Saturday, March 5, 2011

A bite of the South East Asia Apple…. Lombok, Indonesia

Today was a Hindu holiday – a quiet day – so people stay at home from 6am today until 6am tomorrow and in Bali, which is predominantly Hindu the place shuts down. So, no Bali; instead we went to Lombok, an island to the East, which is predominantly Muslim and was largely functioning.

We sailed into the Lombok Strait this morning early and made anchor outside the port of Lembar. As always Merle got a great view (and picture) of the Island as we sailed in – shrouded in mist and looking tropical and romantic as it should.

Had a number of experiences – some more positive than others over the course of the day which largely consisted of an organized bus tour – AMI 100A lasting 8 hours.

We started off, as we usually do in an anchorage port, by taking the tender to dockside where buses and welcome committee await. 

The bus today was very confortable and airconditioned which was well because it is “ferschtunkened” hot, hazy and humid here (10 degrees south of the Equator). Our tour guide – Opick spoke remarkable English and was unusually good in providing us background and detail as we travelled.

The first stop was the Sayang Sayang Traditional Market – this was designed to provide us “ an experience of …life everyday….where locals haggle for fresh fish, meats, fruit and produce” Oy Vay!!!!!! 

It certainly has a certain local charm but think crowded, noisy and confused. Lots of sights, colors and smells.
you get a bit extra with your choices - check the chicken for raisins (?)

Ground underfoot that has been well moistened by monsoon rain and all sorts of other liquids. 

Plus hordes of men trying to sell you every conceivable item you have no interest in whatsoever. Make one mistake ie make eye contact or say “how much?” and you are in deep doodoo (a second way) – they will not leave you alone. Some people had to learn the hard way. I wore my Oakleys and “Just said ‘No!’”.

Then we drove to the Lingsar Temple – this is a Hindu shrine founded in 1714 which has become a religious site for Buddhists, Muslims, Christians and Animists. They have a sacred spring here that feeds five streams of water – one for each of the religious beliefs. They also stressed the high degree of religious tolerance experienced in Lombok in particular and Indonesia in general that didn’t quite jibe with some of the political stuff that has happened over the last while.
there were people doing their thing there - fishing for eels in the sacred lake and a lady weeding the garden

From the temple we went to the Narmada Water Park and Garden which was really lovely. This park was built in 1727 by the same king who built the temple. It consists of a terraced hill capped by a temple that is meant to replicate a local active volcano and then pools of water – including a lake and a swimming pool. Spring water here is believed to grant eternal youth. Yayyy.

They had a zipline from the top down to the lake – this baby was very upset when his mom wanted to take the ride and cried and cried. Very cute

The Island is primarily agricultural and farmers grow two rice crops a year. We saw rice in every stage of its existence – from recently planted, to flooded paddy fields to yellowing plants ready for harvest to vast areas of brown rice drying in the open to the rice we had for lunch – white rice and black rice pudding!! It is the biggest source of income. Some farms rotate with Virginia Tobacco.

We then rode along the West coast to Senggigi for buffet lunch at the Holiday resort. One side tropical vegetation and lush fields and hillside, on the other the Indian Ocean – with brown sand beaches. I walked down to the water and was instantly inundated with people wanting to sell me curios, DVDs, sunglasses, watches and one person wanted to show me pictures of available massages. Hmmmm.

Finally we drove back towards the dock and on the way stopped off at a village – Sukarare – which specializes in weaving of silk or cotton brocade. We watched the weavers – women of all ages at work and some people on the tour made a few purchases – on balance it was remarkable for the skill they show but unremarkable as to the product of their labors.

This was our gateway to South East Asia. Have to get used to the poverty, ramshackle, chaotic and “untidy” way of life. Also the hard sell.

Like I have always said about Africa – the land was created in the most beautiful way possible it’s a pity we humans have managed to so successfully screw it up.


  1. Wow some amazing shots. Pretty neat that you get to pick which kitty you want to eat :)

  2. Please make sure to bring back many bottles of spring water!!!! My moisturizer doesn't seem to be working. Oh, and maybe avoid the chicken
    with "raisins." I saw the kitten lurking nearby.

  3. ...wait a minute...was that kitten part of the dinner?????

  4. I think you should get the first photo enlarged, absolutely beautiful. I scrolled through pictures prior to reading the entry... I was wondering what you had done to make the baby cry ;) Glad you took a pass on chicken with raisins. Too funny! I am truly jealous...