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I received a complaint from a regular reader that I placed too many photos in the post about our visit to Prambanan. Sorry for that and I’ll use a lot less in future!
The next stage of our 5 week adventure through Malaysia and Indonesia has brought us to Senggigi Beach on Lombok island. We had wanted to stay longer in Yogyakarta but our accommodation was booked out and we were unable to extend our stay and the other places we asked were also full. We considered heading further east to visit Mount Bromo but the long journeys to get there and away made it seem unpleasant to attempt with young children. I found a cheap airfare to Lombok island and an affordable 2 bedroom apartment at a resort with a pool and beach to the north of Senggigi Beach so the pull of an island experience was too strong to resist.
We flew with Lion Air and 1 1/2 hours after we were due to depart Yogyakarta we were still waiting without an announcements then we joined the crush to board as soon as an urgent announcement was made that we should board. The flight was very comfortable and landed at the new airport in Praya. We hired a taxi from inside the airport and for a great fixed price we were whisked 100 minutes to our resort. It was Friday night and the streets of Mataram were throbbing with people going about their business and the road was clogged with scooters. Our children were delighted to see a garishly lit monument within a roundabout (the monument is decorated like a mosque) and my daughter said that she wished we were staying there instead of our resort!
The resort is very comfortable and the pool complex is incredible. The restaurants and shop are overpriced but immediately next door is a mini market that services our need for drinking water and snacks at very low prices. Our children spend as many hours as we allow them playing in the pools. Each time that we extricate them we are bombarded by complaints but sometimes we all need to eat! We have breakfast included at the resort and then we have a light snack in the mid afternoon before walking south to restaurants recommended on Trip Advisor. The first restaurant (Warung Paradiso) that we tried had mediocre food at inflated prices but we actually sat on the beach with our toes in the sand. The second (Warung Coco Beach) was excellent with fresh organic vegetables from their own garden, beautiful presentation and we were protected from the rain by a thatched roof.
Today we took a taxi north to see the coastal views and then inland and up over a mountain pass into the Monkey Forest. We saw lots of villagers trying to eke out an existence in marginal farming land and many signs of poverty. Up the mountain we saw dozens of monkeys sitting by the roadside in alert postures and grooming one another. When we stopped amongst the litter of dozens of people eventually a small troupe of monkeys joined us. The male was injured down the right side of his body and I felt sorry for him so I went against my principles of not feeding wild animals and fed him and his family a bag of cassava chips. It was interesting to watch the family dynamics and the outcast mother and baby made us sad so we tried to distract the cranky females while sneaking some food to her.
Our next stop was spontaneous and was to peruse the traditional market in a village. We tried not to gag from the stench of rotting flesh and plants as we walked between the crowded stalls selling clothes and produce. I try not to judge but the rotting refuse that is throughout the market is revolting and at one point we had to backtrack so we didn’t sink up to our ankles in murky brown, foul smelling mud. Surely it wouldn’t be too onerous to keep it clean? We made a bit of a stir wandering through the market and the kind and friendly woman that fed us soursop was perplexed as to why we would venture in there and asked what we were looking for.
We have felt ourselves slow down to island pace and it’s hard to imagine rushing anywhere again.