SELMAT DATANG LAGI, ORANG CANTIK!!!!!!!!!!!!! (hello again, beautiful people!!)
I am currently a bruised and sore woman hanging out in what may possibly be one of my most favorite places in the universe... Kuta, Lombok (not Kuta, Bali.. gross!)... after a week of being an even more than usual stinky, sticky, smelly, but still sexxxxxyyyy (oyeah baby!!) mess due to sleeping in all forms of transportation (boat, bus, car ,etc.) as I traveled from Lombok to Flores and back... i've been spending my last few days surfing in the mornings, reading, tanning and taking naps in the afternoon, and drinking/dancing at bars with live music at night.. all before getting into bed by 11 (going to sleep at a reasonable hour is wonderful!!)... there are stunning beaches a short scooter ride away, the food is cheap and fresh, and most importantly, the local are super awesomeEeE. they are so smiley and sweeEt and welcoming.. they still manage to maintain their own culture while being super inviting to visitors. OH, and the local surfer dudes are hilarious and cute, which has been a nice change from the more reserved cultures in Asia... they have nicknamed be Gado-Gado, which is pretty much the unofficial national dish in Indo made up a hodgepodge of different veggies covered in a scrumptious sauce.. its super yummy, delicious, a bit of everything, and well liked by everyone... kinda like me LOLS! :)
before my exciting and exhausting flores trip, i wasn’t doing very much when i initially arrived to indonesia honestly… i got stuck in canggu in bali aka hipster’s paradise after a recommendation from two lovely friends from home (hi Kaitlyn and Taylor!!) its easy to fall in love with the place.. its filled with fresh, healthy foods, good coffee (which surprsingly is rare in indo because its not really part of their culture), beautiful and fun people, including some old friends from back home who happened to be visiting the same time (hi aliya, hi kristi!!!), super sweet locals, awesome live music which I’ve missed so terribly!!!! and cool bars.. also being able to communicate in english, crossing the street without the fear of death, and having reliable wifi were all pluses.. its the little things man!!!! it was a nice return back to civilization, especially after spending a month in myanamar… which was great.. but had ZERO amenities.. i was so happy to be back in a comfortable place..
basically my days in canggu consisted of lounging at the Lawn at Old Man’s during the day, where i’d sip on beers and listen to the staff play music and hang out with awesome pEepS and “partying” at various locations depending on the day of the week... (i use that word lightly because it’s so much more tamed in Canggu than compared to Kuta/Seminyak) Pretty Poison on Tuesdays, Thursday and Saturdays where i’d hang out by the emptied out pool to watch people skate; Old Man’s on Wednesdays and Fridays for dancing; and Deus on Sunday with a live reggae band!!! (alsoOo beer and ice cream YUMS!)… there were also fun trips outside of Canggu to Uluwatu and surrounding areas where I’d bum a ride from someone because I’m still too terrified to get on a scooter but i got to be GPS (i did a horrible job but thanks for still being my friend Anne and Dani!!!!)
i sadly had a few injuries, including a loss toenail and a banged up knee after ANOTHER scooter accident which meant i couldn’t really do too much (excuses excuses) it was a good two weeks before i decided i needed to leave becauseeeEee i only had a 30 day visa and i’d feel a bit terrible not seeing the rest of the country. i mean bali is great, but bali is not the only place in indonesia.. There are over 17,000 islands that stretch across 5,120 kms (3,181 mi) from west to east—that’s basically the equivalent of flying from Portugal to Saudi Arabia or from New York to Peru. SO ITS MASSIVE.
of course, considering i didnt do anything for two weeks.. karma decided to be a bitch and JAM PACK THE NEXT WEEK WITH AN EXHAUSTING ADVENTURE. The quick synopsis below!
- Stargazing on shakes on the beach in Gili Air: They’re totally legal here.. so "porque no?” as I always said in South America. Me and a friendly Dutch/German/Australian crew devoured a delicious pineapple shake under the stars after an unsuccessful attempt the day before.,,, i’ve never seen such an incredible sky in my entire life… the stars were brilliantly bright (shine bright like a diamond) and felt so close... i thought i could grab them (i tried.. didn’t work!),.. i skipped Gili T and instead spent more days on air cus i didn’t wanna party with potbellied, drunk English lads (okay maybe I’m stereotyping, but really.. this is all i saw on the boat ride there kthnxnoooOo) i also did some nice snorkeling!
- Getting threatened by the Indonesian mafia when arriving to Bangsal, Lombok: After getting ripped off on our way to Lombok from Gili, I was stewing with anger at a restaurant with Emilio, my Aussie friend from Gili Air to take us to Senggigi, when i decided to chat up the girls next to us. i asked where they were going and one of them burst into tears and told us that the guys at the restaurant had taken her suitcase with her passport and put it in some car and they were driving it around the island and wouldn’t give it back to her until she paid them $$. i had a few words with them and when they realized i could speak indonesian, they started getting really angry and shoved me away and told me to mind my business.. one guy even raised his hand at me. of course, as soon as i mentioned the police, they quickly located her bag but still wouldn’t give it to her until she gave them 400000 rupiah.. or around 30$.. not a lot, but still the principle of the matter. so terrible.. our taxi driver later told us they were part of the indonesian mafia..
