Thursday, March 15, 2018

Cruising Nusa Lembongan




It’s time to get out of Dodge! How often have I said that on this journey! 

Something about me is never content to sit pool-side and read a book. I can’t stand confinement, even in Paradise and have to see what is around the next corner. Dissatisfaction? A Buddhist source of suffering? Or just Kathy…

There isn’t much to do on the island Nusa Lombongan, an hour’s boat ride from Bali. (It is actually a part of the province called Bali. The country is Indonesia and the capital is Jakarta, Java — geography lesson.) But it was around the next corner.

No gangplank here! The luggage was tossed to the top (hopefully tied down) and we had to wade on.









See the interesting sign on the boat. It was a safe and easy boat ride.






And that’s why I came. Few distractions, do some writing, wait out the volcano in Bali.… 






But after one day I’m bored and need to get out of these Alam Nusa Huts. They are lovely — see the “welcome drink”, welcoming bed with the ubiquitous mosquito netting, semi-outside bathroom, and daily offerings.










 









But, I needed to see the island …

Obviously I could rent a scooter and figure out the unmarked roads and rocky lanes around the island. 

But I promised my children I would not come home in a wheelchair! So, I hire Budi for $15 for the day and off we go. Too late I think of a helmet, but no one rides with them on this island. They are mandatory in Bali but here four schoolchildren will buzz along happily on one scooter without any protection.




Holding on to his waist very tightly, I do keep reminding the 21 year old invincible Budi that I am “Nenek”, grandmother. And it is really bad karma if he gets a grandmother injured or dead! “I will come back to haunt you, like the witch Ragada,” I promise. We are safe. He is a careful driver and one can’t go too fast anyway around the twists and turns.

Cruising the island is just what I wanted. 

Very rural, jungle even. Simple houses, a little farming, and beaches. A temple where we get yelled at because I’m not wearing a sarong.






He points out a small cemetery where the dead are buried under concrete, an umbrella and frequent offerings. Once a year the bones of the dead are unburied and cremated. These Balinese cremations are such big events, with relatives taking off work, that its best to consolidate them to certain dates if possible. (At least that’s what I think he said over the motorscooter’s roar.)






From the largest beach at Jungutbatu we see Volcano Agung spew ash and steam. 








I would like to stay for awhile and honor it’s massive power, for I’m sure it has something to teach me.  No doubt about it, I can see why the airports are in trouble! And in case you are wondering, the ash is why we are wearing face masks.


Then a manpowered mangrove ride.










Looks a lot like Florida, minus the alligators and manatees. 

A very strange underground house called Gala-Gala.

It was carved by an ambitious priest in honor of a story from the Mahabharata and the character Pandawas who had to protect his family in an underground cave. Interesting to crawl through the tunnels and wonder why?










Over the yellow bridge onto the island Nusa Ceningan. 






And the only transportation to those living on this tiny island is scooter or foot, even for a grandmother— “nenek.”




And other sights. 

See the mighty cliffs dubbed “swallow house”. 





And the flats where at low tide seaweed is gathered, to be made into the emulsifying agent for ice-cream — carrageenan. Tourism is more profitable and less back-breaking now. There are even fewer tourists here.






And then a stop at Dream Beach before buzzing back home, safe and sound.





The next morning my hopes for snorkeling with the manta rays are dashed by a rainstorm.


So I will have to be content in Paradise, writing, reading and swimming, and working with that insatiable urge to be somewhere else!