Bali & Lombok
17.12.2010 - 09.01.2011 28 °C
Our plan was to head to Bali for a few days before hopping on a boat over to Lombok where we had chosen a relatively fancy pants hotel to splurge on for the Christmas and New Year period. It was to be a time to relax from all the previous months travelling, a time to spend on the beach or by the pool finally working on my tan while sipping a beer or a cocktail. Sounds nice doesn't it? Well you know what they say about plans, make one and the universe will come along and shit all over it.
Bali was a wash out. Rained everyday and when it wasn't raining there was an overcast sky threatening to rain. We have yet to lie on any beach (we're currently in Bali for our second visit after Lombok before heading back to KL to start the serious travel again). Leaving the weather aside for a moment, we stayed in what probably could be described as the second most touristy spot on the island, Legian/Seminyak. I had intended to stay in the less boozy and beachless town of Ubud but I couldn't find accommodation there so we resigned ourselves to the Aussie package holiday destination of choice. Speaking of Australians, they are everywhere here, and, while not wanting to tar them all with the same large obnoxious boozy brush, they don't paint a pretty picture of their home country, wandering around the streets wearing the ubiquitous Bintang beer wife beater vests - that's if they're not going topless of course - carrying their bottle of beer or vodka and generally being loud and annoying. I'm really beginning to doubt the theory that travel broadens the mind...
Despite the rain and the Australian occupation we quite liked our few days in Bali. There are a tonne of really nice restaurants - you know us, if we're well fed we're happy - and it's much cheaper than we thought it would be which is always a bonus, especially after the budget blowing Sri Lanka visit. It was lovely to catch up on sleep and really not do much at all. We booked our ticket for the trip to Lombok which involved a bus for a few hours, a ferry for four hours and another bus for an hour on the other side. A very long trek for such a short distance - the ferry crossing is 25km - but it was a nice, if very dull and rainy, drive through the Balinese countryside.
Our hotel in Lombok was just outside the provincial capital Mataram. It was very isolated with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and paddy fields. I would post photos but I lost my camera on the way back from Lombok to Bali. The hotel was actually a collection of 14 villas or cabins and as we were staying so long the manager upgraded us to a larger one with its own veranda to sit out on, we even had our own aquarium in our bathroom, very fancy (if you ignored the leaky roof and the dead gecko in our bed). Thankfully, as we were so isolated, the hotel restaurant did decent and cheap food. This didn't stop us heading into town every few days to stock up on beer and munchies however. The weather in Lombok was slightly better than Bali, I think we got maybe three or four days where I was able to soak up some sun for an hour or two before the clouds came over and a storm broke.
Christmas was extremely strange. Facebook and Twitter got very annoying with updates from friends and family about heading home and things being very wonderfully snowy - the same people have since gone back to work and have returned to feeling miserable which is lovely. The hotel put on a Christmas Eve dinner where we got some turkey, stuffing and spuds which was nice. Christmas Day was just any other day, we went for a swim, we ate and drank beer and generally felt quite sorry for ourselves. New Year's Eve was mildly better, we had planned to head into town to grab a pizza but a lack of taxis had us eating in the hotel at their New Year's Eve dinner - it should have cost us $50 each but with our taxi situation the manager allowed us to join for free. They had the cheesiest band playing at dinner, something like you'd see at a granny's 80th party with a really dodgy keyboard being played very badly. So we ate, drank and retired to our veranda where we fought the noise of the band with our own tunes from our laptop. At midnight, despite a raging thunder storm over the nearby hills, I insisted we jump in the pool for a swim. The hotel staff thought we were odd but it was fun all the same.
I guess we could have done some sort of tour of the island or other nearby islands while we were in Lombok but to be honest between the crappy weather and our wonderful tendency for laziness we just weren't bothered. As boring/disappointing/sad as that may be for you dear reader that's how it is. We'll try do something interesting in Borneo in a few weeks. We're looking forward to getting our mojo back in somewhere new and interesting. In the meantime, you'll just have to make do with photos of Will's de-bearding session, which one's your favourite??