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Door To
View from ferry pulling up to Lombok.
January 1, 2008

Since Christine was heading out today, I decided it would be a good idea to see another part of Indonesia. So what if it
practically goes hand-in-hand with Bali. I was off to Lombok.

The four hours on the public ferry were quite uneventful. Always a good thing. Everyone seemed to have enough space to lie
on the wooden benches. I laid out my fleece and followed suit. The challenge was getting comfy as my backpack is far from
suitable as a pillow.

I arranged for a shuttle to pick me up once I arrived in Lombok since it would take another hour to get to Senggigi. When I got
off the ferry, a man yelled out the name of the company I bought my ticket from. I handed him my ticket and followed him. It
was me, him and the driver in the van. Within three minutes the man said he was now leaving to do more work. I asked for my
ticket back. He told me he needed it for business purposes. So now it was just me and the only-Bahasa-speaking driver. In the
plain-white unmarked van. Where there was no way to open the door from the inside.
What did I just get myself into? My gut
instincts weren’t feeling too good about this. I kept keeping an eye on the road to make sure we were going in the direction of
Senggigi. But I was also telling myself to relax and give people the benefit of the doubt. So what if I had already been nearly
screwed by ten different people on the prices of the ferry before I eventually made my way to the general ticket counter? So
what if there wasn’t a company name on the van? So what if I didn’t have possession of my ticket any more in case the driver
was going to attempt to say I owed more money? So what if I had absolutely no ability to open the door from the inside
(okay…this was still concerning me a bit but there was a window to jump out of, if necessary). An hour later, everything proved
to be a-okay as I was dropped off in Senggigi.

I wandered around the main drag and quickly noticed a main difference between Lombok and Bali. The religious factor.
Muslim attire is everywhere here while in Bali I don’t think I saw it once. Also the prayer calls coming from the mosques. In
Bali you forget that you are in a country with the highest Muslim population in the world. But now I was reminded. It just
woke me up to the fact that I am going to need to dress a bit differently here. But that’s okay. I know how it works. and ended
up settling at a poolside bar for Happy Hour and to watch the sunset. It was there I met a couple of Singaporean girls – May
and Rachel – who were there doing the same thing. I ended up meeting them later for dinner. The live music started off with
our genre but then became geared for the older clientele in attendance. That’s when we called it a night. If I don’t cross paths
again with them here, there’s a good chance we may be meeting up for a drink when I’m in Singapore.

January 2, 2008

I realized that yesterday was my first and only day in Indonesia so far with zero rainfall. Of course this occurred to me as I was
watching the rainfall this morning.

This led to my making a purchase. The first purchase of this kind in over 18 solid months of traveling. The purchase? An
umbrella. I don’t really know how I’ve avoided this up to this point considering I’ve had more than my share of crummy
weather. But I have. Until today. I now consider this one of the most valuable possessions I’m equipped with. Yes, the rest of
the day was clear and sunny. But now, in the night hours, I’m watching it come down like a hose accompanied with thunder
and lightning. Once again, I’m thankful for my new purchase.

I’m actually watching this as I wait for my chocolate massage treatment at the Sheraton resort. I got a package that also
included a chocolate facial that I had this afternoon. Approximately $40 for 2½ hours of chocolate bliss. Ever better
considering I’m using a Starwood gift card that Michelle and Clarke got for me a couple years ago during Christmas.


Can I say how wonderful it is getting a chocolate scrub down in a spa room set up right next to the ocean? Really. Can I?

To make it even better, the first half was filled with sounds of the ocean
and pouring rain. The second half was just the ocean
(which was good for me since it meant I wouldn’t have to walk back to my hotel in the rain). Ahhh. Once again – thanks
Michelle and Clarke.

But as I was leaving the Sheraton, rain started to fall again. But that was okay as there were horse-carts waiting to take people
around. I had it take me to the super-great restaurant I went to called Square. Perfect ending to an already great day.
Back to Indonesia.
A cute pony that carts people around.
At a beach in Senggigi.