Jakarta to Bali and Lombok
May 1983
Part III - Lombok/Bali

If you want to skip directly to the other parts, then just hit
Part I  - Java or
Part II - Bali


From the harbor of Pandangbai, on the east coast of Bali, I took the ferry to Lombok, the next island to the east across the Lombok strait. This strait is also called the Wallace Line, named after Alfred Russel Wallace, a British naturalist, who found out that this line separates the "rich" indigenous plants and animals of South East Asia from the one "poorer" and more closely related to New Guinea and Australia. Why? Better look up the scientific literature, which will then also explain, why the Aborigines or so different from the Eurasians.

On the ship I met a French couple and a German traveler and we stayed together until our return trip to Bali.

Remark: The photos on the right side may not be correctly adjusted if you use Mozilla Firefox or Chrome. I propose to use the Explorer of Microsoft instead.

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Waiting at the dock arriving on Lombok
After around five hours we disembarked at a port close to Ampenam on Lombok which did not look very inviting, nor did the beach close by, all black volcanic sand. It was only interesting to watch the village people pulling the boats onto the beach after their men came back from fishing.

But not with this boat This is just a fisher boat

We heard about three small islands in the north, the Gili Islands, and decided to go there. We took the local transport van and headed to the beach close to Pamenang. From there we could see the islands very near, but the boatmen ask for a horrendous price for the ride to get there. We tried to negotiate but to no avail (it seemed that the boat business was organized in some kind of a cartel). Take it or leave it? We finally took it.
Leaving Ampenam for the three Gilis together with these three guys
relaxing on the vulture boat while watching a sailboat
We did get off right on the first island, the Gili Air, the only one of the three, which provided some simple huts in front of a beautiful beach. The price for the accommodation, including meals, was acceptable (no rip-off).
Finally the first Gili Island we reach and I could get a hut in front of the beach
The host family was very kind and friendly. And they had a lot of work to do. All the food must be transported from the bigger island, Lombok, if not caught in the sea or picked from the tree.
A welcome drink. The family really cared A squid dinner will be prepared
We four people were the only guests on the island, which was relaxing. The water was clean and clear for swimming. The sand was clean and white all around the island, which could be encircled leisurely in thirty minutes.
The wife takes care of all the dishes The older kids about their smaller siblings
So after two days on this small island it did get boring so we left. More islands with accommodations weren't around. The only next adventure would have been climbing Mount Rinjani (3,726m) in the national park with the same name. But we declined because of time constraints (and too much strain).
After two nights on Gili we were back on the road and left Lombok while watching dolphins from the boat
After another night in the capital Mataram, where we had a lot of mosquitos to fight (also with the hotel staff about mosquito coils), we happily embarked on the ferry again in Ampenam for the trip back to nice Bali.
Want to sail around the world? Or join the boys in their boats?

Back to Bali, Mount Batur

Back on Bali, I decided to climb a volcano now: Mount Batur. My companions declined, but wanted to see me again in Kuta. I arrived in the evening in a small town just at the foot of Mount Batur, where I stayed in a guesthouse listed in my guide book and advertising an already famous guide: Gede. Next day, early in the morning I found myself in company of five other travelers, and Gede, the guide with the flute.
What a jump: From the sea to the volcano On the way to the peak of Mount Batur
With Gede, our guide, and his flute we reached the summit in good mood
Another musical performance at the peak This Japanese lady walked up with bare breasts and feet
This volcano is still active as you can see from the sulfur smoke. The last time it broke out was not long ago as you also can see from the lava streams not covered by vegetation yet.
Looking into the crater I saw steaming up sulfur
That was once hot lava flowing down to the lake
Climbing up was from the other side, but walking down was to the lake's side. Our feet actually needed to cool off, but the hot water coming out from the volcanic underground was even more soothing, and that even for the whole body. especially changing from to the hot pool to the cold lake back and forth.
After descend we took a bath in the hot water pool Then walked back to town instead of taking the boat

Denpasar and around

Denpasar is a city like many other Indonesian cities. Many Javanese, mostly Muslims, have come here and settled down around here. Many of them are also part of the work force to cater for the tourists in the seaside resorts and hotels. Many are also criminals trying to be "catered" by the tourists, too. I was told several times not to fend off (or hold the thief) if you are robbed, either in the street or in the hotel room. Otherwise you will be killed, because the penalty for robbery alone is already very harsh. So the crooks think the chance is higher to get away with murder.

Back to Denpasar the capital of Bali
Sanur on the southern east side is the beach where most first class resorts are located. Kuta on the southern west side is the beach for backpackers and the (mostly) Australians belonging to the mostly young generation drinking, grooving and rambling around in joints and discos, racing around with motorbikes in the middle of the night with many of them subsequently landing with a crushed head in one of the hospitals around.
From there, I was looking for a beach: Sanur Beach but I rather settled down where  the action is: Kuta Beach
Instead of going to the disco, I preferred to learn something more about the traditional Balinese theater, this time: The Barong. The following pictures will a little tell its story. Just a word to the Kris. It is the typical Indonesian dagger. During the Kris Dance all men dancing in supposedly real trance while trying to cut their body with the tip of the Kris but without drawing any blood.
Then again another theater and a different kind of drama
also with girls who are dancing but here who is coming?
A fable animal: the Barong is dancing to the gong
Also monkey general Hanuman again is jumping around accomp-anied by the gamelan orchestra's sound
Then with the sound of the fiddle the witch Ranga comes in the middle
The monkey army don't give her a chance and finally the highlight: the famous Kris Dance
Another famous sight was Tana Lot. A very picturesque temple on a rock in the sea but close enough to the shore to walk to during low tide. It wasn't far from Kuta, just a little bit up the same coast, but it was not strait to be reached.
Then an exursion to Tana Lot sitting in the sea on a rock
It's a temple only by low tide to reach which is watched by the temple priest
On the left you see the shore with a rock On the right the coast is even more rugged
Many tourists are walking around Even a famous singer I found
I asked her about Nola Tilaar and yes, she really knew her
You don't know Nola. She was already a famous singer in Indonesia before she came to Germany to appear on various television shows beside some open air events and happened to be a live-in-partner with a friend of mine.

Ok, now I had to get back to Kuta the same way I came (with local transports) through the same beautiful countryside.
Balinese are harvesting rice three times a year Another religious festival is going on here
You should not buy turtle shells Rather some stone sculptures
Balinese are good craftsmen also good business women
Last day was reserved for shopping in Denpasar. Neither veggies nor fruits at the market but rather some souvenirs, actually a suitcase (which I bought, too) full of all kinds of nice Balinese wood carvings.
The market place is always an event even if nothing is sold Coconut water is refreshing and healthier than coke
You may also try sweet colorful something I will not be drinking The grocery market becomes a food market in the evening
I even stayed in Denpasar the last evening and visited the night market, which had been converted from the day's grocery market into an eatery market with a lot of food stalls.
Not everything would be my pick but surely a barbecued baby pig
Next day I flew to Jakarta, where I stayed one more night before I headed back to Germany. That's the end now of my trip to one part of Indonesia, but not the last one.

There could have been seen and done a lot more on my way. Also I could have written more. If you want to know more all about the places we have visited, then just look up any of the many guidebooks or in the internet.

If you want to skip back to the other parts, then just hit
Part I  - Java or
Part II - Bali

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