Saturday, 2 January 2010

Sengiggi Lombok and back to normality (well almost)

Getting off the ferry from Bali you would think you had arrived back on Java as the first impression is that the island is exactly the same. Durian stalls, motorbikes in abundance, no westerners and no advertisements. It is quite a shock really as the island is completely different.
The ferry ride across was delightful.
We were met by a driver who put us in a mini van and then proceeded to drive headlong at speed through the Island to his office in Mataram, where everyone got out as they were going to the Gilis. We stayed in and got taken again at speed to Sengiggi.
I had a lot doubt it was going to be nice when we got there as the first impression of the island led me to believe that and on arriving to Sengiggi I was still not sure as I still had the picture of Bali and beaches in my mind. I had to remember that Bali is a hindu island and Lombok is a muslim island so the people have different perspectives on life.
Sengiggi is essentially a long stretch of bays and beaches with holiday resorts and villas all over the place, with white sands and the sea on one side and mountains and trees on the other.
We were dropped at the hotel and told to call the driver to make sure he would come back and get us and off he went.
Checking in was good as the receptionist had already given our room to someone else and so we were given another. I have no idea if the room was bigger, smaller, better or worse but the one we had was great. It was up about 50 steps and had a great view of the sea and sky and faced directly west.



the view from the room window

The place we were staying at was the Puri Bunga beach cottages and for 250,000 rupiahs a night it was lovely. Nice big bed, ac, tv, shower and a fantastic view. What more could you ask for.




the hotel

Venturing out on Christmas eve we found the ATM and then went through the art market across from the hotel and found a bar called 'the office'. The office has a great view of the beach through the boats and the sunset and so we pretty much stayed there until 11pm, eating and drinking until we staggered back.

Christmas day was simply too hot and too quiet. We had breakfast and then arranged for a bike so we could tour and travel round. We got as far as Coco Beach and returned, quite simply as it was too hot. I had sunburt head and feet and so had to get a hat and Yovita was close to having Sunstroke.
So we retreated to a bar and drank our way through the afternoon and then went back to the hotel for a little sleep.
Christmas Day dinner sadly was not Turkey as we could not find a restaurant that sold it so I had beef and potatoes and Yovita had Tuna. It was nice as the Gin went down well and I got to speak to Mum and Dad from the beach so that was good.
It was the least Christmas day I have ever experienced as there was no hint of people celebrating it or attempting too.

Boxing day was another stunningly beautiful day and red hot in the morning, cooling off in the afternoon and then turned to rain. We wandered about and took photos and ate in different places. We then returned the bike and just sat about drinking and ignoring the heat and sun. A late afternoon snooze and then the final night in Lombok.
More beer and falling over.

The next morning we were met on time by the van and got on and then left for the Ferry. Pretty uneventful for the rest of the day. We decided whilst on the ferry not to stay at the Tune hotel in Legion as the Kuta one was so bad so when we finally arrived in Kuta (8 hours later), tired, hungry and sweaty we headed to Poppies and got a room in AP Inn.
After a shower and a change we went to a restaurant, watch Avatar on the big screen and then retired for the night worn out.

The next morning a quick trip to the beach to see the dead fish and the surfers before having to check out. Our flight was at 8pm and so we had about 6 hours to waste. We managed that well by just shopping and moving from bar to bar. The only problem was that the power had been cut in Bali so there were no ATMs working and no AC. It was only when we reached the Discovery Mall that I could cool down.
I headed for the Bintang store and got some t-shirts and a hat which seemed to delight the manager so much he took a photo of me with all this stuff.

Getting back to Jakarta was nice and despite another delay with Lion Air we were home and in the apartment by 10pm. KFC is 24 hour delivery and so they soon arrived and we were full.
Yovita had to work the next day so I met her in a taxi. The reason why was that my Sony TV had died and so she was going to get it looked at and I could take hers.
Her TV works but the picture is not so good, maybe I will look at it tomorrow. The funny thing is that the TV is now working perfectly in her house!!!
The next day I did even less but I did go to the GYM!!! Yes thats right the GYM and it was hell.

We met some friends in Jacksa pool hall and played a few games before moving to a great and cheap restaurant called Yahuadas which is close by for some dinner before going home.

I did not really know what to do New Years eve as I was not sure what I wanted however we had a room booked in the Ibis in Tamrin and the plan was Aphrodites sports bar and then to Jacksa Pool Hall.
I checked in at 3pm and waited for Yovita to arrive. We met in Starbucks and then wandered back.
Aphrodites was charging 1 million rupiah a table so we sat at the bar, drank 2 for 1 beer and ate some food before getting bored around 10pm and leaving. Last year it was good, this year no atmosphere. Simply bad. I guess because the place was all tables and so no-one was standing about.
My credit card was declined for some unknown reason and despite phoning them to find out, I still had no satisfactory answer and I am still not sure. So I will wait until the statement arrives and see.
The traffic to Jaksa was building as is the norm and so it took a while but it was ok.
Jacksa Pool hall was actually rather good. We had to wait for a pool table but since the redecoration and the upmarket feel and the fact that 5 heineken beers were just 75,000 I was more than in the mood to see the new year in.
12 bottles later and lot of horn blowing (we were given free horns and hats), 2009 left and 2010 arrived.

By 2am I was wrecked and so we left and staggered to the hotel. After being told off by people for the noise I made and by my mum who I managed to call and I think Jon rang as well and said I have an American accent I passed out, woke up, threw up, passed out until midday.

I spent the rest of the day led on my bed at my place watching TV.

The evening I went to see some friends and had a rather polite evening eating and talking with adults (not teachers but real people who were visiting the country) and so that made a change.

I spent most of Saturday in a lovely restaurant bar called Indo Chine in FX which has simply stunning  views of the city, so much so I never took any photos but then it was raining so they would not have come out. A few beers with some other DoS's to welcome the new year in and then back to the apartment to rest and think about the weeks to come.

My christmas break has come to an end and I have been rather busy, am now rather broke but still it has been a great 2 weeks. I start back at the mill (work) on Monday. I may venture to the gym also.

I dont mind going back to work, I am looking forward to it. Lets see what happens....

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