Last Day in Indonesia
20 September 2012 | Medona Marina, Lombok
Greetings from Medona Marina on Lombok Island, once again. I’m sitting in the marina’s seaside restaurant, hoping my battery holds on long enough to write this blurb, while the breeze flows through the open-air building. Clumps of cruisers sit about, talking, reading, writing on their laptops, gladly partaking of the free, high-powered Internet service.
We spent a few days on Gili Air, and since “gili” means islet and “air” means water (go figure) we were on a little water island. But really, it was a delightful spa/resort destination in the Indonesian style. Small town with a narrow dirt/sand road running down the middle, too small for cars but serviced by itty bitty horses with bells and fancy head dresses pulling little carts carrying locals, tourists, and bundles of huge bamboo. Small bungalows dot the land side, ranging from backpacker inns to high-end honeymoon escapes, and there are scads of fabulous beach bars and restaurants with the best, freshest tuna skewers for $5. Not to mention Indonesian curries and all varieties of Asian food. We even had a hamburger, although they reminded us they’re Muslim, so it’s not a hamburger, it’s a beefburger.
Every morning and evening, the small hand-made fishing boats motor out, their old outboards rattling by, plop-plop-plop-plop, long fishing nets neatly piled in the narrow boat, fishing net sticking up out of the back, one lone fisherman in his conical woven hat settled low in the boat, almost like he’s molded right in. They look like big water bugs with their with stabilizing bamboo or PVC pontoons reaching out from either side to glide on the surface. I believe their catch goes right to the local restaurants, which explains why the fish is so fresh and fantastic.
Gloria and I splurged some rupia ($) on hand, foot, head, and back massages, as well as 90-minute facials, quite lovely. Meanwhile, Allan and Michael went on one last dive before the borrowed dive gear is returned to the Ulf, who graciously loaned it to us. This morning we pulled anchor and waved goodbye to Gili Air, and are now back on Lombok Island, a short 3km hop across calm water.
Allan and I fly home tomorrow, sadly, and have one last night here. As timing and fate would have it, tonight is a huge party here in the marina, one of several held throughout Indonesia for the cruisers who joined in the Sail Indonesia 2012 Rally from Darwin to Kupang a few months ago. They’ve been setting up hundreds of chairs under large tents, with banners, booths, and what promises to be a large spread of food.
Next morning: Well, an interestingly small event for the hoopla that surrounded it. There was a slew of police, the area was sealed off to incomers until the dignitaries arrived, dancers and musicians were dressed exquisitely in traditional Indonesian garb and it looked like the women had spent half the day layering on their makeup. Not sure how some of them could blink with all those lashes. It was a very large group of performers, but as it went, Gloria and Michael returned from their trip to town, laden with groceries just as the festivities were beginning. So we joined them for a quick trip back to the boat, and also agreed that we needed to re-anchor as the boat was a bit too close to some rocks and coral. We could hear the drums starting up, and had confidence that we’d make it back for the second half of the show. But it turned out to be a very short performance, maybe 15 minutes, and we missed it completely. All that makeup for a flash-in-the-pan show – we were a bit surprised. We arrived in time for the boring official speeches, and then they announced that the buffet was ready. In all, the event lasted maybe 2 hours. By the time we’d eaten, it was dark, and all the local vendors in their delightful fabric booths selling jewelry and ikat fabrics and clothing had to pack up. So it seemed like a lot of buck for no bang. We did hear that the night before they put on a blues night that was so fantastic, everyone was raving about it. We were in Gili Air and missed it, but perhaps they were all spent! Worn out! The Blues took it out of them … but so it goes.
We don’t leave Indonesia disappointed – we leave it rather, full of curiosity. It’s a beautiful place, with incredible variety in the land, the sea, the animals and the people. We’re glad we had this chance and we’re grateful to Gloria and Michael for making it so amazingly wonderful for us and sharing 11 great days on Paikea Mist.