Saturday, June 28, 2014

Jun 16: Lombok

By the 16th, my blogging was so far behind, and my photo uploading even farther, that I didn't bother to write any more posts in advance. I also had a cold (which had been trying to get me, by way of Al, ever since our first day in Darwin, and finally caught up with me completely our last night on the boat). I also was nearing the end of my trip. I had never been completely on board with a 3-week vacation, and my capacity for a positive attitude had pretty much reached rock bottom, so I was basically just riding out the days until I could go home.

So the 16th did not provide me with much to be happy about. After leaving the boat, all 7 of us crammed into a single van and proceeded to drive (endlessly—it was Indonesia after) to Mataram in Lombok.

Here's us and our crew. Our last happy moment before everything turned ugly.

There Al and I were dropped off and asked to wait until another vehicle could arrive to take us to our hotel. We waited. I had to go pee, but I didn't want to pay to use the toilet (I couldn't even read the sign!) so I waited in discomfort. While waiting, Al bought some food, and then he bought some more food (Al's chief occupation in Indonesia seemed to be eating as much as was humanly possible). The second purchase turned out to be something I actually liked—a fruit-filled green cake which was dense and delicious. Al liked it too—so much that he spent the rest of the vacation obsessing about getting some more. For future reference, Brownies Martabak was the name of the vendor.

Finally we were driven to our hotel in Kuta (town on the Island of Lombok), which, although it impressed me initially with its cute towels folded to look like swans, lacked basic amenities like a garbage can in the bathroom (what did they expect us to do with the toilet paper that the sign on the door clearly stated should not be flushed?), free shampoo, or even a shelf in the shower to put our own shampoo, a pool that was not overgrown with algae, or a way to keep the mosquitos from entering our room from cracks above and below the poorly hung door.

At least there was one nice thing about Kuta.
I was grumpy and sick and wanted nothing more than to check my email and upload some photos and post another blog entry, but the wi-fi didn't work. We went to get lunch at the restaurant across the street, and of course there was nothing on the menu that I wanted to eat, but I was too pessimistic to imagine there was anything better at any other restaurant, so we ate there, while flies buzzed incessantly all over us and the wind blew a menu into my water bottle, spilling it all over the table and partly over me.

A walk on the beach did the exact opposite of cheer me up. The sand was made up of such large grains that when you walked in it, you sank in up to your ankles. I had not put on my sunblock before we went out, so I couldn't stop worrying about getting cancer, a sunburn, or worse, a tan, and my sun hat was continually getting blown off my head by the wind.

To top things all off, a pair of local children approached us as we walked, trying to sell us some ugly bracelets (I being the only white person on the entire beach made us prime targets for those seeking the bottomless pockets of a Caucasian tourist). I didn't want the bracelets, and I didn't want to throw away my hard-earned money on something so ugly, and the girl kept saying, "You buy only one, then I'll leave you alone," and I was offended that I should have to, essentially, pay her off to stop pestering me (also was worried that children would descend on me like flies if I so much as flashed my wallet), so I let her follow me the the entire way up the quicksand beach, lowering her prices the entire way, until finally she broke off and muttered what I am pretty sure was "Very stingy!" in an affronted tone.

The far end of the beach did have some monkeys and dogs and some mangroves, which would have probably delighted me if I had not been in such a bad mood. But alas, I was.

To top things all off, when we finally got back to our hotel, we discovered two things:

1) The delicious Brownie Martabak that I had been planning to eat for dessert, and which had seriously been my only motivation for slogging on with my day, was crawling with ants!

2) Al had not actually paid for our flight to Jogja, which was supposed to be at 6:00 the next morning. It was too late to secure that flight now, so we had to trudge out again to find a travel agent to get us another flight. Sadly, it was too late even for a travel agent to help us, and we were told to book online. I knew, just knew, that I was going to be stuck in this godforsaken town another night.

Finally, we stopped in a vegetarian cafe (which did make me about as happy as I can get when I am miserable), where we had dinner, and Al got his mother to book us a flight while I sulked.

I also made the acquaintance of one of the many local stray(?) dogs, which made for a slight moment of happiness in an otherwise terrible day.

When we returned to the room, I shook all the ants off the cake and ate it anyway, and then settled in for a long and boring night and day. Our flight was rescheduled for 5 the next evening, which meant, to look on the marginally, dimly, feebly bright side, that I would no longer have to get up at 3 in the morning. However, I was not interested in occupying that extra time walking out among the sharks street vendors, getting buried in quicksand beaches, or getting any more sun. We planned to hang out at the hotel until checkout time at noon, then hang out in the airport for the rest of the day.


Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, this sounds absolutely horrible.

Jackie said...

I know that the ants on a brownie that I had been planning to eat would have done me in. Sorry you got sick. The same thing happened to me...your dad got sick in Alaska...and then I got sick. At least we were not in a foreign country, which I think would make it more difficult. I sure am enjoying your travel blogs. Hope to get some done on mine.