A Travellerspoint blog

Looking for Lombok

sunny 29 °C
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It's taken all day but I am finally here. And it is so much better than Bali!

I began my day with a little bit of kata and some hacky-sack on the beach at Sanur. The beach is much nicer in the morning when there isn't many people around. And some of the locals groom the seaweed off it and rake down the sand so it is reasonably pleasant to walk on. A lot of outrigger boats sailed to one patch of beach and I wondered if they were going to have a competition as part of the Sanur Village Festival.

At 10:15am I was picked up for a transfer to Padang Bai to catch the fast boat to Lombok. I was the only person in the van the whole journey so I wondered if I had made a mistake but there were other tourists at the office so if I had, I wasn't alone. The fast boat was a little late in leaving and I was the last person on it so my seat was the step into the aisle with two people on my left and two on my right. I was ok with that until the water started pouring along the roof and splashed down on top of me. It was only when the bumps were particularly bumpy that it was a problem but I was pretty much soaked at the end of the trip. Most people got off at Gili Trawanagan - a very scenic looking island. Of course, the only people continuing on to Lombok were me and an older Australian couple.

At Teluk Kode there is no wharf and we had to walk along the side of the boat and step off the front on to the sand. There was one taxi which we shared to Senggigi. I was liking this place already. Hardly any traffic, hardly any buildings along the road, until you reach the towns, hardly any tourists - well, there are a few but it's nothing like Bali. My bungalow is fantastic - it has a hammock, semi-outdoor bathroom, a balcony and is a 15 second walk to the beach!

Posted by pythagnz 03:16 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Over Ubud, Seeking Sanur

semi-overcast 29 °C
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Lewis and I had both agreed that we were over Ubud. He was heading off to Bedugul to check out some more volcanoes and I headed off to Sanur. I picked Sanur because I thought it would be close to where the boat leaves from to go to Lombok. It turns out that the fast ferry I was thinking of is fully booked and I have to go with another company that leaves from a completely different area. At least I was able to find a place selling contact lens cases and scope the area as I will be spending my last day here.

I can see why Janet said I wouldn't like Sanur. Walking the streets is ok. Its a bit easier than Ubud as there are less tourists on the footpaths. That's because they are all down on the beach. But the beach isn't very exciting. The area is quite developed. I did discover you can have a massage on the beach and it is possible to go out fishing in a traditional boat, but that is quite expensive so I'll think about that. There is a Sanur Village Festival on at the moment so I poked my nose in at that. It's a little like a food and wine festival, but again, a bit underdone and not that interesting really.

I'm thinking Lombok might be more my thing. It's going to take me most of tomorrow to get there!

I must admit I have been guessing the temps for this blog. But today's one I looked up.

Posted by pythagnz 02:09 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

The wet dry season

rain 24 °C
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I'm losing track of the days. Yesterday I was distracted (you know who you are) so didn't even get started on my blog entry. And today's activities started at midnight so my brain isn't functioning to its normal half-wit capacity.

Yesterday morning I started my touristing with a stroll around the Puri Lakisan Museum, a museum of fine arts, developed to display Balinese modern style of painting (ie since the 1930s). My impression was that the painters like to crowd the canvases and use as much space as possible. There is so much detail in the paintings - they are almost like batik. And filled with scenes of paddy fields and markets and people working and fighting and monkeys and monsters. Not really my kind of picture. I did like the wood carvings though.

I followed that by a wander down to the Monkey forest where there are large numbers of macaque monkeys and large numbers of tourists taking photos of them. Yes, the babies are kinda cute but it's not really my thing. I enjoyed the large trees instead.

I spent the afternoon curled up in front of my room reading a book. Very un-Amanda like I know but it was great. And I knew I'd be starting off on my next adventure at midnight so that was a good excuse for a quiet afternoon. That and the squiffy belly I got from eating some off mangosteens (I didn't know at the time).

Midnight rolled around and it was pouring with rain. So much for being the dry season. This was a tropical downpour worthy of the wet season. I had to walk 15 mins down the road to meet my pick-up for the trip to Gunung Agung and my feet were wet 3 min after leaving the guesthouse from running through puddles. Not an auspicious start to our trek. The weather continued in a similar vein so that halfway up the mountain we decided to abandon our trek and return back down again. We wouldn't have got a view and we were starting to get cold, even though I had my NZ winter woollies with me. Still we had fun and the drive back was very scenic (I had my eyes closed on the way there).

