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Trip Report Robbietravels Indonesian Odyssey: Part II Lombok

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The waiting lounge for the flight to Lombok was overflowing with people; most looked like they were returning home rather than going on holiday. The ‘loungees’ seemed dour and haggard compared to the Javanese we’d encountered. Sitting in this confined area, the air, thick with humidity, smoke and unwashed bodies, I felt unwelcome and uncomfortable in a vague, eerie way. I reviewed my attire, reconfirming it would not, to my mind, be the cause of any offense. I hoped this vibe was not a harbinger of days to come. The flight was late and we arrived at Quinci Villas on the west coast of Lombok around eleven at night.

Our first day at the beach, on north end of Senggigi Bay was given over to doing as little as humanly possible. I lounged by the pool that paralleled the breaking waves of the Lombok Strait. After a delicious, substantial breakfast I took an orientation walk on the beach and when I reached a headland I walked east and continued along a beach road. On my walk back, I stopped by Puri Mas Boutique Resorts & Spa with twenty four villas, suites and cottages. It looks quite appealing. Web info at I returned to Quinci and swam in the clear, warm ocean amidst four or five little brown, naked, giggling boys.

I am reading The Mute’s Soliloquy, a memoir by Pramoedya Ananta Toer, widely considered the best writer Indonesia has ever produced. It was written during his fourteen year detention at a remote island penal colony and smuggled out of prison by friends and relatives. It was banned in Indonesia after its publication in 1997 (the English edition was published in 1999). He was never tried or convicted of anything; his crime was being an intellectual, an early proponent of Indonesian independence, a free thinker and the son of a nationalist (and left leaner) and incorrectly dubbed a Communist and dangerous individual. This memoir is a poignant testimony to all that is good and all that is evil in how we humans relate to each other and makes clear why Pram is Indonesia’s consummate man of letters.

We partook of happy hour while watching the beautiful last act of the day, compliments of Mother Nature. The sunset and it aftermath, viewed from the Quinci chaises is a moving spectacle. Only when the sun is very low, do the Gulung Ayung mountains of East Bali come in to view. This evening extravaganza became a sacred ritual for us while at QV.

For dinner we tried the restaurant of Hotel Alang Alang, recommended on this board, a few blocks south of Quinci. Lovely setting with tables on the beach. Food was well prepared but boring. The beach-facing hotel units of this hotel looked handsome and empty, they can be checked out on their website:

Our second day, we hired Kur (thru Quinci) to drive us around west and central Lombok to glimpse something of the island and the islanders. Our first stop was the local market in Ampenan. Kur pointed out produce and implements unfamiliar to us. We checked out pottery at Benyumulek, one of several pottery making villages. This village specializes in decorated terra cotta pots, some have woven fiber edge decor or eggshells incorporated in the surface design. I zeroed in on a slender pitcher with a hand painted batik motif. This piece will need to be heavily clad in my bubble wrap. We walked around the town of Kediri to watch daily activity. Pony driven carts stuffed with families were returning from morning market, their straw and plastic bags overflowing with produce and such. The greater orthodoxy of the dominant Muslin population in west and central Lombok was evidenced in the women’s more conservative dress and head coverings. The young girls here were more fully covered, many in white long garments. Private Muslin school were all around.

The countryside was very green and lush. Farmers, men and women, were working their rice fields; the tall, jagged mountains in the distance made a dramatic backdrop. The weaving village of Sukarara was small and poor; a pretty young woman gave us a village tour. Women used back strap looms to create their ikat or songket (with silver or gold threads) weavings.

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