- Celebrating Eid in Mataram, Lombok: after the whole mafia and getting ripped off at the ferry experience, i was feeling like i needed to GTFO of Lombok… luckily though, we ended up showing up for the last day of Ramadan, and everyone was in a celebratory mood. for those who don’t know, Indonesia is the largest Islamic country in the world... as the fourth most populous country, around 85% of the population considers themselves Muslim, though they're a much more moderate society. we were trying to make our way to Mataram, the capital of Lombok, where there was supposed to be a massive celebration, but traffic was absolutely terrible so we actually never made it there. i didn’t matter though because we were able to witness so much on our ride there… we ended up getting out and walking the streets and everyone was stopping because we were the only foreigners.. and they were taking photos with us, giving us hugs, high fiving us, singing, dancing, playing music, riding in Mosque shaped floats… blowing up fireworks (sometimes too close for comfort).. everyone was so warm and friendly.. and welcoming.. definitely changed my whole perspective on the island and i left with a big smile :)
- 4 day/3 night “cruise” (more like coffin) to Flores from Lombok: i didn’t really think this one thru.. and so it became a very unexpected adventure, which i’m happy to report i survived.. i was contemplating on whether i wanted to endure the boat ride since the idea of being trapped at sea with a group of strangers seems like a big risk.. however, after chatting with a guy during eid celebration who mentioned that he had a tour leaving tomorrow and named the right price so i thought “why the hell not.. must be fate!” however, as i said, i didn’t really think this one thru and i actually hadn't seen photos of the boat (everyone told me later the boat was not at all smilier to the photos they were shown) or know how many people would be aboard (luckily it was only 13 instead of 30!) and so i showed up to port and saw that the ship was such a craptacular piece of work. on top of that, our captain, who was a piece of shit, decided to abandon ship since it was the day after ramadan and he was short a captain and he was confident i could help translate stuff to the crew, who spoke no english, so i was stuck trying to communicate with them and i was very unsuccessful.. and the waves ended up being really rough the first day.. people were vomitting and i thought we were going got die. ) and of course, the kicker, i got my period as soon as we got on the boat, and there were rumors you couldn’t see the komodo dragons on you period cus they would attack (false!) so i was feeling pretty gutted… luckily we had a good group of people so once we survived the first night, we laughed about our near death experience and how we were all conned into this “magnificent cruise” and then when the other ship broke down, we all bonded together and refused to add another 13 people on our boat (We were not looking to die/capsize) and ventured out on our own.. we ended up having a really good time together; snorkeling, sharing beers, eating Nasik Goreng/Mie Goreng FOR EVERY SINGLE MEAL… sleeping in very close, damp corridors, chatting underneath the stars, chasing mantrays, laying on pink sand beaches, searching for komodo dragons, and taking night swims with plankton that made you feel like you were swimming in the stars! by the end of the trip, we were buds with the crew too, even if they still couldn’t speak english!
- Quick 3 day trip across Flores to see Kelimutu, crashing an indigenous ceremony with two hilarious Spaniards As soon as we got off the cruise, the spaniards and i, hugo and coral, started trying to find a ride to Kelimutu, which is on the complete opposite side of the massive island (about a 15 hour ride without stops) after a bit of negotiation, we managed to flag two random guys down to make the 3 day, 2 night trip.. again, in hindsight, maybe not the best idea because WHO THE FUCK WERE THEY?!!? but they seemed nice enough and they had leanne rimes playing in their car, so how bad could they be? they were actually really great.. super funny (even though they also barely spoke english and the spaniards sometimes needed me to translate so i was getting a headache talking in multiple languages) and they drove straight through the night on a very windy road, which meant another night of terrible sleep… however, it was totally worth it when we woke up and climbed up to see Kelimutu which is a cool mountain with 3 lakes that change colors cus of the minerals in the lake.. we watched one lake go from blue to a thick, dense white.. i really wanted to see one of the lakes turn red, but alas, it was not my lucky day.. we then drove to a small little village and then had dinner and stopped by a crappy little guesthouse where i FINALLY(!!!!!!!) was able to take a shower and sleep on a non-moving object… the next morning we woke up bright and early to make our way back to Labuanbajo when we happened to drive past a Caci whip fight, which is a major element of Manggarai cultural identity and somehow ended up being the guest of honor because when you’re with spaniards you’re guaranteed to have an amazing time dancing around and partying.. we took some photos with the village leaders and had a great time with everyone… we then asked our drivers to take us to the cheapest guesthouse which turned out to be a small little unventilated room but cost us basically nothing so we piled on in because they were flying out at 5Am and i was catching a ferry at 8AM so whats another miserable night?
- 24 hour ferry->rooftop car ride->bus->ferry->bus journey back to lombok i basically fell asleep for most of this so i wasn’t *THAT* misreable, but the threshold was set pretty low after the past week.. the only annoying part was being forced onto the top of a van because there was no more room so i had to position myself between a man and some luggage just in case we were going to tip over and depending on which side we fell, i’d have something to break my fall.. and almost being decapitated because of the large branches (luckily I’m short so someone would have taken the brunt of the hit).. and then getting onto the bus which had uncomfortable seats and no ac so i was sitting next to another sweaty, smelly person (though I’m sure they were thinking the same about me) and apparently, there was a chicken in the bathroom so i had to hold in my pee the entire ride.. where i was woken up at 2AM to get into another ferry and sleep in another, non AC room but at this point i could probably sleep standing up.. then we were shoved back into the bus at 6AM and finally made it to Lombok at 9AM.. where i caught a shuttle to Kuta (Lombok.. not Bali, yuck!) which means I’m.....
- FINALLY BACK IN LOMBOK WHICH IS MY HAPPY PLACE.
YEPPPPP. so thats it… fun times. i have a lot of other things to write about.. like all my emotions about being back home in my mother’s motherland and learning the language and the culture and the customs but thats LONG and maybe less interesting so i’ll save that for another time cus right now i need a beer and a nap!!!