Monday, July 5, 2010

Lombok Continued...

After surfing Grupuk Bay for a few days we took the 1 hour drive west to another break called Mawi.  Even if the waves end up being small, the drive through the valleys and farmland surrounded by towering green mountains covered in palm trees makes the trip on the terrible back roads worthwhile.

Luckily, the waves were the opposite of flat when we arrived with no one out.  We met a couple Aussie guys (a father and son) traveling together along with another Kiwi.  It was late in the afternoon when we arrived and Mawi was breaking in the 8-10 foot range -- now we know why no one was out.  When Mawi is big it's a big jacking left hander with a steep takeoff that'll allow for some nice barrels.  With it being so late in the day and the heavy cloud cover it was pretty eerie especially since there were only a few of us out there. The Aussie guys talked us into paddling out and showed us where the channel was.  We caught a few waves and narrowly escaped the beat down these waves were trying to throw out.  Eventually, one got the best of me and my leash broke, which made for a really fun swim back in as I got pounded by 3 or 4 more big ones.  The Kiwi broke his board on the next wave and we figured it was time to call it a day.

From 4. Lombok, Indonesia

By the time we left, it had gotten dark and we had to make the long drive back up the steep gravel road in the dark.  What made matters even better for me was that the lights on my bike went out so I got to make the extra fun ride back home with no lights.  Trying to stay in between the guy in front of back of me was all I could do to try and use their lights to see the potholes.  Luckily, I made it back unscathed.

The next day we took a boat trip to another break called Eckes.  To get to Eckes, it's a 30 minute drive by bike and then another 30 minute boat trip.  We paired up with the Aussies and some other English guys we met to split the boat ride to Eckes. On the way their, we had to go down a super steep incline covered in huge potholes and gravel.  Their was no way all of us could make it down without falling off so of course I went ahead and volunteered to fall off.  I ended up flying over the handlebars twice on the way down and luckily only came away with a few scratches and bruises.  The worst part was that my board broke when it got crushed by the bike.  Thankfully, I was able to borrow the worst board I've seen in my life from a local kid at the boat pick up.

From 4. Lombok, Indonesia

We finally made it to Eckes and there were only a handful of people out.  Everyone was hesitant to go out when we pulled up since it was almost the peak of the swell.  I estimated the wave faces to be around 10-12 feet, but the Aussie guy swore there were big one's coming in around 16 feet.  It took us all a good 10 minutes to even get out of the boat -- the shear size and remoteness was pretty intimidating, but again the Aussies convinced us to paddle out.  It ended up being one of the biggest and most fun sessions of our trip and definitely my life.  Big rolling waves that throw over into some pretty heavy barrels were coming around this point and making a 90 degree turn to break.  It's an insane sight to see, but we loved it.

On the last post, I think I mentioned that we got invited to a wedding ceremony. We brought some sugar with us as a gift and followed our host's on their bikes to a small village about 20 minutes away.  When we got their we were invited into the host's house, which was basically just a hut with bamboo walls and a thatched roof.  We all sat down in a circle indian style where they brought us loads of food (spicier than any of us could handle) and even cigarettes on a platter -- awesome.  Everyone was really friendly and welcoming. The father hosting the party welcomed us with a big, "Hallllooooooo," and we thanked him for having us.  There we many more people outside the hut socializing and playing really weird, but good Muslim Sasak music.  Maybe I'll get them to burn me a CD.

Eventually, we got around to asking where the bride and groom were and they said, "Oh no, this not wedding.  This cut deeck ceremoney."  "Cut deeck?" we asked.  Desperate fear rushed through our heads as we realized what they were talking about.  Did we just get invited to get circumsized?  We politely said "No thank you, and they laughed at us and explained that the ceremony was for boys in the village.  Thank God!  Our friends, Ebay and Allam later explained this was just the party for circumcision, which we were invited to attend the  next day. I'm not too sure we wanted to see that, but we planned to leave for the Gili Islands the next day anyway.

From 6. Back to Lombok

Riding around on the back roads of Lombok is like stepping back in time.  Seeing all the people living so simply makes you think about all the things back home we take for granted like clean running water and reliable energy.  Women here walk around with baskets on their heads and the men wear traditional Muslim/Sasak clothes while working with hand tools in the fields.  Most of the people live in basic bamboo huts with thatched roofs, but they seem content with where they are.  When we drive around many of the kids run up to the road and scream, "Halllllooo," and some give us high fives.

From 4. Lombok, Indonesia

The people here don't seem to have been influenced much at all by western culture, but I think things will be changing soon once the new international airport is complete, which is scheduled for some time next year.  For investors, now seems like it would be a good time to buy land here before all the tourism comes.  With Lombok's location so close to Bali, it's inevitable this place will change -- some for the better and some for the worse.  Overall, the people are optimistic about the coming change as it will be mean more chances to make money, but hopefully they'll maintain their culture.

Lombok has been our favorite place so far and we hate to leave, but we know there are many more interesting things to see around the corner.  Our next stop, the small island of Gili Trawajangan -- population 800.  Will try and post more pictures when we get back to Bali and the internet speed picks up.

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