I was promised breakfast at 6am because I wanted to get an early ferry over to Lombok. But when 6am came I was glad when I couldn’t hear or smell anything and I happily turned off my alarm and reset it for 6:30. Then again for 7am. Because I had a room for two people the guy said I could have two breakfasts. Had I been feeling well this would have probably been a welcome gesture, but as it was the warm bread pretending to be toast and the thick, floury, undercooked banana pancake didn’t sit well with me.
I got to the ferry at 7:30am, despite being the only person in queue I got my ticket at 7:45am. But for a ticket that costs £4 I can’t complain, and that was for me and Priscilla.
I was ushered into a waiting pen with the scooters and the sun was unbelievably hot, so I sat on a plastic bag behind a wall, much to the amusement of the locals. It was all systems go when everyone started to move, but it turns out we were just moved to another queue. There were a couple of friendly people but most of the time people just stared at me.
Rather annoyingly there were a couple of Warungs (local food places) so yesterday I could have got some food here. I sat on a bench in one of them to get out the sun. I pointed to a bottle of water, how much? 10,000. A juice, how much? 10,000. A bag of crisps, how much? 10,000. I see, so everything is 10,000 for me! I watched as the locals paid 2,000 or 5,000 for things and although 10,000 is only about 60 pence, I still felt tired of being ripped off because of the colour of my skin.
We eventually got on ferry at 9:25am. I used those crappy Sea to Summit straps I have been carrying to secure Priscilla to a pipe, although wedged between the side of the boat and a massive truck, she wasn’t going anywhere!
I went upstairs to passenger deck and there were all sorts of people trying to sell things. Ice coffee. Monkey nuts. Children’s clothes. Sarongs. One man thrust the tray of monkey nuts in my face, pointed at me and then pointed at the nuts.
I didn’t buy any nuts but plenty of people did and the sight of them was just too much. It was like feeding time at the zoo. People were spitting shells all over the deck and throwing stuff over the side. Don’t know what to do with your rubbish? chuck it into the sea.
We set off at 10:10am. I sat outside for a while but there were too many people smoking. It was pretty packed but I found a quiet end seat. The sun and reading my book were making me sleepy so I went to have a lie down inside with the Indonesians. Despite the heat and the humidity I fell asleep then woke because I felt awful in the stomach. I went to the toilets to find they were squat toilets with no paper, just a bucket of water. I released what I thought was all of my body fluids.
I went back to sleep and had to get up and go again. This time there was a lot more shit smeared about the place and patches of vomit. The floor before the toilet stalls was swimming in water which was sloshing from side ti side with the movement of the boat. Gross.
Eventually we docked in Lembar, Lombok at 14:35 and got off at 14:50. My phone wasn’t playing ball and wouldn’t connect to the internet so I was unsure of which way I should go to get out of the harbour. A nice man helped me and directed me where to go. Then we got talking and I ended up arranging a Rinjani tour with him and he invited me to stay in his house overnight.
I did everything I shouldn’t have done. After all my research, my plan was to get to Senaru and book the tour from there. Don’t use a tour tout said everyone. But it was my birthday and all I had done so far was be ill on a ferry, and the thought of spending the night on my own in a grotty homestay in Mataram wasn’t something I was looking forward to, so all my research went out of the window.
Og (oh-gee) got me food from the local warung by choosing not spicy food for my weak western palette. Then we went to his home. it was a pretty basic, typical Indonesian home. He has so much family who all live in the houses next door and the immediate surrounding area. He took me to beach for sunset. This was the first time I had been on a scooter. I wasn’t keen on it.
Back at his house I had a ‘shower’ (I threw cups of water over myself) and emptied my bowels again. Surely there can’t be anything left!
We then went to join his friends who spent the night playing an out of tune guitar, but they had such an amazing repertoire of songs. The Beatles, The Cranberries, Westlife, Boyz II Men, Oasis, Adele, John Denver – with new lyrics, come to mamma instead of mountain mamma! To be honest they got most of the words wrong but you couldn’t fault their enthusiasm!
It was such a fun night. I really took a chance here. I had been told the harbour isn’t a safe place, more so at night, but what incredible people. This is what I had heard about Indonesian hospitality, but this is the first time I have experienced it. It will definitely be one of those birthdays you never forget.
Let’s get social
I continue to raise money for Just A Drop – they bring sustainable clean water, sanitation and hygiene projects to communities around the world.
663 million people across the globe are living without access to clean, safe water. That’s 1 in 10 people. A child dies every 90 seconds from a water related disease. One third of the worlds population – 2.4 billion people – don’t have access to adequate sanitation.
If you have enjoyed this blog, please consider donating a few…pounds / dollars / euros / yen… and together we can change lives.