Karen thought it would be a good idea for us to take the Public or Discount ferry from Gili T to Lombak Island. You can clearly see the island from Gili but it was a lot farther away than you would think, as we were about to find out. We walked the half K up the beach road to the dock and bought our tickets, which at 10 IDR clock in at about a buck ten.
The boat was leaving right away. We could see the little ferry rocking back and forth in the surf and I was suddenly worried. This was not the sturdiest looking vessel I had ever seen. We were told it had a 25 person capacity. I was thinking it would be a little tight with 25 people but shouldn’t be too bad. Karen and I got on early and took a seat towards the front of the boat. We then watched with our concern growing, as goods and equipment were also loaded on the boat. We watched horrified as person after person got in or on the boat. At last count there were well over forty people stuffed inside, on top of and on the side of this rickety inboard motor boat.
“These are exactly the kind of boats you hear about sinking on the news” I said just as we pushed off. We sat patiently as the captain spent five minutes trying to get the engine to turn over. Finally the motor roared to life and lilting dangerously to the right, we sped off toward Lombak Island. The entire trip, luckily, only took 25 minutes.
We landed, luggage in tow, and attempted to get a taxi. A real taxi, not an animal powered one. This island was much bigger and had actual motorized vehicles on it. We hooked up with a British girl who was going to the same area as us, so we decided to share a taxi. I stood back in the shade while Karen and the Brit bartered intensely with the taxi driver. Eventually an acceptable price was agreed upon and we set off. It was a good thing we were not traveling by horse because the drive took an hour by car. On a positive note, it was one of the prettiest drives I have ever experienced. The entire ride was made up of winding roads through the mountains that had expansive panoramic views of mountain peaks and ocean below. Truly stunning.
The resort is nestled in a valley with oceanfront acreage. Literally in the middle of nowhere, there was not a lot for us to do except enjoy the ocean and the pool at the resort. We eventually got a little stir crazy and decided to take a taxi to the nearest town and try to drum up some excitement.
As soon as we got out of the taxi the sellers surrounded us. “look here boss!”, “Check it out boss.” They overwhelmed us. I immediately got claustrophobic and pushed my way passed them, trying to be as polite as possible. I know it is how they make their living, but the aggressive hard sell while competing with other sellers doing the same thing is a bit much for anyone to take. We escaped to a market where there was a live performance of Indonesian stick fighting going on with much fanfare surrounding it. We tried to see it from the ground but were not very successful. We decided to hop into one of the restaurants with balconies overlooking the grounds.
The view of the stick fighting was great, but the best surprise was the food. We dined on calamari rings and steak that was delicious. We left the restaurant bursting with fantastic surf and turf. The sellers were at it again and we fought our way through them and into a taxi to take us back to the resort. We found ourselves fairly stressed after the short little trip into town. It is too bad that such a wonderful place has to come with such an aggressive human element. Don’t get me wrong I understand that these people are just trying to make some money from the tourism, but I don’t know if I would ever return to this place due to their overbearing tactics.
Anyway, I am sitting at the pool bar looking out at the ocean as I write this and am thinking that maybe the sellers aren’t enough to keep me away from here after all. It is a truly beautiful place. Karen grows impatient with my blogging so I am going to sign off now and join her for a late afternoon cocktail on the beach.
Cheers for now,