Lombok and Bali

Lombok is the next island east of Bali, and the primary activity planned was to leave the boats and fly or ferry to the well-known Hindu island full of resorts. We only had one full day in Lombok before Jesse and I planned to go. Jesse convinced Tim and me to rent motorbikes with him for the day, and ride to a waterfall 2+ hours away.

Riding in Indonesia is a scary/fun challenge. We’re used to driving on the left at this point. But in Indonesia that seems to be about the only rule. Lots of creative driving, especially when it comes to passing, which is pretty much all the time. If the road is wide enough for, say, one car plus two motorbikes, many drivers expect that combination to fit, without any regard to “sides” of the road. So, for example, a car might pull half way into the right lane to pass a motorbike, despite the fact that a motorbike is approaching — it will still fit in the remaining half a lane. In fact, cars tend to pass like this even if there are TWO oncoming motorbikes, side by side. This arrangement won’t fit, but it is assumed that the two oncoming bikes will get into a single file when they see a car approaching in their lane.

More frequently it is bikes passing cars or trucks. The bikers will pull up until almost touching the car, waiting for a chance to pass. Several may all pass at once, filling the passing lane, zipping back to the left (or maybe just to the middle) just before hitting oncoming traffic.

And then there are the more unexpected obstacles. Tim had a momma goat and her kid run out in front of him, and the kid began nursing in the busy road. And there are the motorbikes that have loads the width of a car — often display cases used for selling something on the side of the road, packed up on the back behind the biker.

It became a quest to make it to this waterfall. Tim’s bike overheated. We (Jesse) found a bike shop where they added coolant. But before long it overheated again. Jesse found another shop. This time the guy pulled the cover off the engine, exposing an air filter thoroughly clogged with dust and volcanic ash. He cleaned it out with compressed air, and the problem was solved.

But we still had wrong turns and bad directions to cope with. We doubled back a couple times, and then a guy asked me if he could help. When asked about the waterfall, he said you need a guide to go there…and he was a guide! In fact he was a guide who normally takes people on a four day trek up the volcano, but the mountain was closed so he was home with nothing to do. We hired him.

It was a 45 minute walk to the waterfall. Very nice. Cold water! On the way back we walked in an aqueduct tunnel, part of the way in total darkness. Our guide left us at a restaurant with a view, where we rested and fueled before our long ride back. It was an adventure of a different kind, and fun.

Next day a car takes us to the “fast boat” to Bali. The cost had gone up since the quote we got two days earlier, because the Lombok airport had closed due to the ash. So all those who would have flown were trying to get seats on the ferries. Whatever. The two hour ferry ride was only moderately unpleasant. And the subsequent two hour minibus ride to the resort was fun because of all the sights along the way — temples instead of mosques, amazing statues, stone carvings and other crafts along the street, colorful decorations/offerings,…

The resort is wonderful. Quiet. Relatively cool up in the hills. Cooler still in the air conditioned room! There’s a shower with hot water. Another shower outdoors. Plus a private jacuzzi/pool. Great place for a romantic getaway. Or a recharge break from your yacht!

We rested a lot in the air conditioned room, and we ate mostly western food (great breakfast with bacon and eggs, and good pizza at night); we got massages at the resort, and hung out some in our private pool. But we also took the shuttle several times into the town of Ubud.

Ubud is a fun place, though totally “touristic.” Hundreds of little shops and restaurants, and sidewalks filled with mostly white people speaking many languages. We bought our share of crafts. We enjoyed strolling through the monkey forest. We attended two dance performances. The first was a Women’s Kecak Fire Dance in the outdoor grounds of a temple. Just as the show began, it started to rain — for the first time this season! The performers continued for a few minutes, until it became clear that everyone was getting soaked. Then we all hurried up the street to another temple with an indoor space. It was very funny seeing one of the cast perched on the back of a motorbike with a lighted fire stick in each hand, switching venues. The rain made the evening all the more special, and we thoroughly enjoyed the show. We returned for another type of dance/music the next night, which was merely…interesting.

