Sunday, September 29, 2013

Livin' Life in Lombok

Sorry for the delay in the post. It is really hard to keep this blog updated when there are so many exciting things going on. :)

In my last post, I told you about our arrival to Bali. After a 4 hour ferry ride, we arrived in Lombok safely. It took some time before we could actually get off the boat as they had large buses similar to Greyhounds as well as motorcycles and vans they had to remove first. It amazes me how talented the Indonesians are at making things fit in what appears to be a limited area. I guess that's why there really is no such thing as personal space here.

After some bargaining, we arranged to be dropped off at the small hotel we were staying at.

The view from our front door
It was a quaint little place but in the Senggigi location which was perfect. That's the tourist-y area of Lombok where you will find all sorts of neat little bars and tour guide companies.

We stayed at a placed called Baleku. My favorite part about it was the outdoor shower! I could totally have one of these at my house one day. Don't freak out though - even though it was on the balcony, the walls were high enough for privacy. The toilet was also outside too which was kind of gross though because I get really nauseous thinking about wet toilet paper.. but to go potty with frogs croaking at night was kind of cool..

They had free breakfast there in the mornings but Julia was a bit grossed out by the roaming neighboring cats and insects buzzing about so we ventured down the road to see what else we could find. I got this super-fattening banana pancake which wasn't even all that great. I don't even think they used pancake batter. It had more of the consistency of a crepe or something similar to that. I was pretty disappointed. I stuck with a fruit bowl and a roll after that.

Banana and cinnamon pancake
Since the hotel had motorbike rental for approximately $5.00 a day, we decided to take full advantage of it. We are both pretty independent people so we got our own motorbikes and took off to explore. I took some amazing pictures of the scenery.

I took hundreds of photos while in Lombok on the motorbike (don't worry Aunt Ruthie, I pulled over first) so it is pretty impossible to upload every single one of them. However, I will attach some of my favorites.

I thought riding on the motorbike was going to be a bit nerve-wrecking simply based on my experience with Jakarta traffic and motorbikes but Lombok is way more pedestrian and driver friendly. Riding the bike felt natural! I loved the feeling of being free to venture out and check out things on my own at my own pace. Here are some of my favorite shots.

The motorbike I used

One of the first shots I snapped

God is amazing!

Straight ahead are the Gili Islands

I loved this little straw hut. It was a food stall.

Helmets! TBIs in Nursing School have me paranoid for life


I read a book here while I waited for the sun to set.

Reminds me of Tennessee. And the paved roads were appreciated!

Driving around Lombok reminded me a lot of home. It made me miss everything about Tennessee, especially Knoxville. The mountainous scenery was beautiful and so peaceful compared to the hubbub of Jakarta streets. Too bad the weather will be rainy in December. I'd love to take Ryan there when he comes to visit!

I met up with Julia later that night to go get some pizza and drinks. Look at this creative strawberry "adult slushy" they gave me! He said if it wasn't too my taste, he'd add a bit more flavor.. and he did. Anddd it was amazing.


We had a great time and met some interesting people there that night. The band they had performing was awesome! I really enjoyed their music. I wish I would have found out their name. Overall, I would say the night went well until Julia lost her passport. :S

She had gone to the beach, not realizing her bag wasn't with her. All of her money and everything was gone and never returned. It's really sad that we still have people like that in this world.

I didn't let the loss of her documents keep me from having fun though! The following day, I made a new friend named Nandy while I was walking along the road looking for a way to "top-up" my Simpati (minutes on my phone). It was pretty good timing really because the walk alone would have at least taken 45 minutes! After he introduced himself, he asked if I wanted a lift to the place that could place more minutes on my phone. I agreed and then he took me back to Baleku so Julia could use my phone (since hers was gone). After she was settled, I went with Nandy on his motorbike to do some souvenir shopping and to take some surf lessons since Julia wasn't going to be leaving Baleku anytime soon. I was super excited as I had been wanting to learn to surf the moment we landed in Lombok!

We found a place with a decent price. I changed into my wet suit, did a brief tutorial on the sand and then I was ready to hit the waves. Let me just saying that surfing is wayyyy harder than it looks.. and I truly admire surfers who have lost limbs to shark attacks and yet still continue to surf and rock at it! It is really a work out! It's all about using your core to push yourself UP from a push-up position to a standing position that not only allows you to balance the board but maneuver it as well. It took several tries but eventually I got it! I wouldn't say I'm a professional and for every wave I missed, I got a mouthful of salt water, but it was totally worth it.

Here are some pictures, compliments of Nandy. He was a great friend and tour guide while I was there!