I should say that I was doing this with a Singaporean guy Lewis that I met over the internet. We have been hanging out here in Ubud for the last couple of days. He is staying on the other side of town so both of us walk about 15 min and meet in the middle. Today we met for lunch after cleaning ourselves up after being dropped off at our respective guesthouses after our trek. Then we wandered through the rice paddies behind my guesthouse. There is an organic restaurant and farm in the middle of nowhere and we sat on a tower looking at the fields and wondering how the tourists knew about this place.

Oh oh - there is a loud procession working its way down the street as I am writing this. Lots of banging of drums and musical instruments and an uncharacteristic tropical downpour (again)!

Ok that was rather a hurried and brief summary of the last couple of days. Now to upload some photos.

Posted by pythagnz 01:44 Archived in Indonesia Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Baik Bike

sunny 25 °C
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Baik is the Indonesian word for 'good' and the cycle trip was pretty good. Though I always wish I had my own bike when I do these things. The downside of the bike I had today was that the seat was too low and some of the gears didn't work at all. The plus side - the brakes worked and what gears there were worked well!

The cycle trip began with a visit to a coffee plantation and a free tasting. Luckily it wasn't just coffee we tasted but also lemon grass tea, ginger tea, cocoa and ginseng coffee. My feet did quite a tapping routine after the coffee and have a little tapping thing happening right now as they reminisce about the coffee.

A late breakfast (especially by my body clock which thought it was mid-afternoon) was had over-looking Lake Batur - the caldera of the Mt Batur volcano. It's pretty cool and the cone inside the caldera has quite a blackened spot from a lava flow. The last time it smoked was 2002 I think. Just a little smoke. The last eruption was 1963.

From there we began the bike ride, mostly downhill with a couple of little ups just to tease your legs. We had frequent stops to look at temples, rice fields, ducks in rice fields (they eat the grains of rice that got missed after the harvest), have the next hill explained to us etc. It was pretty cruisy riding. You didn't have to think much apart from avoiding the odd pothole and the person on the bike in front when they stopped suddenly. Loads of kids and some adults yelled out 'hello' as we biked past. It reminded me of cycling in Laos, except in Laos I would answer back. There didn't seem to be time to do that here.

One of the things I wanted to write about was the extremely long queue in Customs yesterday - it took over an hour. I haven't been in a queue that long in years. And I wondered why it took so long given that I was processed in under a minute and there can't have been 60 people in front of me when I joined the queue. I amused myself by talking to the gay guys in front of me, meditating (sort of), and doing what I do when I bike up an extremely steep hill - pick a landmark and count my way down to it. Landmarks in the Customs queue included a yellow line, a squashed cockroach (I was very pleased when I looked down and discovered it was my turn to stand on it) and an information display. Lots of people from other queues would walk between me and the gay guys to access the leaflets on display. I interpreted that as me needing more personal space than other people there ie there was a nice big gap for them to push through.

Posted by pythagnz 02:40 Archived in Indonesia Tagged backpacking Comments (2)

Rip 'er Day

sunny 23 °C
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So how long did it take the seasoned traveller to be ripped off? Well, it was my first purchase, about half an hour after settling into my guesthouse. I won't tell you the ridiculous sum I paid for 2 kilos of fruit. Suffice to say I have been head-banging and forehead-slapping since then and getting quite a dent in my head. The positive is that it might make me more alert and better prepared to say 'no' on the rest of my trip. That, or I'll be very poor after two weeks! My excuse is that I have an addled brain after sitting in planes all day and an early start and jet-lag.

Ubud is a great location, full of hidden gullies, streams, greenery and tourists galore. This is kinda good as it means English is widely spoken and there are good tourist amenities like internet cafes and laundries and bookshops and eating places. But I can tire quite quickly of some of this too. It already seems busy and crowded to me and this is meant to be a quieter, less touristy part of Bali compared to the beach areas like Kuta.

My guesthouse is great. It is just like the photos I was sent and it has a fabulous bathroom. For some reason this is important to me. Perhaps because I have spent more than my fair share of nights in guesthouses with stinky, mouldy, substandard bathrooms. Nice, clean bathrooms kind of make the place. But I am disappointed to note that it doesn't have a traditional Indonesian mandi bath. I was looking forward to dipping cold water over me. It makes you go 'Oooohhhh'. But it is a rather pleasing experience after that first shock of cold water hitting your body.

Anyway, this is just a quick note to say I have arrived safely. Bicycle tour tomorrow if the arrangement works out.

Posted by pythagnz 19:35 Archived in Indonesia Comments (1)

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