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relaxing on Lombok

day 12

all seasons in one day
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Our hotel, located at the end of a peninsula, consists of a number of bungalows spread in a beautiful garden.
We pick lounge chairs under a palm tree. It is very quiet here, with nobody around. The weather is hot, but it's OK with a heavy breeze.
Around noon, we leave for the village, which is 500m away. It's not a big village, just a number of houses along the road.
We take a table on the terrace of a restaurant, just before being chased inside by heavy rains. After that, we do some mail in a internet café. While Josette uses the PC, I take pics of the internet café, that the owner wants to use in his advertisements. Back to the swiming pool.
At the end of the day, we follow the beach and reach the village for dinner.
Senggigi is more busy tonight. And we see the first sign of mass tourism: a few discos and karaoke bars are open.

Posted by ortho158 07:00 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

a tour of Lombok

day 11

all seasons in one day
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Our package includes a tour of the island, and we leave our hotel by minibus. We pass through Mataram, the capital. Just as everywhere in Indonesia, there is a lot of traffic.
We are brought to a pottery factory, and then to a village where they weave sarongs.
Then, visit to a Sasak village. Sasaks are the original inhabitants of the island. Today, they just seem to be waiting for the next visit of tourists, and it is practically impossible to leave without buying something.
We start being fed up with the tour that the guide has organized for us, and we make him stop on a bridge where kids are fishing.
In the distance, we see the construction of a new airport (note: at the time of writing, it is now operational and has replaced the older one near Mataram). Tourist infrastructures are currently mostly located on the western part of Lombok, and the new airport is intended to promote tourism on the southern beaches of Lombok, which are nearly untouched today. And indeed, we arrive at a place with a long and empty beach, and nearly nothing else (except kids trying to sell souvenirs).
We are told that all the land, here, belongs to the government, who is going to expropriate the present inhabitants in order to rent or sell it to hotel chains. I am afraid to imagine what it will look like in a few years. We return to the hotel. It starts to rain.
Our guide suggest that we visit a pearl factory, which we flatly refuse. If we ever come back, I will rather rent a car and see the island on my own.

Posted by ortho158 07:41 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)


day 10

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A few words about Ubud. It is described in the travel brochures as an Art Village: it may have been so thirty years ago but , today, it is just another tourist place. There is lot of traffic, and you don't see anything but hotels, internet cafés, restaurants, shops selling expensive (and western) clothes, ...
It is not as bad as the beaches area, but you shouldn't expect a lot of authenticity in Ubud.
After the excursions of the day, I wandered in Ubud's market, and I really liked the place. Of course, a part of it is also aimed at tourists, but it's very colorful (and the light was good for photography).
On the way back to our hotel, I meet a group of kids playing music; some of them are disguised as a dragon.
The next day is our last one in Bali: we 'll be leaving for Lombok tonight. We spend the morning at one of the swimming pools, with the monkeys who eat the offerings to the gods.
It's very hot today. We look for an Internet café with air conditionning, and do some mail. We find a good italian restaurant. Next to us, an American woman who is waiting for her husband, and offers half of her carafe of wine to Josette.
We leave for the airport. Around Ubud, there are a lot of stores selling decoration for the house and temple. It usually consists of huge stone statues. All of them seem to sell the same stuff. It must come from a single factory, which is probaly not even located on Bali.
A rather long wait at the airport.
An uneventful flight of 22 minutes brings us to Lombok.

Posted by ortho158 08:39 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

exploring Bali (cont'd)

day 10

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We visit a typical Balinese house. It consists of a number of separate rooms, built in an area enclosed by a wall.
The door consists of two walls, one behind the other. This is for protection against the demons: they are so dumb that they don't realize that they have to go around the first wall, and they break their nose on it. For me, Balinese Hindouism is more a set of superstitions than a religion. There are gods (who all reside above sea level) and demons (who live in the sea); offerings must be made many times every day, both to gods and demons (to appease the latter), etc.
Here, a bedroom.
The mandatory temple.
The kitchen.
I find a cage with a mongoose.
In Bali, these animals are used to create what is considered as the most expensive coffee in the world: the mongoose eats the coffee beans, digests them (partially), and then expulses them with other feces: the beans are then used for making coffee. Still thirsty?
Visit of a jewel factory, which is of course an excuse for a visit of a jewel shop. But the workplace is interesting.
Visit to a wood carving factory/shop. Very uninteresting. I find the articles rather horrible, and some of them are gigantic. They cost up to 2500€ but, for that price, they are shipped to a port in your country.
We make a stop in a small village.
They are building a cremation tower.
Here, the artists making the decoration.
We arrive at the Batur lake, surrounded by (inactive) volcanoes).
Visit of a spice garden, where we can taste various sorts of tea and coffee. I taste arak: not very good, and not very strong either (30° alcohol only).
Our guide has found a temple that is completely ignored by the tourist tours: Gunung Kawi. As I am wearing long trousers, I can enter directly; those who show their knees must first borrow a sarong. The place is very beautiful.
Back to Ubud, where I explore the market before returning to the hotel: see the next post.

Posted by ortho158 08:35 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

exploring Bali

day 9

all seasons in one day
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As we couldn't sleep because of the guy repairing the pavement, we go to Monkey Forest, whose entrance is next to our hotel. The ticketing booths are not open yet, but the park well, so that we get a free visit. Beautiful place, and a lot of (sacred?) monkeys.
There is, surprisingly, a small graveyard: actually, it's a temporary place, waiting for the next cremation to take place.
We see a typical (and mandatory) spectacle of barong dances. It looks more like a puppet show, but with real actors.
We go further north, and have a short hike in the paddy fields. I suggest to the driver that, next time, they make a stop at a place with fewer electrical lines.
Our guide makes the bus stop in a small village, where they are organizing a cockfight.
This is normally prohibited, except in holiday periods; and we are just in the middle of the most important one in Bali, Galungan/Kuningan. If such fights are (normally) not authorized, it's just to avoid people betting small fortunes, and it has nothing to do with animal cruelty.
The man here is betting 11€, which is probably equivalent to 1/10 of his monthly salary.
Money games played around the arena.
Food stalls.
We do not stay for the actual fight ...
We have lunch near Candi Kuning, in a restaurant on the slopes of a hill. The view is splendid.
It starts to rain very heavily.
We continue to Ulun Danu. Lots of Japanese tourists, taking pics of each other with their cell phones.
As you can notice, menstruating women are not welcome.
There is a small market, very colorful.
Back to the hotel; we receive a new room, much larger and comfortable than the initial one.

Posted by ortho158 07:26 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

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