We had a good 4hour trip to Lombok with Ming and Janet and this time paid porters to lug the bags up the steep stairs. We had a bit of a wait in Lembar harbour while a barge discharged it’s cargo and moved off so that we could come into the dock.
Kudus our driver met us with his usual smile and took us to the Sunset House which over the last 10months has also expanded somewhat although the lovely staff are still there and are still very entertaining.
The feeling as you arrive on Lombok is still one of Bali years ago with a lot of horse drawn carts and bemos especially in the capital Mataram. The roads are much wider and there is less traffic which is a pleasure after the increased traffic in Bali, even in Ubud.
We arranged to go with Kudus to some waterfalls and towards Mt Rinjani however Janet and Maurice both had an off day so we deferred the trip. I walked into downtown Senggigi and found a good place for coffee.
It is sad to see all the small restaurants and cafes empty
most of the time with staff trying to entice you in. They are
ever optimists for when you say that you don’t need transport
today, they always say “what about tomorrow” and one night
after having eaten and politely refused another offer to come
into their establishment a staff member suggested we might want
a second dinner. They don’t give up and are all good humoured
if you do refuse their urgings.
At this time of year you see only a couple of tourists walking
around Senggigi and visiting the few shops in the area.
Ming and Janet opted to go to the Gili islands which are said
to be good for diving (Ming is a diver) so we went with Kudus
for the day up to Tanjung on the north west coast and to see an
amazing hotel resort set in beautiful gardens called “the Tugu”
The architecture is of an ancient traditional model on a grand
scale and it was interesting to do a hotel inspection which the
staff were keen to do for us. We also went to Kudus’s house and
met his wife and children again and had coffee there. His village
is set about 5kilometres back from the main road down a very narrow
and winding road.
We saw trucks unloading sacks of rice by the side of the road
on the way back from Tanjung and Kudus told us that the villagers
get between 2 and 5kilos of rice every three months and the amount
varies according to their financial status.
We decided another day to go and visit the Gili islands ourselves
and catch up with Ming and Janet so we hired a local outrigger
boat for $45 for the day and Mohammed took us on a lovely sunny
day up the west coast to Gili Trawangan first where we wandered
around the island with Janet and Ming and had lunch with them.
It is a pleasure to see there are no cars or motorbikes on the island
and only horse drawn carts or bicycles are allowed. There are mainly dirt paths
but they appear to be upgrading the area with brick paving which is
a good idea especially in the rainy season.
We then waited for Mohammed to come back from the mosque (a big prayer
day being a Friday) and we set off for Gili Meno, the neighbouring
island a few minutes by boat away.
Gili Meno is a poor cousin to Gili T with pretty basic accommodation,
some deep sandy paths and very suited to backpackers on a budget who
want to sit and read and swim. The white beaches on the island are
not of soft sand but of coral so it can be a bit painful on the feet
getting into the water.
We had a quick swim and then set off for a very pleasant trip with Mohammed
back to Senggigi which took about an hour.
The rest of our week was spent reading and relaxing and having the odd swim.
We then headed back on the slow boat on the 10th March to Padang Bai harbour
where we sat outside the harbour for 1 1/2 hours waiting for a berth. Komang
picked us up and took us 1/2 hour up the coast to Candi Dasa to meet up
with Des, Mary and Pauline who had already been at our little hotel Pondok
Bambu for a few days.

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