Kuta - Lombok
Next Mr. Ketut took us to Saske Ende village which was a small village of 125 people. They build their houses out of bamboo, wood, string, mud, cow dung and long grass. They have to replace the long grass on the roof of the houses every 6 years as it is no longer waterproof after that. They also put water and cow dung on the floor often to keep it soild and less dusty. Married couples sleep inside but once a child is born the women sleeps inside with the child until it is 6 years and the man sleeps outside. Once the child is greater than 6 years old if it is female they continue to sleep Inside but if it is a male they sleep outside with their father. This is because the woman is considered lesser and weak so therefore needs protection inside the house. The village still cooks with fire and mainly eats fresh fruit and veggies from around the village . They are a bit cheeky as on the way out they make you sign a guest book and it asks for a donation! Certainly visiting these villages made us realise that these people work to live whereas we live to play.
Last night at dinner we contacted Mr. Ketut again to see whether we could drive us to Kuta. He is ditched the plan to try and scooter for the first time all the way down there. We just planned to get one down there so we could Beach hop. He gave us a prove of 700,000 and I said to Lew try and ask him for 600,000 Rupiah. He agree once he found out we just wanted a ride there and back. 😊
We were driving through parts of Denpasar and I saw a small child holding onto its mother whilst on the back of a scooter with Dad driving. I started wondering about how these children deal with the drinking water and food if so many of us westerners get sick. Turns out that 31% of children between the age of one month to 1 year die from diahorrea related illnesses! Also I hadn't noticed any older adults and it turns out that only 5% of Indonesians are over the age of 65 years! Might be related to the fact that they have the highest rate of smoking in the world with 76%.
Despite the plan being to go straight to Kuta, Mr. Ketut took us to the Sukarara village ie the weaving village where a local man who spoke fantastic English showed us around the village. From the age of 9 women in the village are taught to weave. The men also weave on much larger looms that they have to use both hands and feet for, other wise they tend to the corn. After 14 years of weaving they are considered experts and often the village pays for them to go overseas to Maylasia where they are paid better and can send the money back. One of the women was making a beautiful blue, green, yellow and pink design and spoke some English and offered to show us how to weave. We were afraid of ruining her design as it takes 2 months to make a large one such as hers. But she talked us through it and it was surprisingly comfortable being strapped into their loom (although we were only there for 5 minutes and they are there all day everyday!). The man talked to us about usual life in Lombok and we discovered kids only go to school until aged 15. In order to become a nurse they have to go to a special school from ages 15-17 and then to university for another 5 years. That makes it an 8 year degree!
We tipped her and then were shownwhere you could purchase one of our own. None of the designs were as eye catching as the one she was making but we felt inclined to buy one. Averill's voice (Lews mum) was ringing in the back of our minds about bringing back some souvenirs. So we found a small one that the man said was a table runner in a lovely blue colour and bartered him down to 400,000 Rupiah and to pay him 100,000. Sold! He said it takes two weeks for the women to make this sized one which we worked out meant they made about $1.90 NZD per day.
From here it was a short drive to Kuta where Mr. Ketut drove us to a man that was renting scooters. He didn't give us a great price but we were unable to really walk away and find somewhere else since Mr. Ketut has already had a conversation with him. It ended up being 100,000 for 5 hours and he put two litres (or rather two absolute vodka bottles of fuel ) in it as he said we wouldn't get everywhere on the half a tank it had. Lew had a practice first without me on the back and seemed to be pretty good. We tried to ask Mr. Ketut to show us where we were going so Lew could get a bit more practice in and I could sit in the car and jump on the back when he felt more comfortable. The translation was very very difficult as we had no service so couldn't use google translate. In the end we packed everything into my back pack and figured we would deal with it ourselves. Navigating was easy with Maps.me as we could be offline and still know where we were going. We basically followed the road out to Selong Balanak which took us about half an hour through small villages, road works, corn fields and pot holes. It was a little nerve wracking as driving a scooter isn't exactly something on either of our to do lists. In fact at home I call them temporary New Zealanders and all I could think about is the consequencesof falling off. Yes we wore helmets - filthy ones but helmets none the less and I was also carrying a forts aid kit with steri strips, wound glue and anything else you could think of!
