Through My Eyes

Timing was everything.

Lombok

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I fell so hard for this little island, I don’t even want to tell you about it.

OK, I’ll share a little… but promise not to tell anyone, ok?

Knowing that I was planning on staying in Lombok for three days on my own, my Yee Yee (Cantonese for Aunt) Jean, several of her best friends, sister-in-law, and cousin Faye decided to join me. It was going to be a girls’ weekend. Me and a handful of sassy Chinese-Indonesian women in their 40s and 50s. Meow!

Lombok is situated to the northeast of Bali, a 25-minute flight or 2-hour ride by fast boat or ferry. Since it’s fairly undeveloped – a refreshing departure from the more popular island – with clean white sand beaches and views for days, I suspect it will become a prime location for high-end resorts and boutique hotels in the next few years.

The population here is mostly Muslim, thus as a way of respecting their conservative way of life, things get even more quiet by dusk. The only places that one would seek for a night cap and live music are along the coast of Sengiggi, where most of the major resorts are. I happened to go to a place called Happy Cafe on my 2nd night in Lombok and had such a good time talking with the locals, as well as ex-pats, and listening to the cover band play Tom Petty, Bob Marley, and everything in between. When I asked Heru, the young tan bartender who makes staggeringly strong caipirinhas (trust me on this one), to request Kings of Leon, they played Welcome to My Paradise and dedicated the song to me in front of the audience. (Turns out, they didn’t know all of the lyrics to KOL songs.)

Because Jean had lived here for two years when Annie was still working, she knew all of the best places to eat, the most secluded beaches to visit, and how to avoid getting ripped off. She had numerous friends who owned their own business and would send us off with treats to take on the road. Needless to say, it was on Lombok where I gained the most weight. These women LOVED to eat. Almost every time we stepped out of the car, they would buy snacks and gifts to take back to Surabaya. By the time I left Lombok, I had no appetite.

Over the course of several days, we tried to do a lot. We went to one of the oldest villages on Lombok, called Sade. We also picnic-ed at different beaches, once at Ah An and another at Mawun. These coves were stunning, and I could count on one hand how many other people were there, if any. Most of the locals that were there were these little brown kids in their birthday suits jumping into the surf and playing games with each other that I didn’t understand. We also made our way over to another smaller island off Lombok, Gili Trawanan, to explore the reef along the coast. Since we arrived at Gili T in the afternoon, I didn’t have enough time to go diving again, so opted to snorkel instead (I know, once you go diving, snorkeling is like playing for JV). Supposedly Gili Meno is the best of the three major Gilis. I’ll save that one for next time.

When flying from Bali to Lombok, or vice versa, keep in mind that Merpati (one of the primary airlines serving both destinations) is notorious for delayed flights. This is important to note if you have connecting flights post landing on either islands and need to board your next flight during a small window of time.

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Written by winniewongsf

January 10, 2010 at 10:18 pm

Posted in islands, travel

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