Monday, May 16, 2011

Day 15 Kuta Lombok

Hi everyone, the last couple of days have been really relaxing. Kuta
Lombok is nothing like Kuta Bali, very quiet and a lot more surfers
but significantly less tourist.

Following my email when we first arrived, Steph and I settled into our
room, only to discover GIANT spiders! Very very fast as well. The
first one I discovered while Steph was in the shower and I debated
telling her about it. The spider was probably 4 inches across but with
a body. Not like daddy long legs either, more like dock spiders, big
hairy ones. The first I killed with a skilled flip flop throw. Steph
heard this so I had to divulge the cause the commotion. Upon seeing
the carcass of the deceased spider Steph proclaimed, "Your my hero!"
and proceeded to search the room for more of which we found 3. After a
little extermination effort on my part involving a few flip flops, a
broom and a head lamp I had killed the remaining spiders. One was
difficult. It was large enough that when it ran, it knocked over an
empty pop can. I was shocked to say the least. These heroic efforts
delivered me much praise by Steph. Similar to when I defended her from
monkeys, she was speechless by my actions. She is even speechless each
time I re-tell the tale.

We settled in to sleep a little tentative about our cheap lodging.
Tossing and turning with the feeling that bugs were crawling all over
us during the night I woke up at 3AM from my light sleep to something
brushing against my ear. I sit up trying not to wake Steph however my
stealth is not up to par after a restless sleep at 3AM. We take a
headlamp and investigate only to find a cockroach the size of my thumb
crawling around my pillow and then scurry off the bed. I took
confidence in the fact that the spiders and cockroaches seemed more
afraid of me than I of them, however I still didn't like them near me.

We woke at 7, and departed from this dangerous hotel and splurged an
extra 3 dollars for a ritzy hotel with no bugs. For my heroic efforts
I tried to get a back massage from Steph to easy my tense muscles from
the hike and a tirerless night, however she refused. My cunning was
able to get around this however by asking her to apply sunscreen to my
tomato red shoulders. A trick I have employed numerous times.

Things settled down after this first night. We rented scooters and
took off down the beach and discovered the most amazing little cove.
Across the 500m sandy perfect white beach there was only one other
couple and a few vendors. One of the vendors (his name was Andi)
selling sarongs approached us and was very nice. Instead of hassling
us, he simply started up a conversation. Eventually he persuaded us to
look at Sarongs which we bought a few (they serve as great beach
mats). Not having enough money on hand he offered to follow us into
town as we retrieved more. While Steph got money from the hotel I
chatted with him in the parking lot at which point he offered to bring
us snorking and spearfishing and invited us numerous times to his
house for coffee.

The next morning we debated his offers, was this a scam? We decided to
return to the beach either way and on our way he passed us as he was
dropping his son off at his mothers for the week at school. This made
it very difficult to say no to his offer for coffee. We followed him
500m past the beach and got to meet his entire family where his
brother climbed a tree and got us fresh coconuts to drink and eat.
Fortunately Steph and I had bought snacks for the beach we were able
to share. I think that the store bought wafers were a treat to them.
Andi the suggested we go back to the beach and go snorkling and
spearfishing. We were already headed to the beach so we agreed
thanking his wife for the hospitality.

Spearfishing was fun, however I was no good. Accidentially following a
fish to deep water and trying to get it, I shot the spear much deeper
than the water appeared then spent the next 5 minutes trying to swim
15 meters down to retrieve it. Andi had more success catching 5 fish
which he said we should come eat at his house. We tried to say that it
wasn't necessary and he took off. Only to return 30 minutes later
saying that they were ready. There was no real way out of it. Not that
we didn't want to try the food, we just didn't want to take food away
from him and his family. We arrived to fish, rice, beans, coconut all
set out and ready. We stayed there for an hour bought a few bracelets
from his friend made of seaweed and took off. It was a really amazing
afternoon. I couldn't believe how friendly he was. And he wasn't doing
all this to persuade us to buy bracelets, that was our decision since
we felt guilty eating all their food.

Yesterday was less eventful. We woke up and went surfing. The waves
were very big but it was a sandy bottom so no concern for coral
cutting us. I got tossed a few times and up a few times. I still have
a lot of work left.

Thats about it. We are headed to Sengigi today and will probably tour
around the capital of Lombok Mataram before heading back to Bali to
catch a flight to Kuala Lumpur on Friday.

Sorry I haven't been able to be on skype yet. There is internet
however no headsets.

Take Care everyone. Hopefully I will be able to come up with photos
one time soon.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Indonesia Travels Day 11

Team! Steph and I have survived climbing Mount Rinjani! It was AMAZING! However it was also really really hard. The first day was about 8 hours of climbing up to camp 1 at 2666 meters. That wasn't too bad but was nice and hot. The second day however was a doozie.

We went to sleep day 1 at 8pm on the mountain and woke up at 2 AM to ascent to the summit in time for sunrise. Climbing by headlamp for 2.5 hours we arrived at the top at 5:15 a little early to say the least. Facing 2-4*C temperature Steph and I sat waiting for the sun to come up. Claiming to be cold and faking shivers Steph snuggled up to me. I however wasn't cold so I can only assume this was a plot to get closer. Clever girl.

Finally when the sun came up it was spectacular. I have lots of photos and may try and get them updated soon. However without wifi I can't get them off my phone (and there is nowhere to plug in my camera).

