When we are not out and about on our bikes, we start to behave like normal tourists and are naturally perceived as such. This can be an advantage, but we often lack that “special” contact.
Of course, I also find myself thinking that it’s nice to be “special” sometimes. At least now, as 2 older tourists on a scooter, that doesn’t attract any attention and I like it too. Well, at least hardly any attention. Of course, every guide spots us immediately and has an idea of which traditional market, rice field or waterfall they could take us to. The kind of market, rice field or waterfall that we have never seen before and where no or hardly any tourists come, he says.
And then, after he has found out (by the way, female guides have never ambushed us on the street, but of course they do exist) that we are from Germany, he quickly says „Ach so”. Many a German tourist probably says these 2 words often enough for them to have memorized it. Ach so (I see).
We really are an extremely difficult clientele for the tourist catchers. We don’t need a cab because we have our bikes and we have already seen a lot of markets, rice fields and waterfalls. And the typical tourist photo in front of the waterfall that the guide has learned to take is more likely to end up on the shelf than somewhere on the WWW. So what else can a guide really show us?
Well, thy can show us to have a lot of fun 🙂
How did we get to Lombok in the first place? And what is Lombok anyway?
We set off from Jakarta and spent many of those days on the bike, as I described in one of the reports “A day on the bike”.
I wouldn’t have wanted to miss that time, but after 14 days from Jakarta to Surabaya on often completely overcrowded roads, we decided to take another ferry to shorten the journey a little. We went directly to Lombok, an island to the east of Bali. I’ve mentioned before that we’re not necessarily physically exhausted, but rather mentally.
One event that really shocked us was the attack on Israel by the Islamist terrorist organization Hamas on Saturday, 7 October 2023. In my Facebook post about it, I wrote: “I’m ‚out‘ for a few days“.
A bit paralyzed, sad….. we made so many warm friends on our travels in Israel, met many wonderful young people from Palestine and now….. Here in Indonesia, on Java, we often read “free Gaza” on the walls.
What a mess
They are beating each other’s brains out everywhere: Armenia and Azerbaijan, Syria at war for over 10 years, Iran beating up its own citizens. No matter which country we have traveled through… they are people and not war machines, they want to laugh, live, eat, sleep, have a roof over their heads, a family…..”.
Of course, we can’t save the world either, but we can save ourselves. And so we explored Lombok and took time to talk. We had wonderful, simple accommodation with a small family and from there we explored the island on a scooter. We drove to waterfalls and rice fields (we skipped the markets), climbed up and down mountains, learned how to pollinate vanilla flowers and found out more about the people and the country.
And of course we also booked guides who took us to waterfalls (we wouldn’t have dared to do this scrambling without them) and learned a lot about tourism, the work of the people in the fields, their wishes and hopes for the future. They talked about their government, which leaves them alone with many things, and about their dreams. Once again, it was the young people who encouraged us that it is possible to make the world a better place.
First things first: if you really want to find the untouched places, then forget the travel guides and 15 best tips that you can find on sites like “Home is where your bag is”. These places have of course already been discovered by everyone else and are overcrowded.
Just explore for yourself, use the travel guides as a rough guideline and avoid the “secret tips”. Then you will find a fantastic Lombok. Maybe not so spectacular that you can generate massive advertising revenue if you write about it, but you will experience something.
We are always out and about very early in the morning. We’re on the scooter by sunrise at the latest. This not only guarantees the best light, but also empty roads and complete peace and quiet in the places we visit.
Unfortunately, you always have to pay for everything in Indonesia. Access to the mountain, the waterfall, the parking lot, the temple, some places and much more. Indonesians have to do the same, by the way, and no less.
Green, greener, greenest: Benang Kelambu Waterfalls
Even though many areas on the island of Lombok suffer from an extreme lack of water, there are still plenty of green areas. There, in the gorges, where the water comes further down from the mountains.
And here the question arises for me, how many shades of green can there actually be? I can’t describe it, because I only know a few names like: Light green, dark green, blue green, yellow green, mint green, lemon green, apple green, pea green, leaf green, moss green, olive green, grass green, forest green, fir green, fern green, algae green, hunter green.
Should it be banana green, mango green, vanilla green, orange green, lemon green, jungle green, rice green, sticky rice green? We go deep into these gorges to some of the waterfalls and it turns green.
And because it’s all so deep dark green, I decided to focus more on the wonderful contrasts between light and dark, or the lack of them. We scrambled and then I almost let myself be “struck” by such a waterfall. A good way to get everything out of your head.
Kantin 21 / Made in Lombok Vanilla Farm / Saifana Organic Farm
On our excursions, we always find these mega-motivated people who are investing in the future of the earth and all the young people. In the people who are supposed to pay for the destruction of past generations. Here in Indonesia, for example, it is the destruction of tropical forests for the mining of gold and silver. Others have earned it. And then there’s the waste problem. Oh man. Asking the government to do something seems hopeless for them and they don’t want any form of criticism. So they come up with something ingenious to draw attention to the problem: Pandawara
They can’t solve these problems without help from the government, but they can show that they don’t agree with it.
Made in Lombok Vanille and Coffee and Chocolate Farm:
Yes, there are so many beautiful things here, but unfortunately not only huge jackfruit fruits hang in the trees, unfortunately we don’t only walk on white sand on the beaches and unfortunately many rice fields are not nearly as green as this one.
Of course, Lombok also has a few mountains and we wanted to climb one of them, Pergasingan. Oh man, it was great and we survived without any major injuries, but we’re a bit too old for these adventures. We slid down the mountain more than we walked. Never mind.
Visiting just a very normal village and simply feeling at ease. Every now and then, I put the camera aside. For example, when kittens are looking for a bit of warmth (unfortunately their mother has died), or when I’m really amazed at all the greenery, but also see how hard the people here work and aren’t really fascinated by the “splendor”. And then again I sit around with Klaus and we chat about the “world problems”, which we naturally solve, or I try to have conversations with the people here. And sometimes, there’s nothing going on in my brain. Wonderful.
I learned why sticky rice is much more expensive than normal rice and learned to distinguish it when we see it. I saw how and why small village communities help each other with the rice harvest and I saw how huge quantities of jackfruit are cooked in order to have enough food for the festivals. And once again I experienced how nice it is to be “welcomed” so warmly as a foreigner. This will be my last post on Lombok before we move on to Bali. I don’t know what to expect. The biggest difference will certainly be the distribution of religions.
About 85% of the population on Lombok is Sasak, the rest is Balinese. The main difference is that the Sasaks are Muslim and the Balinese are Hindu (approx. 90% on Bali). So the difference will certainly be quite significant. But I suppose the rice field, the beach, the monkeys and the jungle don’t really care about that.
What a beauty
Of rice fields, banana trees, fire, cocoa fruits, onions and pineapples, of the black beach, of water, dryness, of green, red and brown and Adidas on Lombok.
By the way, since I’m mostly not on my own pictures, here some Klaus took of me.
And of course, there is so much more to see. For example the Barong dance. This one happened just in the beginning of our time in Lombok in our small village. Nice to see, since it was not for us guests, it had some very nice aspects of being an interesting ceremony.