Back in October, we had a week off of work but opted out of our usual Golden Week holiday to avoid the stress of it all. Still, we wanted to do something interesting during our time off, so I booked us into an acrylic paint pouring workshop. It was a great experience and since then I’ve been keen to try any class I can!
In Bukit Lawang, a coconut carving class was included in our tour. The artist, Moon, was very talented and gave us lots of ideas to choose from. I tried to go with something simple, but I didn’t account for all the toes I need to carve (I chose to make a gecko necklace). It was a lot harder than I thought it would be and I realized quickly the value of all of Moon’s work.
I can’t take total credit for my final piece because Moon ended up doing a lot of it himself while I tried to cool down outside (it was stifflingly hot in his workshop). But I did do about half of it myself (mostly the sanding and finer details).
Today, on Gili T, we took another class this time for making Silver jewellery. Dave chose to make a ring and I made a pendant. We were also there with another lady who was making a ring that represented her 3 children. It was a tonne of fun and I found it quite a bit easier than the coconut carving.
We had a good afternoon and all 3 of us left very happy with our results.
Now, I have some jewelery from our time in Indonesia, and some great memories too!
Lombok is about 20 minutes away by boat. We traveled to Gili T earlier this week from Lombok and it cost us a whopping 350,000 rupiah to get here (over $30 Canadian). They definitely overcharge for that short trip, but when you arrive at 9pm, during a rainstorm and have a bunch of luggage… You don’t have a lot of options!!
Today, though, we had options. The pubic ferry goes from Gili T to Lombok in about the same amount of time as a speedboat, but for a fraction of the cost (less than $3 Canadian).
Now, I realize that taking a ferry isn’t usually a complicated task… But in South East Asia, things don’t always make sense to my Western brain.
After buying tickets for the ferry, we asked when the boat left. The woman replied “no time…40 people”. The boats here don’t leave on a scheduled time… They leave when they’re full.
I asked “where do we find the boat”. She pointed to an unspecified area of the beach (where 10+ boats were floating and loading passengers).
We walked outside and saw that there were about 200 people all standing around… Not getting on any of the 10 boats waiting there…
Nobody seems to really know which boat they should take and nobody really seems to be responsible for sending people in the right direction, either.
After waiting in line for a while to get on the biggest boat we saw (public ferries need to hold a lot of people, right??), we found out it was actually going to Bali…
So, we walked down the beach and just started asking people where to go! Before long, we were on our way, but I have to admit… It was a lot more complicated than I expected!!
The Gili Islands are famous for their instagram-worthy sunsets. We missed our first couple because of rain, but today was clear so we rented a couple of bikes and head down to the beach.
The problem with Instagram-worthy sunsets though, is that everyone wants them… And everyone wants to be in them. Asia is a very populated place… And everywhere we go, we struggle with getting pictures that don’t have a tonne of people standing around in them.
Of course, you can always get creative with your photos, like I tend to:
But sometimes you just need to give up and move on… Which is what I decided to do after waiting more than 5 minutes for this guy to realize he was in my shot…
As I turned to leave, so did he… While 5 other tourists simultaniously moved into my shot. So…I took one last angry photo(that accidently turned out REALLY well!!!
Dave and I have active holidays. Usually, our only real rest days are days when we travel to a new area and are forced to take it easy.
In the last year, we’ve worked really hard to get into a better lifestyle. After all, we love our life and the last thing we want is to be suffering from health issues prematurely. We started exercising regularly, eating better and looking at food as medicine & fuel instead of simply as an indulgence.
So with this mindset, I naturally planned a more active holiday than usual too and by the end of our Komodo Islands tour, my body was well aware of it!!!
So… After nearly 3 weeks of hiking, walking, swimming, trekking, climbing and scrambling through caves, we finally decided to put our feet up, and relax a little!!
Today was a fabulous day of nothingness!! (Followed by dinner on the beach!!).
I always think I’m going to lack writing material on travel days, but the great thing about being in a writing mindset, is that you look at everything a little differently. It’s one of the reasons why I love writing (both in my journal and in blog posts) while we travel.
We’re at Bali airport with a 4 hour layover today. This is the closest we’ll come to Indonesia’s most famous island.
If you asked me why we’re not going to Bali, I might give you a quick answer and say that I hate tourists, but that’s not really it. Honestly, I feel like Bali has been done. I’ve seen the pictures, I’ve heard the stories and I’ve read the articles. Everyone’s already written about Bali, so what’s left to say?
I mean, don’t get me wrong… Places like Bali do what they do very well. Bali is beautiful, comfortable and a bit kitsch, and for a lot of people, that makes for a perfect holiday!! But that’s definitely not what Dave and I seek anymore.
The longer we travel, the more we realize that we aren’t looking for the same things many other tourists are. We’re ok with the 8 hour drive to Bukit Lawang. We’re alright spending the night sleeping on a rock in the jungle. Even my sunstroked boat experience was worth it because there was a chance I’d see something really rare!
This is not to say that Bali and places like it aren’t wonderful, and it’s certainly not to say that everyone should want to do the things I love. What I’ve learned over the past 4 years is that you should do you… Don’t follow everyone else’s dreams… Figure out what YOU want.
For me… It’s meeting Thomas and Juni in the Sumatran jungle.
The last 18 days have been wonderful. We’ve really loved being in Indonesia and the biggest reason for this has been the people we’ve met.
Whether we’ve been in touristy areas or areas more remote, people here have been polite and seem to be genuinely friendly; both to us and to each other as well.
Unlike on most of our holidays, we haven’t been traveling with Westerners so much this year. Instead, we’ve been visiting the sites with Indonesians from other areas of the country. The rainy season seems to be when the locals explore their amazingly diverse country.
I know I’ve shared this picture before, but it’s still one of my faves. These were Indonesian tourists, on holiday, visiting Bukit Lawang. Everywhere we’ve gone, we’ve seen this smiling faces and happy greetings!
Today, we stopped at a little shop on the side of the road to stretch and I decided to get some pictures of the beautiful scenery while Dave ordered some snacks.
The Little shop where we stopped for a stretch and some snacks
I saw a couple taking some photos of one another at this lovely viewpoint so I offered to take one of both of them. They broke out in the biggest smiles, thanked me profusely and struck a super cool pose with their gorgeous backdrop.
In the background, you can see the ocean
Then, the woman said “now, one together!!”, And we huddled together and took a picture with each of our cameras. It wasn’t the usual “get a picture of a foreigner” either… Those situations feel very different (I would know…I frequently experience those moments in China.)
This felt more like a nice moment we all wanted to remember.
Life on a boat can be tough. It can be especially tough if you’re dehydrated and fighting the urge to throw up. I spent most of today sipping sprite and staying in the shade, where the sun couldn’t get me!!!
Murphy’s law of course meant that the day I was sick happened to be the best day of the trip for snorkeling and diving. Today…we visited Manta Ray Point.
I did get to see one Manta, from the shade of the boat, and I’m glad I at least got that… But it was a real bummer spending the day inside a rocking boat while everyone else had fun!
Now… I’m back on land, and back in dry clothes (you simply cannot ever stay dry on a boat!!) and I will be thoroughly thrilled with my air conditioner tonight!!