Following the summit we made it back to camp only to find a family of grey monkeys hanging out at our tents hunting for food. In total I counted 28 of them. At this point I discovered Steph has a fear of monkeys so once again I came to the rescue and defended her from these 15 pound enemies. I really am a hero. At one point I even carried the communal water (which I only dropped once when I fell).

Day two was long, waking up at 2AM we hiked more or less non stop until 4pm having gone from camp 1 (2666M) -> Summit 3700M -> Crater lake 2000M -> Crater Rim camp 2 2600M. Big day.

We hunkered down and slept, asleep at 7pm as soon as the sun went down. We got up at 6AM and hiked the remaining 9km to Senaru and collapsed. The last hour it rained which was actually quite refreshing.

The whole experience was incredible. The most spectacular of all was the two porters carrying 30kg each tethered to a shoot of bamboo and our guide who couldn't have been more than 100 pounds carrying all 20 (1.5L) water bottles. They had our tent, food, snacks, pots and pans. And not only that, they did the entire hike in flip flops. I couldn't imagine how much you would have to pay someone to do that in canada, but apparently they made "good money" (we assume around 100 000 Rb which would work out to 11$CAD a day) as opposed to being in the rice field which make roughly 20-30 000 Rb. Steph and I wondered where the water was coming from until our porter, a 29 year old veteran of 12 years on the mountain pulled out the first of many water bottles for us. We felt guilty and continually tried to double up but they refused to make us do any more than the minimum amount of work.

Additionally I don't know how to work this into my story, but the food, we ate beyond comfort every single meal, 3 times a day. Today Steph and I pleaded not to have lunch because we were still full from breakfast (And the previous dinner).

The tour group (John's Adventures) was one of the more expensive at roughly 200CAD a person, however in seeing the service we were given over the other groups on the mountain, it was worth every penny (we had an air mattress in our tent which they had set up for us before we got to camp each night).

Following the trek, we were driven 4 hours to Kuta Lombok. We got in late so I haven't seen much of the terrain yet, but it is supposed to be the quiet sibling of Bali. Similar beach and surf but no crowds which so far seems about right.

We don't know how long we will be staying here, we need to meet Corinne and Erich in Kuala Lumpur on the 20th, so time will tell.

Tomorrow, we surf and do laundry which desperately needs done following that hike. I will be tipping the night off with a large Bintang, the only beer I can find in Indonesia.

Take Care everyone!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Indonesia Travels

So this may be a surprise to many of you, but I am actually no longer in Canada. I am traveling for the summer in South East Asia and left last week. Internet is slow and not accessible everywhere, however, whenever I have it I'll post something quick about where I am on the blog.

Unfortunately there will be no photos since I don't have a way of getting them off my computer and onto these cheap ones.

Day 4
Steph and I have made it to Bali following Singapore. We were going to travel up towards Malaysia prior to meeting Erich in Kuala Lumpur however following reading the Indonesia section of the Lonely planet book, Steph really wanted to visit Lombok (next to Bali).
So our plan at this point is to stay in Bali today and maybe part of tomorrow then spend the week in Lombok. There are apparently some of the greatest beaches in SE Asia in Senggigi and then we are going to do a volcano mountain summit (3726m) ( over a 4 day span before heading up to Sumatra and then meeting up with my friends in Kuala Lumpur.
Singapore was really pretty however I honestly feel that 2 days was more than enough even with the second day just running around and getting to the airport.
The airport was chaotic. We arrived hoping to book flights to Bali and were sent to all 4 terminals before being directed to the proper kiosk. Each person telling us a different place to go. This included 2 bus rides and 3 express trains between terminals. We managed to get onto a flight at 4PM (it was 3:20 at this point) and fly through security etc. Then into Jakarta which was a stark contrast from Singapore. After 45 minutes of waiting in line for a visa we had to run for our connecting flight to Bali, We got the visa at 6:20 (bording time for flight was 6:15 and in another airport terminal) We go out after frantically running around and find a shuttle filled with people and we need to shout at the drive what terminal (1-3) we want to go to and prove that our priority is higher than those going to other terminals. Finally we got on the flight at 7 after cutting a few lines and skipping security by waving frantic arms. Getting last on the plane and running through the terminal was fun.
We arrived in Bali haggled a taxi from 5$ to 4$ for a 15 minute drive then settled into a really nice room for a drastic 25$. Tonight we hope to be much more reasonable with a 12-15$ room. None of this life of luxury.

Day 8
Hey Team, we are leaving Gili Trawangan around lunch time today. Before then I will try and get a little surfing in for the first time over here. The waves don't look very big but they are uniform. Hopefully it goes well.

Steph and I went scuba diving yesterday and the day before. The diving was really good however I dare say it was trumped by the snorking. While snorking we saw all the same fish at a fraction the price. Turtles, Moray Eels, Manta Ray, lots of clownfish, angelfish, lionfish, scorpionfish, sweetlips, butterfly fish, surgeonfish, trumpet fish, and a bunch of rocks.

We also went for a run yesterday, 6km in 55 minutes, it was a pretty blistering pace. But in our defense it was 35*C and sunny.

We leave today for the island of Lombok where we will be climbing Mount Rinjani. Roughly 1/2 the height of Everest (I am reading "into thin air" so everything is gauged to Everest these days. As a result I don't know if I will have internet until the 13th. We may have it tonight but that would be it.

Hope everyone is good. Skype isn't working on my computer right now unfortunately. We may try and go to a different internet station and see if it does any better.