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13 September 2003

Comeback!

Location : Bima, Island of Sumbawa, Indonesia.

I have just been to hell and back! Man oh man....so much shit has happened the last few days I don't know where to start. I tried to make a new post on Mindriot a few times but none of it worked out. Anyway, I'll tell you more by starting on where I left off in the last post:-


KUTA - LOMBOK

When I packed for Indonesia, I was prepared to face the toughest situation I may encounter which includes sleeping on the roadside, bus stations, taking a crap in the bush, etc. So, I packed with 2 things in mind - no dependence on electricity and to pack as if I know I'm going to be robbed. So, on the last full day I was in Kuta Lombok, I rented a motorcycle and checked out the whole southern Lombok coastline. I rode the motorcycle through some remote farms in the wilderness hidden among the hills. There was not single person in sight for about 25 minutes riding through bush and dirt track. Then the first living thing I saw was a rough looking man who stopped my bike by waving a machete(farming knife). I thought this is the moment I'd been dreading....that I would be robbed. BUT, instead he just demanded that I gave him 2 cigarettes. What a way to ask for cigarettes! I suppose it was better than being robbed. ON the way out, he saw us again and thumbed a lift out to the main road(with machete in hand again). After that, he had the cheek to ask me for money! I just sped off on my trusty bike. Would've been bloodshed if my bike punctured again...haha.

There has been a couple of situations where total strangers were invading my 'personal space' which made me uncomfortable. I normally clench my fists and prepare to kung fu my way out of a scuffle but thank God, I haven't had to use it!

Travel Info :
From Kuta Lombok, 3 of us chartered a bemo for Rp.99,000 to Senggigi and another Rp.45,000 from Senggigi to Bangsal(the port for boats to Gili Islands). The public boat across from Bangsal, Lombok, to Gili Air is Rp.3,500.


GILI AIR - SMALL ISLAND OFF NORTH WEST LOMBOK

The swell was flat all over Lombok and Luke hurt his foot surfing and it got septic. So, we(my travel partners Kiwi Ryan and South African Luke) decided to head on to Senggigi and check out the swells there but it was flat also. Then, we headed on to Gili Air, some islands off the north west coast of Lombok to chill out for a bit to wait for the swell. I went snorkelling(Rp.35,000) to all 3 of the Gili Islands - Gili Menong, Gili Trawangan and Gili Air and I saw a school of about 7 or 8 huge bumperhead fishes the size of one outstretched arm! Bloody scared the shit out of me to find that I'm swimming alongside with friends like that. Anyway, Luke's foot remained septic even after 3 days rest and I was running out of surfing time so we all decided to skip climbing Mount Rinjani in Lombok which is still an active volcano. On to Sumbawa island....

Travel Info:
This time, we decided to do it the Indonesian way! Public transport all the way.
Rp.10,000 Sharing a chartered boat across to Bangsal.
Rp.6,000 Bangsal to public bus stop on a horse cart called chimodo, for 3 surfers, 3 huge backpacks and 4 surfboards!
Rp.4,000 per person Public bus to Mataram.
Rp.12,000 per person Public bus Mataram-Labuhan Lombok.
Rp.8,000 per person Public ferry across to Poto Tano in Sumbawa.
Rp.5,000 per person Public bus to Taliwang in Sumbawa.
Rp.10,000 per person Public bus to Maluk in Sumbawa.
What a trip it was! Its a lot more uncomfortable but heck of a lot more fun. We saved about Rp.70,000 each doing it on our own instead of using a travel agent. I was crammed into the bus on a seat with legspace of about 13cm. I was curled up like a prawn with my knees almost touching my chin(had a bad pain in the ass). The chickens had the best seat on the bus - strapped onto the rooftop for safety purposes. Fresh air, great views, lots of legspace. Scenes of Indonesian life was quite funny - an old man scratching his balls through his sarong, 3 Indonesian women chatting about cooking recipes, schoolkids that only know how to say "Hello Mister" in English.


MALUK - SUMBAWA

Maluk is a small town that is growing fast due to a gold mine being discovered here. Over here, we surfed Supersuck which was ultimately a crazy wave because it breaks on very very shallow reef. A South African mullet told us "I didn't make the drop into the wave 4 times and I got cut 4 times". Yes, it is that crazy but I swear they were some of the most amazing waves I've seen in Indonesia. Wave after wave of endless perfection. Normally you can ride out of a wave after being slotted in the barrel but not with this wave. It just runs on and on until it races past you. All you do is make the bottom turn and just pray - no such thing as cutbacks, stalling, aerials, etc. You just can't surf out of the barrel but it is the longest tubes of your life. I saw a guy standing in the reef area after wiping out, water up to his thigh, throwing his board over an oncoming wave crashing onto him. He survived. There's also another Hawaiian guy who broke a bone in his foot but still went surfing. He said it was too painful limping along the beach to the point so he just paddled out to it. Mullets.

Travel Info :
Rp.10,000 per person Public bus to Poto Tano, Sumbawa.
Rp.35,000 per person on private bus(air con) to Dompu, Sumbawa.


