Five months in Indonesia has come to an end.
You might wonder why I stayed here for five months…
I’ve got many excuses; because I can… the weather in Australia wasn’t right yet… visa.. blah blah blah.
But the truth is simple… I met this guy…
I won’t trouble you with details (if you want them, buy my book when it comes out hehe). Not totally unexpected, it all ended in drama and God knows (in his case Allah) what happens next.
But it hasn’t been all Drama!
WOUTERS & WOUTERS
My cousin came over for a fortnight! We had a wonderful holiday
I like airports.
A bit unfortunate when you travel the world on a bicycle. But non the less I enjoyed picking up Willemijn and watching people hurrying around.
Since I’ve been lucky enough to sit in Bali with two bicycles and two sets of bags it didn’t seem to strange of an idea to go cycling.
But not after we spend our first night in Sanur chatting in Dutch over our Hungarian meal we enjoyed in a German owned English pub while a Balinese band played Irish music…
We set off on a glorious sunny day, peddling through the paddy fields where colourful people smiled and waved at us and we smiled and waved back: Selamat pagi! (Good morning!)
We got even more attention then usual, but weren’t the least surprised. Two gorgeous colour-coordinated Dutch chicks… what you expect
We even got our own theme song.
And so we arrived in Ubud where we planned a day of discovering the area.
Nothing ever goes as planned though.
And the first thing I did, after bragging about not losing my bicycle key for two years, was ….uhum… losing my bicycle key.
Since I left the spare in Sanur we rented a pretty pink motorbike and made a day of it.
When we finally managed to free our bikes I cycled out of town with the sound of Willemijn apologizing behind me. I hadn’t noticed the little offerings on the road and cycled right across them. Oops.
We’ve been told the ferry to Lombok takes forever and is boring. That, of course, totally depends on what company you’re in… We, for example, are the funnest. So we enjoyed lounging on the deck chairs and watching dolphins jump around the boat. When it got too hot, we moved to the cabin where the captain gave us coffee and watermelon It was a great little boat trip and 5 hours on we set foot… or wheels, on Lombok.
Looking for a hotel a motorbike came screeching ’round the corner, lost control, and two man fell at our feet. That was only the start…
Our plan to cycle to Kuta was met with blank stares or wild gestures; “No possible! No possible!” But surely, a road was on our map. So why wouldn’t it?
We found out.
It’s not that it is not possible (nothing is) But it sure isn’t easy. Actually, it was one of the hardest days of cycling in the last two years. And then to think for Willemijn it was her third day, on a bicycle that’s way inferior to mine…
Well, lets say I probably cured her of the idea ever to cycle around the world….
Not only was it scalding hot, the road was in such bad condition that on the steep parts (and there were only steep parts) you couldn’t even zigzag and we had to push the bikes most of the way. With company of screaming kids who have nothing better to do then walk along and scream like we’re a km away, instead of a meter….
10,5 hours later with the sun setting and still no Kuta insight we jumped on a pick up and drove the last 15 km into town… well town, not more than a few sheds and a hotel with, bliss, a pool.
There we spend the whole next day.
A bunch of my friends from Malang were in the area and came to see us. After a Bintang and a foto shoot we decided on a BBQ the next evening in Sengigi….
There is a big fancy Sheraton Hotel in Sengigi. They’ve got a restaurant at the beach with pretty set tables, candlelight and live music… pricey.
We sat right next to that on a little platform on the beach, deliciously grilled fish, candlelight, full moon… priceless.
We had great company in Iyal, Joe, Yonk and Memet who brought the fish and the Bintang while Willemijn had arranged the vodka.
I wouldn’t have wanted to be in any other place in any other company. Our party was the best! Including funny pictures, dancing on the beach and a bastard of a hangover the next morning…
Lucky we weren’t moving far. Just across the water to Gili Air. A little relaxed paradise island with white beaches, blue waters and relaxed people.
A great place to do nothing.
Hanging in my hammock.
Reading a book.
And the great attraction there, snorkelling. It’s absolutely amazing! I’ve never seen anything like it. Fish in all the colours of the rainbow, and you can have them on your plate the same evening may you wish so
I’ve also seen sea stars, coral, snakes and turtles. Just amazing to float above a giant turtle with the dark blue backdrop and the sun reflecting on it’s back. So close you can actually touch it! Magical.
Sadly the time came for Willemijn to get back to the airport.
Joe was so nice to come and pick us up in his bright orange Volkswagen van and drive us to the ferry.
Two days later the same ferry took me back to Lombok where the same Joe with the same orange van came to meet me and we cruised around the island for a day.
As we paused to take in the views on top of a pass it started to rain. So we took shelter and while there enjoyed a glass of beer. Or just a few sips actually.
Before I knew what happened a big evil-looking monkey jumped out, stole my beer, and drank it!!! And if that wasn’t enough, he continued by taking Joe’s mizone, unscrewed the cap and drank that too. Appalling. Cheeky monkey.
We’ve met Kerry & Shane in Lembar. A lovely American couple who started on a backpacking trip but very wisely decided to swap their backpacks for pannier bags and zigzagged through south-east Asia till their path crossed ours in Lombok, several times…
The plan was to meet the 17th in Senaru to try and climb Indonesia’s 2nd highest peak. Rinjani (3726m)
On the 17th, no Kerry & Shane. No internet & no phone.
On the 18th, no Kerry & Shane. No internet & no phone.
But there was Dionne, another Dutch girl on tour. We spend a day together and hiked to a beautiful waterfall in the jungle. On the way back we discovered you could walk through pitch-dark caves where you needed to hold on to each other not to be swept away by the water. Which suited the local guide/hotel-boys who came along rather well
On the 19th Kerry & Shane!!!
She’d gotten ill on Gili so they were delayed a little.
Since it seems impossible to try to rent gear and hike up yourself we were forced to employ a guide and two porters. What a shame! Now we couldn’t drag all the weight up ourselves
Climbing through dense forest we were moving up slowly while around us porters and guides on flip-flops just darted up the hill like its nothing.
Matt, from England joined our party and camp was set up the 1st evening just under the volcano rim. It was chilly up here so with group hugs and farting in the tent we tried to keep each other warm…
Climbing up the crater rim and seeing the view of the lake is amazing! With a steaming volcano in the middle, you could see all the way to the Gili’s and Bali…
This volcano had the very good idea to heat up some water for us and let it sip out of the rocks next to a thundering waterfall. Forming a perfect hot spring where we all easily could’ve stayed the whole day.
But no, there was a summit to be reached so on we marched up, and up, and up. While the rain started falling and we realized, at our 2nd camp, that the equipment wasn’t totally waterproof. So in a dripping tent we shivered and sang songs to keep the spirits high.
But then the rain stopped and the clouds disappeared. I can’t imagine having dinner with a more beautiful view.
3a.m. Time to get hiking. So back in my wet clothes. Out in the cold and up. Many stars and little lights of Lombok far far below. Slowly. Most of the way up was gravel and sand so very carefully trying not to slip and plunge into the depth we climbed for three hours to make it to the summit just before sunrise.
What a feeling!
And what a view!
From here you could see the whole of Lombok, Bali and Sumbawa. WOW!
After all this activity my legs could do with a rest. So I joined Dionne to Gili Meno where, for another couple of days, we did very little before heading back to Lombok.
And now the time has come to get of my bum.
I’m ready for some serious peddling in a brand new chapter called;