Sunday, June 4, 2000

Brembe Kabar from Gili Trawangan Indonesia!

(Brembe Kabar is greetings in the Sasak language of Lombok)
Hi Everyone!
When I last left you we were wrapping up an enjoyable two weeks in Fiji - (escaping just before the coup as it turned out!) and on our way to Indonesia to meet Rick, Kim, and Cecile.
Well, after more than 9 months in the modern first world of the South Pacific, SE Asia hit us like a full frontal assault. People, people, people everywhere! Filth, Chaos, and especially Touts and Hawkers surround you. Leave a taxi and be barrage with TRANSPORT! TRANSPORT! TRANSPORT! Transport! Hey Boss, need Transport? Braid your hair? (mine's shaved...) Bloody Fuckin Fresh Magic Mushroom Ticket To The Moon Want to buy a watch? Good Price! GOOD PRICE! Hey Mister want a Jiggy Jig? (This last one to Ricky...) Wow! Sensory overload. Good thing Kim had arranged our accommodation, we needed some time to re-acclimatize to the third world.
Kim had gotten a VERY good rate at the Radisson Suites in Sanur on Bali ($22.00US a night p/p) which is about 15 times over our estimated Indonesian budget, but what great value. We had a 3 bedroom apartment, pool, free cooking classes, and a guy named Ade who hung out at the pool and the only duty he appeared to have was to make sure we enjoyed ourselves. We did head into Kuta every night for the proverbial Piss-up, although Ricky called us Grandma and Grandpa because we always left by 2:00am - while he stayed to baby sit Cecil (and drink of course!) until dawn.
After about a week of this, we tired of it and suggested to the group that they check out the Gili Islands. It was back on the budget. We took a series of shuttle busses and the local ferry to Lombok, then an outrigger canoe to Trawangan. 11 hours total for a cost of about $5.00US. We rented out the last 4 rooms at Melati cottages where we stayed 2 years previous, for Rp27500 (about $3.00) a night. Boy was Cecil ever surprised! She couldn't believe that accommodations could be so cheap anywhere! She was also a surprise because we initially didn't believe that she would like Trawangan, but she had such a good time that in the end she let Ricky leave Indonesia ahead of her and stayed longer, swearing that her next vacation would be backpacker style! We're not sure if t was the cheap prices, good times or a certain body piercing that only she got to see that wrought this change in her, but as the Aussie's would say "good on her!"
Boy had Trawangan changed. There are now about 10 businesses for every one that was here before (same amount of tourist's though...) and what businesses that are here seem to have remodeled into more of a western style. Where Blue Marlin was the only dive shop two years previously, now there are about 10. Where the reef was a riot of colour, full of life, it lies now mostly dead. All this aside, it still ranks very highly on my list of fun places to go.
After more than a week on Trawangan, it was time for Kim, Rick and Cecil to fly home. They cheated and paid $45.00US each for a luxury cruise on the Bounty back to Bali, while SGK and I were back on local transport (Rp40000 - $4.65US). We almost didn't accompany them back to Bali as some new friends of ours - Carl an Shadae - were signed up for a boat trip to Komodo that we wanted to do, but after looking at a calendar we realized that we needed to get back to Bali for our third Rabies and Japanese Encephalitis vaccinations.
Well, the clinic in Kuta did not have the JE vaccine, so we had to arrange for it to be overnighted from New Zealand (in this case an overnight package takes almost a week to get there) so we escaped from the hell-pit of Kuta to the relative tranquility of Ubud.
Once in Ubud, we quickly located Brata Homestay - where we stayed 2 years previously - and started looking for activities. We signed up for an Indonesian cooking class (and stuffed ourselves silly!) at the Bumbu restaurant. Someone tell my slacker brother Chris (who is only a slacker because he has no email) that I have an apron from the restaurant to give to him - and a copy of the cookbook they gave us). We also took a tour of the Volcano, fought off more hawkers than you can shake a stick at, and SGK got a Balinese massage. We also met Pat from Noe Valley (late from Gallway) Hi Pat!
Now we've finally got our vaccinations and hot-footed it out of Bali and back to Trawangan. All of our local friends (Mahman, Jaff, Endi, The Kids Ricky and I played Soccer with, John, Conrad and Helena) were very welcoming to us; Conrad even rushed out of his pub to give SGK a t-shirt with his Pub's logo on it.
Well, where do we go from here??? Tomorrow we board a boat for the only place in the world where you can label the map "Here be Dragons" and not be taking the piss. Komodo. The boat goes to Flores via Sumbawa, Komodo and Rinca. We will bask in the presence of these mighty beasts, then head onto the coloured lakes. Alas, we have burned up our 60 day visa's pretty quickly, so after the coloured lakes of Flores we will be on to Singapore where we hope to catch our friend Bill in time for the 4th of July.

No comments:

All content including images copyright 1999-2014 © SaraGrace Keenan and/or Michael Alessio Permission to use only granted with permission