Monday, 30 June 2014

Stormy Weather, Massage and more

Early one evening, stormy weather brings back memories of holidays at Kariba. The warm humidity, torrential rain, massive lightning strikes and crackling thunder bring the past into the present. The gecko and frog population are on the move. The frogs in the hotel lobby make a strange noise, not like any I've heard before and the geckos also squeak and grunt. The power stays on although the lights do flicker occasionally. On my way back to the room I hear monkeys in the forest above the hotel. I can't help the frisson of excitement. I wish I could share this time with Roland.


Kath and I have been trying out different massage spas. The one in the hotel is consistently better than the others although more expensive. The setting is glorious with the spa overlooking the beach. The masseuses here vary in ability but generally good to very good. I always settle for 'medium' pressure because I bruise easily. The spa we visit in Senggigi village is ok but the setting isn't much - facing on to the main street through town.


Big orange ants are everywhere in the gardens. One bit me on the foot - not in malice or hunger but because it was caught in the strap of my sandal. It stung like mad. Lily also got bitten a couple of times. I am slightly paranoid about insect stings and bites. The correct name is Oecophylla smaragdina, so how about that!

After dinner at a local restaurant, we walk back along the beach to find a Gamelan Orchestra and Bali dancers at the pool. We sit and watch for a while as the graceful dancers bend and sway on the island platform. The beat is hypnotic, the fiery chimneys all around set the scene as the mystical story unfolds. Lily is fascinated by the small boy in the Gamelan orchestra who is being bossed around by a slightly older boy - much more interesting than the dancing!

There is one more post for this Lombok holiday and I will write it, I really, really will.


Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Airport Stories



The alarms went off just before we were due to board the Lombok flight. Everyone was ordered to evacuate the building. This was not going to happen in a hurry as the emergency exits were all closed! Lily became distressed, the noise of the alarm sirens were deafening as well as the broadcast message being loud and unnerving. In the event, the emergency turned out to be a drill. What a strange way to start a holiday.

Getting through to the departure lounge was interesting. No sooner had I arrived at the first security gate, I had to throw away my toothpaste because the security officer said it was “too big”. I think it was her first day on the job because she didn’t know my 100ml bottle of handcream was actually in a registered container. I showed her where it was embossed on the bottle. Next, I was frisked by a security officer using an explosive detector wand. This is quite an interesting procedure whereby the wand is passed over clothing etc. and then placed in a machine – I guess a Geiger counter of sorts? I was in the clear but nevertheless, my cabin luggage was opened and rummaged through.

Next stop, the duty free shop. I purchased my allotted amount of alcohol to pick up on my way back from holiday plus a couple of small bottles to take with me. Unbeknownst to me, the check-out operator gave me an extremely large Toblerone chocolate. I found it when I sat down with the family to wait to board the aircraft, so I put it into my cabin luggage.

The flight was uneventful and we arrived at the Lombok airport in good time. I was sitting away from the others so made my way through to the Customs desk. Praya (Lombok) airport reminded me of the old airport in Salisbury but with wooden carvings and Indonesian artefacts here and there. I bought my Visa ($25 US) and walked straight past the baggage collection to put my hand luggage through the X-Ray machine. Once again I was frisked (by hand this time). Having passed through, I suddenly realised I had left my suitcase behind. I went back through to fetch it (no problems there) and passed through the security check. I was standing, waiting for the family when one of the Customs officers asked to check my cabin luggage. He showed me on his monitor a strange looking shape in the suitcase. I didn’t know what it was so we opened up my case and scratched around. He picked up the huge Toblerone chocolate bar – this was the culprit. I showed him where it was a gift from the duty free and we both laughed and parted as friends.


In retrospect, I wonder what made me a suspicious looking old woman and the only solution I can come up with was the brightly coloured cotton jacket I wore. I bought it at the op shop (thrift shop) especially for the trip and it does stand out.
The Jacket!
More to follow.


Sunday, 1 June 2014

Senggigi, Lombok holiday

Waiting to fly!

A different kind of holiday (for me)!

Kath, Dean, Lily and I fly from Perth to Praya (Lombok) on Jetstar, an Airbus A320 - packed to the last seat. The flight takes just over 3 hours. I think Roland and Rosie may be regretting not coming with us. I am enjoying reading Robin Hobb's Assassin's Quest and have to limit myself to a couple of chapters at a time so as to savour the tale. This fits in well with the flight time to Lombok.

My first impression of Lombok is the similarity to Bali, but not nearly so busy. The weather is warm and humid - delightful after the cool weather in Perth. I took this screen shot to post on my Facebook and Instagram pages.


Our driver, Jamie, collects us at Praya and we travel to Senggigi in just over an hour. The countryside is lush and now I can see many differences to Bali. There are many Mosques and the sound of the call to prayer is everywhere. On the car radio we listen to the Rolling Stones (Angie) while the voice of the Muezzin rings from the minarets. I am immediately in love with Lombok! I notice there are not as many dogs on the roads as in Bali but Jamie assures me there are many dogs on the island.

There are many pony carts. Single, small ponies pull this traditional form of transport along the highways and byways. These are called cidomo. Most of the ponies I see during the week in Lombok seem well cared for but a couple look thin and wretched.

Lombok has not yet been discovered by the tourist hoards. I only spot one fast food outlet on the trip.

The Sheraton, Senggigi, is a lovely place to stay. The gardens are beautiful and the staff are friendly and courteous.  The power supply is a bit dicey. The lights flicker and go out fairly frequently! The air-conditioner is turned up to the max so I have to figure out how to turn it down. I am loving the warmth and humidity.


 The gardens abut the Senggigi beach. Colourful fishing boats often draw up on the sand. The sea is quite dirty and the incoming tide brings in a variety of rubbish - such as plastic bags.




There are some mosquitoes, we are well prepared with insect repellent. Early each morning I anoint myself with repellent before beginning Yoga practice on the balcony. The warm, humid climate allows me to bend and flex easily. Each day, after Yoga, I swim for a while and then breakfast at the buffet.


More to follow ... including airport stories; searching for the perfect massage and a tropical thunder storm.