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Never a dull moment

January 7th, 2009 | Posted by Davey in 10-Indonesia - (1 Comments)

We were awoken early this morning to the sound our phone alarm and a calendar message telling us that were were due to fly to Oz TODAY, a day early!

We hurriedly turned on our laptop to check our tickets, and yes, we were due to fly today.  We were stuck in Lombok and our flight to Darwin was from Danpasar, 5hrs on a speed boat and three on a bus.  SHIT, OH MY GOD, WE ARE IN DEEP DEEP SHIT!!!  Stupidly, we had booked a toy plane from Lombok to Danpasar for tomorrow and not today for our connecting flight to Darwin.  I rang the airline to quickly re-schedule but they insisted it could only be done from the airport.  Without as mush as a breath I hopped on the bike and headed for the airport.

5 miles down the road I was pulled in by a cop.  Fuck, this is all I need. “Registration and driver’s licence please”, thankfully I had them with me. We’d been forewarned by the hotel about bent cops so I was somewhat forearmed.  He said it was not an Indonesian licence and I was driving illegally, I would have to pay a fine.  Ya of course, no problem, here’s all my cash ya bent arsehole!  I said it was an in international drivers licence and it had been sufficient in India, Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos.  All he wanted was a backhander and I could be on my way!  With little time to waste, I stuck to my usual trick and pulled out my mobile and asked him to ring his boss I wanted to speak with him.  He got a little shifty and said he wanted to deal with the situation himself.  I knew I had him.  After a little more arguing I walked over to a local and asked for the telephone number for the police, then the cop came over ranting and raving in Indonesian and looking like he was going to belt me…he said he would accept my licence.  As I drove off I wanted to give him the victory sign with a smirk, but resisted.  Fucking bent cops everywhere. I was back on the road…

I got to the airport an hour later, changed the tickets (for a hefty admin charge) and hurried back to pack, drop off the bike, get to the post office and ring a taxi for a ride back to check-in.  What a morning.  As I write this post we are waiting in Mataram airport for a 20–seater ride to Danpasar where we catch a connecting flight to our long awaited destination, Australia. 

 

Lombok

January 7th, 2009 | Posted by Davey in 10-Indonesia - (1 Comments)

We’ve spent the last few days touring the island of Lombok, our last stop before Oz, and it has been nothing but pure pleasure.  There is something rather special about life here and the rest of Indonesia; friendship, family and happiness simply outweigh a life with material comforts and it’s truly inspiring.

We toured from Senggigi to Kuta and around and up to Bayan, a total of  20 hours on our moped, about two thirds of the island.  We drove through some pretty remote villages well off the beaten track and were treated like celebrates most of the time.  Children have nothing more than a football or a fishing rod to keep themselves entertained and it seems adequate – no playstaions or TV.  Their passion for music is lifting, children and adults play the guitar on street corners, busses, the roadside, on mopeds and everywhere else imaginable.  The only English they know are the lyrics to songs like ‘a hard day’s night’ by the beatles or ‘where the streets have no name’ by U2 – and boy can they play! We wished we had learned the guitar so we could join in, but they loved to play and keep everybody entertained.

We have enjoyed our stay Indonesia more than most and it will be sad to leave.  If nothing else, it has shown us the true meaning and what is important in life.

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Finally, a day out!

January 2nd, 2009 | Posted by Davey in 10-Indonesia - (3 Comments)

At last a break from the thunder and lightening and a long overdue tour of Trawangan got us out of our damp hotel room for a few hours.

A rather strange, but beautiful, island indeed.  It’s just a tourist trap and nothing more. Almost all (99%) of it’s inhabitants are from Lombok and just stay during the tourist season and return home out of season.

There are no police just a mafia styled security mob.  If something gets stolen, you simply notify your local security chief who hunts down the perpetrator and returns the item(s) with the least amount of fuss or embarrassment.

There are 32 licensed taxis (horse and carts) that circle the island. They are allowed to work a maximum 8 hour shift in 24, thus elevating congestion and to give the horses a rest.  At the end of each shift they report to an office and pay tax on their day’s earnings.  There are no cars or mopeds allowed. 

Marijuana and magic mushrooms are advertised and sold all over. A little more discreet than Amsterdam, but with a tasteful chill out vibe.

On New Year’s Eve night locals had to pay to enter the bars while tourists got in for free. 

Men with walkie talkies parade the ferry dock communicating the numbers back to the hotels.  The number dictates how much you will pay for your room that night and throughout your stay. Guests in our courtyard – which has identical rooms – are paying anywhere between 150 to 600 rupia.  Thankfully we arrived early on a fishing boat and caught them all by surprise and got our room for 150.

There is a committee for everything; taxis, bars, hotels, ferries etc. all work in concert to ensure tourists enjoy their stay and pay well for the privilege. It is not cheap, but if you want a safe, relaxing and enjoyable holiday with good diving, surfing, night life and beaches with turquoise water then Trawangan is it!

Just a couple of snaps of our tour yesterday.  You can easily cycle the island in 1–hour including a couple of refreshment breaks.

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Happy New Year

January 1st, 2009 | Posted by Davey in 10-Indonesia - (1 Comments)

Happy New Year to all our family, friends and readers; we hope you had an enjoyable evening ringing in the new year. It seems like only a couple of years ago we rang in the millennium, wow, can you believe it was 9 year ago!

Our new year wasn’t at all exciting, actually we were tucked up watching a movie in bed at 8pm and asleep by 10.  With it being so damp we both caught bad colds with the most dreadful cough, so we were in no mood to celebrate.  We did go for a nice meal and I had a few beers earlier in the day. We had planned on going home to change and head our for the night but Sam got much worse so it was time to wrap up for the night.

We woke this morning feeling somewhat better and the sun is out for the fist time in 5 days so the air is clear and we should start to recover rather quickly, I hope.

We are stuck in limbo, we had hoped to make our way across to the island of Flores to see the Komodo dragons (min 8 hrs travelling) but neither of us has the energy or inclination to pack or be stuck on a ferry for that long so we need to revise our plans.  More on that later.

Have a great New Year’s Day.

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Alfresco

January 1st, 2009 | Posted by Davey in 10-Indonesia - (1 Comments)

An island that boasts the least rainfall of all of Indonesia, but yet, we’ve been here only 4 days and it hasn't stopped shitting with rain.  Dammit.  We wanted to rent some bikes for the last few days and go off exploring but the thunder, lightening and monsoon rain had rendered us confined to either a bar or our hostel.

Last night the lightening and thunder was absolutely spectacular.  Scary but exhilarating.  Sam spent the night under the covers while dodging the leaks.  It hasn't stopped all night and right through to this afternoon.

There is no freshwater on the island, other than bottled, so I’ve been showering alfresco in our bathroom which is partially exposed to the elements.  There’s nothing worse than having a shower in saltwater.

Every night there is a party in some allocated bar but tonight is the mother of all parties with it being New Year’s Eve.  Hopefully the rain will clear so we can go check it out!

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