Relaxing and sad farewells
After our epic volcano climb our bodies were crying out for some rest and relaxation. After we fed and watered ourselves that night it was so nice to be able to climb into a proper bed instead of the very thin rubber mattresses we had become accustomed to up the volcano. It was also nice to enjoy a well earned cold beer and food that didn’t contain the ingredients of rice or noodles! The next day we started to plan our way out of Singiggi as time was running out on our visas and it was almost time to go our separate ways – Gary and Trish off to China, I was heading to Singapore.
The following day we hit the internet, fed ourselves and picked up cheap tickets back to Bali which involved a minibus then the ferry from Lembar to Pandangbai. The day soon passed by quickly with lots of naps and Trish buying what seemed to be Lombok’s entire supply of Sarongs in order to post home. She bartered like no other and picked up around 20 at the last count. Laden with gifts and our standard issue rucksacks we hoped on the bus the following day and proceeded to down the coast to Lembar. On the way we passed a festival which seemed to attract the vast majority of Lombok as well as utilising the whole police force on the island who all were trying to direct traffic like only a an Indonesian policeman can – badly! Once through the traffic jams and past many trucks carrying an unfeasible amounts people we arrived at the port of Lembar and boarded the ferry. Unable to find any seats on the ferry we plonked ourselves in a gangway found ourselves some lunch of rice and spicy chicken wrapped in a banana leaf and settled into the 4hr journey. We were one of few travellers on this route and many locals seemed to take interest in us in the typical Indonesian way – staring! Our bodies still aching from the climb the two days previous it was hard to find a comfortable position but the views out of Lombok and into Bali suppressed the pain and we were soon in the shadow of Gunung Agung in Bali and docking at Pandangbai port.
The arrival of the ferry provoked frantic displays of local porters jumping aboard the ship from the dockside looking to help us with our bags. They were sadly disappointed as our bus terminal was a mere 60m away! After a wait of around 45 mins we hoped on the bus enroute to Kuta, or so we thought! Little did we know that the bus was going to Ubud first then onto Kuta, but the journey was pleasant enough as we drifted through towns and villages and on up to Ubud. Indonesians have a passion for burning their rubbish (I guess there are few state rubbish collectors) which made the journey more magical as we drifted through the haze of the smoke. The journey to and out of Ubud through the rice fields, palm and banana tress was bathed in a beautiful golden awe. Three hours later after setting off from Pandangbai we eventually arrived in Kuta, 11hrs after setting off. A typical Indonesian journey really, 6 hours of actual travel and 5 hours of waiting around.
As it was our last couple of nights together as a group so we decided to go up market a little whilst in Kuta. The guesthouse we choose boasted a nice swimming pool and we all had a room with AC and cable TV. This was luxury! It was probably the first time in a month that I had watched anything so updated myself with BBC news and the National Geographic channels. The days and nights that followed in Kuta were spent watching Lewis Hamilton win the F1 Singapore Grand Prix, buying gifts to send home and eating some fantastic food and we also caught up with an old friend from Koh Tao who happened to be in the area. We had spent quite a bit of time with Bjorn (a 6ft 10in German traveller who has only just realised he doesn’t like travelling) on Koh Tao so it was great to catch up with him. We hit the town and got involved in Kuta’s hot spot which was Paddy’s bar drinking strange cocktails and generally having a lot of fun! Our last night together we decided to treated ourselves and we dined like kings.
We had passed a restaurant called Havana’s many times down Poppies Lane in Kuta that had the most amazing looking BBQ. Their pride and joy was a 2ft Kebab which Gary and Trish feasted on and I opted for the ribs after seeing some German guy almost pass out after finishing his kebab to himself! Both excellent choices and I almost requested a wheelchair to carry me home I was so stuffed! We then enjoyed a final game of rummy together (I will be world champ of rummy the next time we meet!) before a sad goodbye. It was off to bed relatively early as I had to catch a plane at 5.30am the next morning. The month I had with Gary and Trish had been amazing and it was so good to experience everything we had done with such great friends. We had managed to cram in a lot in our month together and it was with great sadness that they were off on new adventures to China whilst I was off to Singapore. Their two year trip was almost to an end mine was only really at the beginning. Gary and I had been planning to do a world trip together for the past 5 years but Gary had decided to go with his Trish instead, I can’t think why! They had taken in Antarctica, South / Central and North America, Australia and South and East Asia on their journeys. Meeting the pair of them in Honduras in June 2008 six months into their travels gave me the final incentive to quit my job and travel and throughout my trip we had all met up and enjoyed some great times and adventures together. The next time I would see them, they would be joining me on my world travels. Gary had been a source of inspiration in how to travel light whilst travelling with the worlds heaviest books and Trishs’ level balance of trekking, sarong buying and diving had put me in great shape for all my next adventures! The next morning as I boarded the plane and flew out of Bali I was heading to my 8th new county on my travels so far. Making sure I wasn’t carrying any chewing gum on me it was a short 1 ½ hr flight to the ultra clean city state of Singapore.