It's all about positioning the feet

How to steer the board

Hanging with my surfing lesson teacher

Me and Nandy hanging out after my surfing lesson

Push up position

This part is super hard in the water

Testing out the waves

After I was done hitting the waves, Nandy said he'd help me do some gift shopping around town. So I hopped on the back of his motorbike and went to explore the other side of Lombok! He took me to this small shopping area that had little stalls filled with different gifts you could buy. I originally bought Ryan a shirt in the largest size they had but after trying it on, I realized it was more of an adult medium and since he's been working out, he needs an adult Large at least.. ;)

SO I got a t-shirt out of it! I did get another gift but I can't say what as it is a surprise for some of my friends back home. :) I will send it back with Ryan to deliver!

After I was shopped out, we found a photo booth and snapped some pictures as a memory of my new friendship in Lombok! Next time, Nandy said to bring Ryan. :)

Here are some pictures from the photo booth:

Me and my new friend Nandy!

On our way back to drop me off at Baleku, we stopped by a little satay place which had chicken, beef and chicken INTESTINES!! BLAH. I thought I was imagining it when Nandy began to draw these squiggly lines in the sand but nope, it was just what I thought. I ordered ayam instead (chicken). Satay is a pretty popular meal here. It's basically like a kabob without all the veggies.

The grilled corn we had with dinner
We also got rice (from the plant itself which was beyond cool - I always wondered how rice actually grew in a rice paddy) and a freshly blended juice drink. We sat on the ground in this designated picnic type area on mats and ate our dinner. I was starved! I think the surfing lesson really burned a lot of calories!

I also had some grilled corn which was made fresh over a pile of coals. That was pretty neat and it was only like $1.00. I paid for Nandy's satay meal as a way of saying thanks for taking me around Lombok and showing me around. I met some local children 

who were eager to have their photo with me after Nandy translated. Some of them were actually his students! He snapped a photo of me with the kids. I felt like Mother Teresa!

I was dropped off at Baleku and slept well knowing that I still had a great time even tthough my vacation didn't involve Mt Ranjani or snorkeling in the Gili Islands (I had to loan Julia money so she could take an alternative way back to Bogor).

The next morning, I said goodbye to Julia and loaded up my things into a scheduled transportation pick-up and was safely delivered to the dock and boarded the ferry. I met a sweet Australian couple who had just graduated from Law School. They were so adorable. The girl was of Indian descent and the guy was just a typical, white Australian. They were backpacking for two weeks, compliments of their parents as a graduation gift. Seeing them together made me miss Ryan more than ever! GAH! I can't wait until he arrives here in December!

The ferry reaches Padangbai
The ride to the airport was interesting.. the Baleku staff arranged my transport from the Baleku homesetay-ferry-Dana Guesthouse (Bali) but as usual, things didn't go as smoothly as planned. It was absolute chaos getting off the ferry because they had so many "groups" organized with different companies to get to lodging. I found my group and hustled with a big blue suitcase over the gravel road in the scorching heat. The sunburn from surfing didn't help either. We walked to some shady back alley and they had us loaded up into different buses depending on our final destination. I was suddenly informed that they would not take me to my hotel in Bali! I became very frustrated and just boarded the bus headed to Kota/Airport. I was so squished. I basically had to sit on the lap of the guy next to me. Awkward..

Eventually, the buses were PACKED and people were like, hanging out of windows to be able to breathe. Of course, this came as no surprise to me as it is the Indonesian way to do things but the "bules" were not the least bit happy with the intrusion of their personal space. Can you blame them? One guy had to have his surfboard attached to the top of the van with tweed. That didn't last long as the driver had to pull over and basically shove the surf board through the windows on top of people's

Rice wrapped in bamboo
heads or shoulders because he feared the "polisi" (police) would pull him over. People were climbing out of windows to exit the bus whenever they reached their designated destination. I mean, there was simply no way to unload all the bags and suitcases and people to let one person out. It was quite entertaining actually. One guy was like, "EVERYBODY SAY CHEESE!" (snaps photo)

The driver then made everyone even MORE angry because he suddenly refused to take the people to the airport. They started arguing with him but of course the language barrier made things even more difficult and so I tried to smooth over the situation by speaking in Bahasa Indonesia but he was flustered so it really did no good until I suggested they call the company, which they did, handed him the phone and he changed his mind real quick.

We were dropped off at the airport. I was annoyed because my flight didn't leave until the next morning but I didn't want to be stranded in an unfamiliar place. I eventually booked a $10.00 hotel room about 10 minutes from the airport and got some shut eye (maybe 4 hours) before boarding the plane the next morning.

Although financially the trip was unexpected and frustrating, I realized I could take a vacation alone and still make friends and not get lost. Therefore, I was inspired to book a trip to Surabaya in Sepetember to check out Mt. Bromo. I am so glad I did!

I will have to blog about that next!

xoxo amber

PS - I have no idea what that white blob is below but I don't know how to get rid of it..


  1. What a wonderful experience! So proud of you girl! You are much braver than I am! and thats why you have awesome adventures :)

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