Selong Balanak is absolutely worth visiting . It is the nicest beach we have visited so far with white sand and the perfect waves to learn to surf on. On entry the locals charge you 10000 Rupiah ($1 NZD) for scooter parking but you could easily head in another entrance or park your scooter out on the road. We paid mainly because Lew didn't want to make the locals angry and it wasn't exactly expensive. Once completely lathering ourselves in sunblock we waited for it to dry before heading in for a swim. We hadn't had much luck recently and every single day we had got burnt despite sunblock. We were both peeling from our first day at Sunday's Beach Club. We weren't sure if it was ok to leave your belongings on the beach whilst you swum but we covered it all up and just watched it constantly. There weren't any locals on the beach hassling us and there were a few other travellers next to us. The beach also wasn't covered in rubbish like some of the others. The water was warm and it was more of a sand bar so we weren't hitting our feet on coral. Such a dream of a beach! And we were surrounded by mountains, felt similar to the Abel Tasman but also very different. There was a beach front cafe called Laut Biru Bar and Restaurant which we got some lunch at. Lew was a bit stressed about trying to get hold of the company we are climbing Mt Rinjani with tomorrow to confirm our booking so he spent most of the time on the phone. They kept hanging up on him but an email got through and we managed to confirm our booking.
We got back on our scooter and decided to head back to another beach called Mawun Beach. There was only one way in and out of this one with a badly pot holed road. We paid the gate keepers again with 1000 Rupiah and parked up the scooter. This one was in a big oval shape with the same white sand but was littered with rubbish. We didn't stay long as there was another beach on the opposite side of Kuta we wanted to get to also and it was about 3.40pm. The ride form Mawun to Tanjung Aan was about 15 minutes. We had to dodge cows, stray dogs, chickens and many pot holes on the journey. Our 50cc bike really struggled to get up some of the hills even with full throttle and we though it was pretty close to stalling! We got some GoPro footage from the back of the bike and managed to navigate the main road. We got up to a maximum of 55km here but it was still frightening. Lew didn't seem to think we could do too much damaged to our bodies if we came off at such an low speed but I begged to differ!
Tanjung Aan was by far the worse road into the beach of them all. We thought Christchurch roads were bad post earthquakebut they weren't even on the same scale as this! We paid another gate keeper and walked into yet another white sandy beach. This one was also in a beautiful cove but wasn't as busy as the others. There was still a bit of rubbish on the beach and the tide was out so we decided not to swim. When we first sat down some children about 3 and 6 years old came up to us and tried to sell us some bracelets. We weren't interested buy I got talking to the young girl. She wasn't a good sales person, lacked enthusiasm for what she was selling! Her wee brother also wasn't very good and left his bracelets and just began playing in the sand. It took a bit to get rid of them but they eventually got the point we didn't want anything. Lew took the camera and went to take some shots whilst I read my book. It was quite interesting watching some young Chinese tourist being surrounded by locals trying to sell them all sorts. I giggled to myself as they got forced to buy something that looked much like a tree branch! Getting back into Kuta to drop the scooter back we pulled up to the mans stall and Lew accidentally pulled the throttle too hard and we almost launched ourselves into the mans sign! His eyes almost popped out of his head and I promised him lews driving was a lot better out in the roads. He proceeded to ask Lew if the bike was ok and if we had any crashes 😂. Luckily no!
We left at about 5pm as we were supposed to meet our driver Mr. Ketut back where we rented our scooter from. It was sad to see him still sitting there when we arrived and I hoped he didn't just been there for the entire time we were away. I guess if you think about it he got paid to sit and do as he pleased instead of driving the entire day! Lew said in the car on the way back " I Never thought i would miss the smell of chlorinated water and just knowing how sanitary it is". We just don't know when the next time we will just feel safe is seeing as we have months of travelling and then trying to settle in a new country. It's a weird feeling but then that's what doing your O/E is all about - getting out of your comfort zone
We picked up our washing which was beautifully done, smelt lovely and clean and was all accounted for. We also had a night swim in the pool before heading to the hotel restaurant on the beach.
Time to pack for Rinjani! We start our two day hike up the active volcano tomorrow morning. We get a pick up at 6am! We are a little nervous but I'm sure we will rise to the challenge! 💪🏽