired a ped for the day and drove to Senggigi beach. On the way we passed a local market and a small town where the preferred mode of transport is tuk tuks pulled by horses. There were schools everywhere and children running around playing outside each one. Mosques and temples were also a common site along the way. Senggigi beach is a long run of sand and sea, lined with resorts, bars, shops and restaurants all catered toward the tourist trade…I’m glad that we didn’t decide to stay there, there was Westerners everywhere. We decided to pull the ped into a small carpark and paid 5000 rupiah to park, a great decision, besides some local fishermen we were the only two people on the beach. The sand is a dark grey colour speckled with gold, and the sea is crystal clear and cool, we were even lucky enough to see a baby turtle run down the beach and swim away in the sea, once he was a little way out we noticed a few others bobbing on the surface. We got to swim and relax for a good 3 hours until a huge storm set in, we quickly raced to the bike before the rain but as luck would have it we drove right into the heart and got pissed wet through. A quick stop at a noodle soup stand warmed us back up though.

Later that evening we took a drive to a huge mosque in the centre of the town which was all lit up for the evening. Finding a place to park and get a closer look however proved impossible, we ended up going round in circles down all the one way streets. After 3 attempts we admitted defeat and headed for tea. Mie Goreng was this evenings choice, delicious friend noodles my favourite and something I seem to have found in each country in Asia. Whilst eating tea we noticed an odd form of children’s entertainment over the road. A man had attached plastic animals to a cart which moved up and down when he peddled his bike, a simple idea but one that had all the local children queuing up to take a turn. As soon as we were prepared to leave and head back to the hotel it stated raining…again, so we arrived back home looking like drowned rats, again! 

Breakfast this morning was cold chicken burgers with more chilli sauce, just what I needed at 8.30am! The sun was shining and Kyle was eager to try out the surf so we took the ped back to Senggigi beach. After a good drive around the hills we found a perfect spot on the beach with water so clear you could view the coral below without a snorkel, perfect for me I’m still too scared to have ago after last time, not so good for Kyle as there were no waves to surf. We set down our stuff, posed for some pictures with two Chinese ladies (that hasn't happened for a while), had a swim and just as we prepared to sunbathe it started to piss it down, running for cover under the trees we planned to hide out until it passed. It did, for 5 minutes, once we’d laid our towels out it started raining once more, this time it didn’t stop! So here we are back at the hotel and it’s storming which were used to, but not this much. Normally it’s a little bit of rain and then a sunny day, not here in good old Lombok, the sun is a treat and the rain is normal. It’s a bit like being back home in the Lake District.

Tomorrow we will take a boat to Gili T, the party island of the three Gili’s apparently! This isn’t the scene which we usually go for but the accommodation was cheaper and is located close to the turtles on the island, so fingers crossed were not stuck with a load of Western wankers!

Love Carrie xxx

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