DOMPU - SUMBAWA

We got off the bus in the outskirts of Dompu quite late at night at about 10.30pm, right into a horde of Indonesian guys who were the most persistent dickheads I've met so far. These guys were trying to outrageously overcharge us to get to Lakey Peak where we were heading because they knew we were stuck in a town late at night with no public transport available. We refused to give in to their demands and felt so ridiculed we just started walking towards the town centre even though it was 3km away. Then these scumbags surrounded us with their motorcycles, refusing to let us go, always getting in our way, etc. At that moment, I wish I had a gun because I felt threatened and really pissed off with them. Hah...I won't kill them but maybe just maim them? Anyway, as we were walking further, they followed us with their motorcycles continually hassling us. I walked into a shop and immediately asked for a room to stay hoping that those guys will leave after a while. The transport dickheads gathered outside waiting for us to come out and were causing quite a commotion. In our room, we were seated with 2 beautiful Indonesian ladies who were trying to chat English with us with all the transport dickheads surrounding the room. Suddenly, an elderly man entered the room and you'd feel his immediate authority because the whole room became silent. People started leaving the room and we were alone with this old guy who was cold as ice. It was quite a funny situation because Ryan, Luke and I are wondering what the hell is happening amidst all this! Ryan and Luke were pulling out phrasebooks to try and converse with this dude. Finally, we found out he was the 'kepala lurah' which means Head of Province and he'd come to calm the situation. Thank God for him! Eventually, we were invited to his house to stay and he kicked his son out for us to sleep in! It was even funnier at his house because all his relatives came out to meet us(about 9 of them) and we were having one worded conversations for 2 hours until 1.30am. The Lonely Planet always states situations like this in the book but we'd never imagine it would happen to us unexpectedly. Next morning, we were served breakfast and he even personally contacted a bemo driver to give us a lift to Lakey Peak but not for free. Rp.20,000 per person which is a lot better than the transport dickheads who wanted Rp.100,000 per person.


LAKEY PEAK - SUMBAWA

Lakey Peak is sometimes known as Lakai, near Hu'u in Sumbawa. The waves here are awesome but fucking GNARLY. That word was mentioned so many times among us surfers. Once, I was paddling out to a left point break called Nungas and I cut my hand on the reef underneath my surfboard! Andrew Campbell, a professional surfer, dislocated his shoulder, snapped his board, snapped his leash and got reef cuts all over his upper body, all on ONE wave. Hospitalised. There was an average of 2 boards snapping a day the whole week I was there. On the first day the swell arrived, 7 surfboards snapped. This is also the most malaria infested place I've been. The week before I arrived, 6 surfers were shipped out due to malaria and one of our hangout clan buddy, Liam, actually caught malaria while I was there. That was the end of his Indonesian dream. He's on a plane back to South Africa.

Travel Info :
Chartered bemo to Bima, Sumbawa, for 5 persons, 10 surfboards and 5 backpacks, Rp.40,000 per person.


BIMA - SUMBAWA

This is just a transit point for me. Tomorrow I am taking a ferry on to Kupang, West Timor. It is the furthest point east I can reach in this part of the Indonesian archipelago.

At Kupang, I will be taking another ferry off to Roti/Rote Island which will be my last stop. I have heard many things about this spot. Most surfers come to Indonesia and pinch themselves to see if they are in a dream when they reach Roti. However, it is one heck of a bitch to get there! A total of 2 days will be wasted travelling but I just gotta see this place because I cannot turn back now that I've come this far. Initially I was intending to check out Sumba but that will have to be another time because Roti sounds a lot more better. 2 other South African dudes have joined our group - Andrew and Aaron. Together we will be off to face the unknown!

The further east I travel :-
1.the less internet connection is made available.
2.if there is internet connection, it is FUCKING expensive.
3.the more gun-toting and machete-wielding civilians i see.
4.the less white people i see.
5.the more naked women i come across(yeah, right!).

I don't know when my next post will be but I hope not too long. If I don't reply emails at the moment, I'm sorry but Internet connection is hard to get in this wild wild east. I will be flying back to Bali on the 23rd, and then out of Bali on the 25th of September. Stay tuned!

Posted by Ripcord at September 13, 2003 08:34 PM

Comments

Shit man. You sound lucky to be alive. Really living it up dude... keep the good yarns coming. You make me wanna give up my day job and fly out to Indon. Take care bud and make a post soon. Your recent posts are getting me worried even if you're not... =S

Posted by: grim at September 15, 2003 03:35 AM

Hey man, it certainly sounds like you are lucky to still be with us. This trip is certainly making a man of you. Very impressed that you have not seriously injured yourself on the reef, do you get to do any competions while your in these surfer havens?

Still really enjoying reading your exploites. You'll have your book written by the end.

Catch you soon buddy, stay safe.... :)

Posted by: VIRGIN at September 15, 2003 04:57 PM

grim : have no fear, edwin is not a mullet.

virgin : competitions???????? hahah....sorry to disappoint you my old buddy, but i am not competition level.....yet? =(

Posted by: ripcord at September 22, 2003 07:55 PM

Hey Edwin, Sounds manic!!! You should defo make a travel book from your log...

Posted by: Rob at September 26, 2003 06:24 PM

dude, thats nothing! Try hiring a car and breaking down in the middle of Lombok next to a terrorist camp, then having to run 100kms to the police station with no shoes on! Sept 17 2001, 2 days after 9/11

Posted by: watman at May 18, 2004 04:22 PM

watman : holy cow....you definitely made me feel better. good memories? =)

Posted by: ripcord at June 3, 2004 06:20 PM