Week one of the summer has been spent in Lombok, one of the many Indonesian islands. We chose Lombok because it is cheap and it’s an island and that is really the only criteria that we have.
We stayed at Kuta Cabana Lodge which is a simple but lovely set of wooden rooms overlooking Kuta beach.
I would recommend staying here, the room was great, the staff were friendly and breakfast was included.
We didn’t have any clue what we wanted to do with our week here so we set about visiting as many beaches as we could. I love beaches, Asraf apparently doesn’t like beaches but even he agreed that the beaches were beautiful.
Tanjung Aan is the nicest but most touristy beach we found.
The water was crystal clear, the sand soft and white and for a small fee you can use one of the many sunbed options.
Next to Tanjung Aan is Merese Hill which after a small climb offers beautiful views.
One day we climbed down the hill to a deserted beach and took this photo.
I’m in the middle of the ocean.
Our favourite discovery was Pantai Telewas. To get here you need to find Pantai Semeti and then trek around to the left of the beach until you find this:
It was a really striking landscape and the waves were incredible! Probably the highest waves I’ve ever seen in my life. We spent some time discussing the theory of evolution vs. God creating humans (as you do as an atheist and Muslim couple) whilst looking at the ocean.
After a few days of beaches Asraf requested “green” and of course I was happy to find a green space to explore. We decided to make the journey to Rinjani National Park (Mt Rinjani we will return for you some other time) in search of waterfalls. Well, this was one of the two dramatic events of the week. So on arrival we were pushed into a room and told to pay 180,000rp to visit the waterfalls. We were told we needed a guide to accompany us. Ok fine. Then without really understanding what was going on because the conversation was all in Bahasa suddenly there were motorbikes. Well that’s quite an anxious situation for me naturally so I asked why we have to get on a bike. Asraf told me the guide said we have to travel by bike to the waterfall and it was a very short journey. Trying to be calm I said okay, Asraf would drive the bike and the guide would take a separate one. That’s safer in my opinion than being driven by a stranger. Then there were no helmets. “It’s not very far” said the guide. Trying not to completely freak out and trying very hard to block out tears I got onto the bike. We were on the bike for maybe 30 seconds before the words “I don’t like this let me off” started coming out of my mouth along with “This is dangerous let me off”. I was having some kind of flashback combined with premonition of imminent death. So Asraf stopped immediately, looked concerned and stressed and I got off the bike ON THE WRONG SIDE whilst bursting into tears with anxiety and frustration. If you’ve been on a bike you know what happens when you do that. You get a pretty nasty burn from the exhaust. So, that is what happened to my leg. Congrats to me. No more bikes.
After I cried and apologised, Asraf swore and got annoyed at himself about it all and the guide looked suitably confused and awkward we eventually walked to the waterfalls. Luckily they were pretty cool.
Can you tell we have just had a very stressful experience and a few layers of skin have burnt off my leg? The waterfalls are really incredible but as usual have been ruined a bit by tourism. People taking selfies with leaf crowns and putting unicorn lilos into the water, that kinda thing. Still, we decided it was worth it and we know that trauma and anxiety is a learning process…so we learnt a lot from this day.
The other dramatic thing that happened was me losing my phone on the way to watch England play. One minute it was in my pocket and the next minute it was gone. We searched on the road where we had walked and it was nowhere. I assumed it had been snatched and set about resetting all my passwords and blocking my phone. Asraf wouldn’t let this be the end because this phone survived the motorbike crash and has a lot of sentimental value. So he went off with a man on a bike and I stayed in the room resetting all my social media and email addresses etc. Low and behold sometime later he rocked up WITH MY PHONE. I really don’t know how he does these things but honestly he can solve anything. Turns out the phone had been found (we will assume “found”) by a drunk woman and Asraf went to her house and got it back. Apparently she was too drunk to pick up the phone when we were calling it so she just turned it off. Who knows what to say about all that but we got the phone back!
Aside from that nothing else much happened. We were blessed with great weather but boring sunsets, I read two psychological thrillers (of course), I tried to even out my back tan because I have a backless bridesmaid dress, and I’ve started properly learning Bahasa. I’m actually remembering it. We explored a different national park, Gunung Tudak, on our last day but were irritated at the extortionate cost of entry (100,000rp each). It was deserted though.
We were sad and frustrated at the amount of plastic everywhere we went and it really did ruin a lot of landscapes we saw.
Overall we had a fun, positive week full of laughter but of course I was also struggling as ever. One important thing to me was to visit the same view that Jerry posted on his instagram. As with many places he hated a lot of Indonesia but he liked Lombok because it’s quiet and less touristy than the Gilis.
Emotional times once again. Looking at the view made me feel very distinctly the weight of what happened and it’s just quite a bizarre situation to stand looking at the same thing as Jerry with how much has changed. I cried and said how sad it was and Asraf said I was very strong and brave. He’s an absolute hero.
Next up: HOME! Family and friends galore.
Ps. My plaiting is improving now I have a model