the nothing whatever...

Kuta Lombok

The travel pillows that were a last minute purchase at Sydney airport have proved to be invaluable, and as a result of using them every night to sleep, I have developed what is essentially a Pavlovian response to its application, it goes around my neck and knocks me right out. As such, the trip to Kuta Lombok (where we currently are) was very uneventful for me as I slept soundly the whole way, attempting quash my wicked hangover. Nic told me that I missed out on a fair few memorable sights, and I even missed the bus breaking down in the middle nowhere. The price you pay I guess.

The lush green mountainous landscape of Kuta Lombok is what first struck me about the place. Its feel is much more remote than that of all the other places we have been. There is one main four-way intersection in the middle of the town and all locations are described based on direction and distance from said intersection. It is a little bit more distributed than both Lembongan and Gili T, and the first thing we had to do when we decided on a place to stay was obtain a scooter with an attachment for carrying a surfboard. I am currently sitting at a place called “The Coffee House”, which is smack-bang on the intersection, but yesterday after we arrived we went down a little bit further East of the intersection to a place called Dwiki’s Pizza to meet up with a Indonesian kid called Mido.

Mido is a contact that Scott suggested I surf with in Lombok, and we spoke about surfing for half-an-hour while Nic had a Sprite and I had a Bintang. He told me about other breaks in Lombok that we might have to take a trip to before I go, with Maui being the most appealing (described as a nice beach about 30 minutes away). I arranged to meet with him at 7am to surf at a break called Aregoling before he had to work, which is something he told me he does almost every morning.

Remember last week when I told you the day would definitely come where I would lose something of importance? Well, that day was today. After searching the pockets of the pants I thought I was wearing last night, then retracing my steps back to the restaurant we were sitting at and asking a guy who may not have worked there if he had seen them, I was certain that I had lost the keys to the scooter. I couldn’t just do a no-show on Mido, so I assigned that problem to future Ben and went for a walk down to Dwiki’s pizza at 6:30 am this morning with my surfboard under my arm, unsure of the time at which I might arrive and hoping that Mido would not see my lack of punctuality as absence and head off without me.

At that time of the morning Kuta Lombok is an eerie place. There is a haze of smoke from the trash fires that burn out through the night, and it seems to be ruled by packs of stray dogs and tribes of tattooed children, all of which look at you with intense and fearless curiosity. I was asked if I would like a motorbike by a kid who I would guess to be about 12 and had a tattoo on his face, and my explanation that “I already had one but could not find the key” was lost in translation. He pursued for a little while, and eventually I had no choice but to ignore him, which is something that I hate doing.

Mido had to scooter us both over a neighboring mountain to get to the break, and I am constantly surprised by how resilient those little vehicles are. The climb was a steep one, I am not light, and judging by the way he had to start it, Mido’s scooter seemed to be on its last legs, but it went the distance without so much as a blip. The underdeveloped roads were particularly fun, his suspension seemed to be having the opposite effect in trying to buck me, and I only had one hand to hold onto the scooter as the other was occupied by my surfboard. But I made it, and we had the break entirely to ourselves. Although Mido seemed a little disappointed that the waves were so small, I think he has been a bit spoilt for choice. I was more than happy to take 1 to 2 ft uncrowded glassy perfection, but in saying that, I can tell that if a solid swell pushes through Aregoling is where I will want to be.

Mido dropped me back at the hotel and offered to help find the key, which was great of him. Nic was at breakfast when we arrived back, and she had found the friggin’ thing in another pair of pants, the ones that I was actually wearing last night. Idiot. But a weight off my shoulders. I have no idea how much a key would cost to replicate here, and I don’t think the actual price would matter that much because they could tell me anything and I would not be in a position to argue.

Since then, the weather has set in and it has not stopped raining. Nic and I went to the cheapest local Warung we have been to yet (two massive meals, a coke and a sprite, received change from $5 AU) and we want to go out for chilli mud-crab tonight at Lombok Lounge, but if the rain doesn’t relent then we may have to change our plans. It was a good rest day today, but you only need one, and this time next week we will be in Vietnam, so I want to get in as much Indo-vestigating (yep, terrible) as possible.