Despite being so tired I didn’t sleep too well. I was so hot and in so much pain! I needed to move on but I wasn’t sure how I was going to ride my bike when I could barely get myself up off the floor!
Og’s mum gave me tea and bananas for breakfast and I packed up all my stuff. Now I’ve been around a bit the kids are growing in confidence with me and they are taught to say ‘hello tourist’ from a very young age. They say it over and over and over again, but they are cute.
I set off and realised my cycle computer wasn’t on the handlebars. I’m pretty sure I didn’t take it off. When I got to Og’s house I remember thinking I should remove it, just in case, but I don’t think I did in the end. I searched through my things and it wasn’t there. I went back to speak to Og but of course no one knew anything about it. He said there wasn’t anything on the handlebars when I arrived, which I thought was strange that he would have paid such close attention to it. I can’t say exactly what happened but I have a feeling it has been taken. I hope it turns up in my luggage. Unfortunately it seems unlikely. (Update: I never found it).
It is really inconvenient not having it and I got really pissed off. If someone did take it, it is totally useless to them. It only works with the sensor which is still on the bike. I have gotten used to knowing my speed and distance and I liked it. Plus it’s another thorn in the crown when it comes to my opinion of the Indonesian people. I had to put it in perspective by thinking about the people in America being affected by the hurricanes – in the grand scheme of things losing a cycle computer isn’t that bad. Having it stolen though…
I cycled from Lembar to Mataram, which was thankfully flat, so I only had to worry about the heavy traffic and the pollution. I got to my homestay and they were so nice. Mataram is a predominantly Muslim city and the homestay ask that you dress appropriately. I was wearing shorts and I was supposed to have my knees covered but they didn’t say anything. I changed into long trousers as soon as they gave me my room. I explained that I needed to apply for a visa extension and they were really nice and did all the scans and printing for me.
There were two very sweet girls trying my bike out for size and they wanted a selfie. My room was big enough to bring the bike inside, I wasn’t taking any more chances.
I walked to the immigration office which was about 2 miles away. No one walks here and I think people find it really unusual to see a tourist walking down the street. I still got hassled for transport but nowhere near as often as I did in Bali. I was so hungry but I am too nervous about the street food, I have no idea how long it has been there and how many flies it has had on it. This place is very local, there is no catering for tourists here, in fact the only foreigners I saw were in the immigration office.
People say that Lombok is quieter than Bali but that’s incorrect. It is just as busy, but there are fewer tourists, and that means not as many people speak English so it’s harder to communicate. I ended up going hungry for most of the day.
I have noticed that people are more genuinely friendly here. A lot of people said hello to me without wanting anything afterwards. They just wanted to say hello, and they want to help you mostly with no hidden agenda. The kids are so cute, they run along shouting ‘hello mister’ or ‘hello tourist’ then they run away and hide when you say hello back or wave at them.
The visa process which I have been dreading was surprisingly easy. I think I benefited from doing it in Mataram rather than Denpasar which I imagine is a lot busier. All the counters were closed but a man told me to wait for counter 1 to open. I think the counters are always marked as closed so it definitely helps to play the act of a clueless tourist (not that I had to act much). A lady gave me the forms and told me what to do, translating all the Indonesian on the front of the folder for me. I gave them back to her and she called my name just two minutes later, she gave me a ticket, kept the forms and my passport and told me to come back in 3 days. I was only there about half an hour.
Thankfully I didn’t have to hang around in Mataram and I am allowed to go back later than that (so I can go to the Gili islands for a few days). The woman was actually really helpful for one of those official people who can be a bit of a jobsworth, and when I explained the story about my cards being stolen (ok, so I bent the truth) and I didn’t have an onward flight she said I could bring the flight details on the next visit instead of having to come back again. I think she took pity on me as I looked like I was on the verge of tears, but I think it was just because I felt like I had a cold.
The people who own the homestay (Rumah Lombok) are really nice and I chatted with the lady for a while until I was so hungry I had to go out and find some food. I just don’t want to eat rice or noodles anymore, but that’s all I’m going to get! So I went to the first place I came to as it looked like they had chicken satay but it was beef which I didn’t want, so she said she could make me some fried noodles. Ok. What I didn’t expect were the noodles that I have been eating whilst hiking, sold to me for more than a packet costs in Australia! But, I didn’t have to cook them myself and there was an egg on top. Again the lady was lovely and we talked about Rinjani and I showed her some photos, and she was another one of those genuinely nice people that I have been hearing exist in Indonesia.
I am shattered. My body hurts. The cut on my hand is in such an awkward place that I can’t hold my handlebars properly and I can’t grip things. It is wet and oozing all the time. I am sneezing constantly and I feel really run down. All I can think about is going home. Am I still enjoying it. If I’m not, is it time for a change?…
Mataram to Bangsal
After a good sleep I woke feeling a lot better. Today was a new day.
I left Mataram after what I thought was going to be a breakfast of toast, but it was warm bread with butter on one side and chocolate in the middle. I really thought I would enjoy the food here but I am so sick of it! What I would give for a good roast dinner!
I set off into the crazy busy traffic. So many horse and carts. They don’t treat the horses well here and many of them die.
It started off fine and the road was busy but flat with nice views across the bays and the ocean, but then the hills started and oh my god they were steep. They were mostly short so I was able to just about make my way up, but as I saw a long one I panicked and then I couldn’t get enough breath so I had to get off and push.
As I was pushing up the second hill a man cycled slowly past me. Another cycle tourist! As I looked behind there was a lady pushing her bike too, yay! Another pusher!! They were much older than me which was embarrassing as I watched the man make it to the top without getting off. They told me the hills were more than a 20% incline, no wonder I was struggling!
I chatted to them for a while, they are Diana and Stef from Holland. They are travelling very light because they have shipped a lot of their stuff home, whereas I am hanging on to mine, just in case. We spoke about how busy the island is and how it was so much quieter when they were here 8 years ago, and they advised me against going to Java because it is like a giant car park
On a particularly big hill they lasted longer than me before getting off and pushing, so I lost sight of them.
After a lot of pushing (and a couple of nice downhill cruises) I was so glad to get to the hostel (LaBoheme Lombok). They helped me with my bike, sat me down when they saw how red in the face I was and got me some water. I should have come here straight away. There are loads of people here and its really friendly and social. I explained to them I wanted to go to the Gili Islands for a few days and they said of course I can leave the bike there. Amazing!
I spent all afternoon lying on a beanbag and went out for dinner with a British boy, 2 girls from the Netherlands and a guy from Prague.
A day off
The next day I felt pure exhaustion so I decided to stay at La Boheme for the day because it was cheap and convenient. They deliver food from the local warung right to you, you don’t have to leave the beanbag! I did nothing all day but watch some trashy stuff on YouTube and caught up a bit on the blog.
I had a mammoth 2 hour phone call with HSBC who really are totally useless. I still have no cards and it’s only thanks to help from my parents and my mum’s cousin that they are now finally on their way to Indonesia. Jake, a fellow Brit was so nice and offered to help me out if I needed any money. People have been so awesome.
Next stop the Gili Islands for relaxing, and time to think about what I want to do…
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