After saying farewell to Japan we hopped a much longer than anticipated flight down to Southeast Asia (think American-in-Europe style Asia traveling…oh, sure it’s close – it’s all in Asia!) We stopped over for a night at some raggedy hotel near the airport in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia where a towel cost extra and breakfast was a runny egg with a slice of toast then headed for warmer waters down in Indonesia.
Our feet touched ground again in Bali where the site of tourists by the hundreds flooded our eyes and we dodged crowds to check ourselves in to our next leg to Lombok. With a few hours to kill in between we wandered out of the airport to a somewhat ragged-around-the-edges part of the island known as Kuta. We were on the hunt for money, since our Japanese Yen would no longer serve us here. Along the way we found broken sidewalks, banks closing before official closing time, and a tiny hole-in-the-wall eatery that was packed to the brim. Jackpot!
We watched the women at the helm crushing up peanuts and slicing papayas and preparing fresh noodles with watering mouths. We ordered one of everything “that guy has” except there was not a common language spoken between us. So our ordering consisted more of A pointing to mixing pot in front of woman and nodding, woman trying to ask some question, A and Amanda smiling back in tentative agreement. In the end, food was prepared, stomachs were filled, and these two tourists were happy. All for about 1 Dollar!
We caught a taxi back through Kuta to the airport, (which ended up taking a surprising hour or more to walk to,) and awaited the flight to take us to our next slice of heaven, Gili Trawangan. Arriving in Lombok, I was shocked to see how brand new and beautiful the airport was. What a shock it was compared to the chaos of Denpasar (Bali)! We learned this airport had only just been built and was quite a ways outside the city center, as compared to the previous airport which was must easier for tourists to get to. Guess that’s the price you pay for “modernization” and “accessibility”.
We were greeted by a local man and his son who were meant to usher us to our bungalow on Gili. We took the 2 hour drive through the Monkey Forest (which we could not fully appreciate until the trip home when we did it in daylight hours) and hopped on a small boat for a 20 minute ride to heaven. Upon arrival we were greeted by two locals who apparently managed our “hotel” and who, thankfully, dragged our bags up the sandy beach to the door of our bungalow.
We made it at last!