Our flight this morning was at 11.30am. Lew had a sleep in but I was up at the crack of dawn as usual as I was dealing with the washing I had hand washed in the bath the night before. We had breakfast for the last time at the hotel and because we had come later then usual it was very crowded with Chinese tourists. I strategically picked a table without anyone smoking around us because it seems to be completely ok here to smoke like a train in the middle of people eating. Drives me mad after all the end stage copd (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) patients I have looked after who are constantly short of breath with any sort of movement. I believe it's one of the worse ways to die... Anyways it was just our luck that one man did come and sit on a table next to us and start smoking 🙄. We just ate breakfast a bit quicker and went to pack up our room.
One issues we did have was the fact that Gaurda Indonesia the airline we were flying with only has a 20kg bag allowance. I tried to sort this a few nights ago online but Lew said don't bother we will deal with it at the airport. I was sure we would get stung with excess baggage fees and even brought a large extra bag to our stuff in if necessary. We took the hotel shuttle from Uluwatu to the airport which only took about 30 minutes. The domestic airport was surprisingly well build, spacious with lots of large shops. Certainly beats any domestic terminal back home! Anyone getting into the airport has all their bags screened and they check you are actually flying before being allowed in. Checking in was easy and we actually only had to pay $7 NZD worth of excess luggage despite being 9kg over weight! We are still very unsure how we managed to gain an extra two kgs since we left NZ as we haven't brought much at all! We then went through security again - Lew again had to remove all his camera gear from his bag as there is so much of it and they like to have a closer look. Then we just walked to our gate and continued to work on previous blogs and edit photographs before boarding. Just as we were getting up to board Lew stands up saying he doesn't feel so good and takes off down the terminal running to find a toilet 😂. Things were all ok though he hadn't caught anything, just a brief moment of unwellness haha! We were some of the last people to board and when we got to our seats after putting our luggage away we always sigh with relief as our carry on probably weighs just as much as checked luggage combined! We were in the exit rows which I was very pleased about. We just have such high standards flying Air NZ all the time that we forget the rest of the world's airlines are not all like that. The flight to Lombok was only about 30minutes but the cabin crew provided the fastest inflight service we have ever seen. They handed out boxes of food and drink to every passenger as soon as the seatbelt sign came off and collected up the boxes two minutes later! In fact the pilots actually delayed landing and flew around Lombok in a circle so they had to for the service! Lew was amazed and said the fly exactly like they drive - aggressive and fast! ✈️ But I didn't feel unsafe. The pilot told the air hostesses to be seated for landing and they were still running around collecting snack boxes as he begins to drop the plane 300m at a time! Perhaps they should ditch the service and get their passengers back on the ground faster! The only other thing that was strange is as we walked off the plane to our right was all the other airlines and then this random abandoned plane on the side of the runway (engines still hanging from the wings) 🤔. I don't want to know how it came about that fate!
Lew grabbed another SIM card and they set it up for him then and there as he still couldn't get the other one to work. We left the airport into a sea of Indonesian male taxi drivers all trying to get our attention and business. We were pleased we had organised transport already and saw a sign being held over everyone's head "Mr Lewis Commons" we waved at our driver Mr Katut who was Adys (our driver from yesterday) uncle. The sea of drivers parted for us and we made our way towards him. Another man came running over to help with our bags as we went down a steep slope full of pot holes. He then carried our bags on his shoulders to the car stacking them in the boot. Lew tipped him and he went about finding more people to help. Katut didn't speak much English but we were able to use a translating app to speak to him. Leaving the airport had a completely different vibe already from Bali as it wasn't busy and appeared to be more rural and clean (so far!). The drive was just under an hour to Senggigi on the west coast where we were staying. Our accommodation- The Sheraton Beach Resort was on the beach front and also walking distance to town. It was also surprisingly cheap for a Sheraton and we had decided to splurge on $150 NZD a night. On the way up to Senggigi we drove past the most massive mosque we have ever seen. It was the Islamic Center and Ketut drove us into to car park to take a proper look.
Once we arrived at the hotel embarrassingly we did become that couple who sat around for about an hour using the internet to finish up editing photos from the day before instead of heading straight out to explore. But if we don't keep up we will get so behind with us travelling until mid November!
Eventually we put our phones and laptops down to explore the accomodation grounds and the beach. Walking up the beach you notice in typical plastic rubbish stuck in the sand which has washed up on the beach. Still it was very beautiful as we walked back down the other way. They were releasing baby turtles in front of our hotel so we were able to pick one out to set free! Once you pass the large hotels you reach a part of the beach where there were traditional fishing boat all lined up in the sand. We were just surrounded by local families - mainly oodles of children playing in the water. Such an amazing sight. We were the only white people doing this and you could see a few of the teenagers with their phones taking subtle pictures of us. In fact some even came up to us and asked for a photo. We weren't sure at first whether they wanted us to take one of them or one of us? But when all the children came running in next to us and we realised we were the center of attention it became clearer. They called us beautiful which is why they said they wanted the photo. We managed to get one on our camera too. As we continued to walk up the beach so many children yelled out to us " Hello! Hello!"
After our walk we went back to change into our togs and went to the pool/beach for a swim before parking ourselves up on a beach front sun lounger to watch the sunset. We realised we hadn't had lunch and ordered a mojito and some fish and chips as a snack. It was the most relaxed we felt this entire holiday. We watched one of our favourite YouTube blogger Lost Leblancs video in how to live in Bali and we were pleased to hear we had covered majority of the activities he had suggested 😁.
Once the sun was well down we changed and walked up the road in the dark to find somewhere to eat. There was an Indonesian place called Asmara that the hotel staff recommended and said it was safe for us to walk down too. We got to our hotel gates with three security guards and a metal detector and there was a man outside across the road asking us if we wanted to ride in his "Lombok Ferrari" and by that he meant his horse and cart 😂
At Asmara we got a selection of Indonesian dishes which the waiter explained to us but we still didn't know what we were eating! I have to admit we didn't eat much of the food except the prawn crackers which we knew we already liked. I tried everything but Lew was far more sceptical noticing the dishes that I had hardly touched and deciding he wasn't going to try them either!!
We walked back to the hotel in the dark and made plans to get up to the Gilli Islands tomorrow 🐠☀️