We met an American woman in town who was in Bali for a “destination wedding.” But everyone else was coming from Australia, and the airline they were using had canceled all their Bali flights (volcano/ash), even though the Bali airport was open. So she was traveling/vacationing alone, not sure if the wedding was going to happen or not! She thought it might get rescheduled, but in that case the one person who made it to the original venue was going to end up missing the wedding, because she couldn’t afford to come back from the USA a second time!

Three days in the resort was about right. It was starting to get to the point where we were growing accustomed to the air conditioning and good food any over-the-top service. Maybe we would like to stay another month… No, back to the boat and the grit on the deck and below, and the stifling heat. But with a will the three of us manned the manual pump to wash the decks, and after an hour of sweat I felt much better about being back aboard.

We had a big supply of food delivered to us ($3,000,000+ Rupiah), we bought a few more gifts right on the marina grounds, and we are almost ready to go. Our biggest need is more cash. I keep getting the maximum available at the ATM (usually 2.5 million) and a day later it is gone (mostly toward the food in the latest case). Our next stop is Kumai (a stop recently canceled due to the big fires on Borneo, but now reinstated after some rain fell). There are no ATMs there, so we have to load up on cash before we leave. We have another day before our scheduled departure, but we are ready (mentally/emotionally) to move on and leave the damn volcano in our wake.

Lombok
Lombok
Many forms of public transportation in Lombok
Many forms of public transportation in Lombok
Terrifying at times
Terrifying at times
But fun
But fun
Medana Marina
Medana Marina
Fixing Tim's motorbike, on our quest to the waterfall
Fixing Tim’s motorbike, on our quest to the waterfall
Waterfall #1
Waterfall #1

image

Waterfall #2
Waterfall #2
And a cold swim
And a cold swim
Before getting back on the road, our RESTaurant.
Before getting back on the road, our RESTaurant.
View from restaurant
View from restaurant
View from our villa in Ubud, Bali
View from our villa in Ubud, Bali
Our villa
Our villa
Our villa
Our villa
Our private jacuzzi/pool, overlooking a ravine, and we can hear the rush of the river below
Our private jacuzzi/pool, overlooking a ravine, and we can hear the rush of the river below
Ubud
Ubud
Ubud
Ubud
Temple at the Ubud monkey forest
Temple at the Ubud monkey forest
You are here...at the monkey forest
You are here…at the monkey forest

image

Good things come in threes
Good things come in threes
...and in twos
…and in twos

image

Ruy monkeying around
Ruy monkeying around
Daphne with new friend
Daphne with new friend
Jesse with new friend
Jesse with new friend

image

There are stone carvings everywhere, and a lot of them have sexual overtones...
There are stone carvings everywhere, and a lot of them have sexual overtones…

image

image

Back to the resort dining room
Back to the resort dining room
And one of the pools
And one of the pools
Back to Ubud for the start of the Kecak Fire Dance
Back to Ubud for the start of the Kecak Fire Dance
Continued indoors, after a rain delay
Continued indoors, after a rain delay

image

image

image

image

As a bonus while on the fire theme, we prepare for the Trance Dance
As a bonus while on the fire theme, we prepare for the Trance Dance
Not only does the God that enters this man's body walk on burning coconut coals...
Not only does the God that enters this man’s body walk on burning coconut coals…
...he rides his horse through them
…he rides his horse through them

image

image

Back at the resort
Back at the resort
The path to the "front desk" which has everything you would expect at a hotel's front desk, except walls.
The path to the “front desk” which has everything you would expect at a hotel’s front desk, except walls.
You can stop at this little shrine along the way between the front desk and your villa.
Goodbye, Natural Villa Resort and Spa. We will miss You!

One thought on “Lombok and Bali”

  1. Again, thank you for all the fantastic photos! The waterfalls, costumes and animals are fabulous! So glad that everything is well; that most of your luck has been good. We here in Maine are heading into the cold winter….your photos will help warm us up. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s