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lombok adventure - Day 2

Second day of our "tour de Lombok"

boat at Kuta Lombok

boat at Kuta Lombok

Another prompt 10am start to the day we had to make a short stop at the Manteram Mall again to pick up a few more things for the Rinjani Trek. 3 days/2 nights I want to be as prepared as I can be! We were soon on the road again though making our way to the beautiful beaches of Kuta Lombok. All though it shares the same name as Kuta Bali, the differences couldn’t be more dramatic. Kuta Bali is a tourist hotspot full of thousands of people crammed onto the beaches with high rise buildings dominating the air. Kuta Lombok on the other hand has very little tourism in comparison, derelict white sandy beaches, lush green hills surrounding the various coral reef bays and world class surf. That is now, but with the locals anxiously waiting for the International airport to be finished its only a matter of time before the tourism bomb explodes.

Lombok traffic

Lombok traffic

overloaded

overloaded

The village of Kuta is very small with the bulk of it being restaurants, surf shacks and small clothing/souvenir stands that line the main road, running parallel to the sea front. So agreeing a time of 3pm to be picked up from a small seafront restaurant car park, we were left to our own devices to explore the surroundings for a few hours. So starting off with some lunch and a grim adventure in the toilet (Bali belly + squat toilet = :- / ), we then took the obligatory tour of the road side shops before I left Sarah on the beach with her book while I went in search of the “world class surf” that is fast becoming the main attraction of Kuta if not the whole of Lombok.

kuta lombok pano

kuta lombok pano

Finding out from a local that the surf is located about 1km away I start to walk down the road, body board and fins in hand before I get a tap on the shoulder and an offer of a lift on the back of a scooter. All I will say is that it was a risk cause he could have taken me anywhere, but the rider (that I later find out is called “captain jack” due to his scraggly hair) did indeed take me straight to the surf and Jesus Christ it was big! Famous for its big right hander that is a coral reef break, thus not really beginner friendly. Il be honest as I paddled out I was a bit scared. The razor sharp reef is 8ft deep one second, then 1 ft deep another. The swells kick up and rips pull you in all kind of directions. Never the less I proceeded, ducking and diving with my board with the monstrosity of a wave my target. Now I’d love to say that I was like a young Kelly Slater, tearing up the wave, but unfortunately it wasn’t so……. Numerous times I was flicked and dunked until I got to the point that I was so tired from dodging the exposed reefs that I almost gave up but I persisted until I caught a wave that flung me into its face with so much speed my knuckles were white gripping the sides of my board ! The fear was in equal proportion to the excitement but I was just glad that I finally got to ride the massive right hander. I returned to the shore feeling victorious (well it felt like it to me!) and I was met by “captain jack” who was on his scooter ready to give me a lift back to the beach where I promised him a nice tip would be waiting for him.

Found Sarah on the beach getting a hardcore sales pitch from a 7-9 yr old selling bracelets. He might have only been that young but some of the lines he was coming out with would have given Del Trotter a run for their money! It’s pretty sad that the kids have to make and sell bracelets whenever they are not at school. Really made me realize how lucky I am to come from a place where that would never usually happen. Il admit that the kids wore us down and although you shouldnt buy anything from the kids as it encourages their parents to keep on making them do it, they can become very persuasive. We agreed to buy some after haggling with them in the same manor i would do with a 50 year old man and as we hand over our cash they run off (thanks then!) signalling about 10 new kids trying to sell us stuff! Obviously I now know thats why you shouldnt deal with the kids, but i guess you have to learn the hard way somethimes.....

It was getting towards 3pm so we thought it would be best to make our way to the car park to meet our driver. “We are 15 mins early, but maybe he is there” I thought……how wrong was I! For a start there was no car, only a waiter carrying a set of bags that looked remarkably like ours.
“I’ve been told to give these bags and this 75,000rp to you and tell you that your driver can’t pick you up”
“Excuse me, what???????”
“I’ve been told to give these bags and this 75,000rp to you and tell you that your driver can’t pick you up”
“Yeah, I heard you the first time, what’s going on? Why isn’t he picking us up? We are on the other side of the bloody island! How are we going to get back to Sengiggi? It is a paid tour, he can’t just leave us?????
To be honest I was as angry as I was confused. What were we going to do? We didn’t even have a phone? We were supposed to be going to the weaving village in the afternoon, actually scrap that, how are we going to get back? With a stroke of luck though, Sarah managed to find out our receipt with an office phone number on it and during the confusion the restaurant manager had come over to see what was going on. We told him and he sorted us out with his phone and even phoned up for us! Bless that man, because whatever he said resulted in us getting a ride with someone else 15 mins later. All this chaos only went on for maybe 30 mins, but talk about stress! Least we were sorted again.

weaveing village

weaveing village

dress up !

dress up !

On the way back we got to even stop off as planned at the weaving village, a community that works together to make all things woven and all the profits are split equally. It is not just any weaving though. The cotton plants are harvested in fields nearby, spun and dyed in the village and then hand woven in the traditional way. There are no machines to make sarongs and hats in this place as everything is made using methods passed down from each generation. Each sarong made would usually take between 1-2 months depending on how intricate the detail is. We find out this information as our guide takes us to different women and he talks us through the processes of what they are doing. Only being there and watching how fast they work and what they have to do from memory can justify how much work goes into each thing they make.

weaving lady

weaving lady

intricate weaving

intricate weaving

weaving pattern

weaving pattern

As with all tours, you have to exit through the gift shop where hot sweet tea is served and we got to dress up in tradition Muslim garments. All of this is to prime the cogs in your wallet obviously, but we may as well take advantage of the hospitality while we were there I guess! Seeing just how much work goes into the products meant that we just had to buy something better than the tacky machine made souvineers that are in any shop. Size and weight being our only restriction (price as well obviously) we settled on an intricately woven gold and black table center piece. It was expensive at about $40 I guess, but you wouldn’t be able to get one at IKEA. I had a look at a big sofa throw that was super nice but way too big to carry and I got sucked into bartering for it. I constantly told him that It was too big for me but he kept pushing a calculator at me with prices on starting at 800,000 rp. 250,000rp I replied with hoping that the stupidly low price would make him realize that I didn’t want it, but he was determined to sell it to me. 800,000rp came down to 300,000rp and I thought my plan would backfire. Bugger. A few words with his boss later and I was told that 300,000 rp was the lowest he could go and all I had to do was go up a bit more. All I will say is that I didn’t leave with the sofa throw, phew! But what I did leave with was an impression that I was a tight arse white tourist that just wanted to rip the poor lady weavers off! Great…. I did tell him I didnt want it !

We eventually made it back to Sengiggi where we were met at the office by our no show driver. If he hadn’t of ran out with his hand in the air offering apologies and his reasons that he “had to take someone to the hospital” then we might have reacted a bit differently. Tired we decided that we did make it back in one piece so there was no point in arguing about it. After all we had a bigger problem coming our way tomorrow, Mt Rinjani !!!!!!!

Posted by dan elliott 20:06 Archived in Indonesia Tagged weaving lombok kuta

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