Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Kuta Beach, Lombok

Today we went on the Traditional Sasak Tour, billed as 'a chance for mingling with the local Sasak people' of Lombok. We chose the itinerary because it mentioned Kuta beach, a really beautiful piece of unspoilt coastline on the south of the island. It's famous for surfing and huge waves can be seen crashing on the horizon.

On the way to the beach we visited three opportunities to meet with local people. The first was the pottery village of Banyumulek. Here we got to see how the pottery was made and have a go at making our own creations. The huge warehouse of goods was tempting although the shipping costs boosted the price of each item by ten fold.

At the second stop - the weaving village of Sukarara - we were met by a man called Billy. He showed us round the village with sights including a disabled women and a very elderly lady struggling to weave the traditional fabric one thread at a time. After passing preparations for a funeral, we then arrived at the shop. The hard sell began and we were luck to escape only 100,000 rupees lighter. As Billy's profit margins evaporated and the experience soured, we made a sharp exit.

Our final stop before the beach was the traditional village of Sade. Some of the house here are really old and beautiful. It was also a great chance for the villagers to meet us and try and sell us necklaces and sarongs. Another uncomfortable cultural experience.

Whilst our drivers - Dean and Adam - were very pleasant, we ended up feeling like walking wallets being pushed through a serious of hard sell destinations. A valuable lesson!

Travelling in Indonesia is at times a bit hard for a woman, as men often ignore women completely. Take today for example. While Jen was present, scammer Billy commented to Andy on Jen's looks without acknowledging her presence. Needless to say, this made Jen feel like a commodity. On another occasion, Jen asked a tour organiser for a snack. He said nothing and staring into space. When Andy asked for it instead, he got it immediately. Jen was also ignored by a village leader, when a group of local men started having a chat with Andy over a beer. Jen tried to take part in the conversation, but was blanked by the whole party.

Tomorrow (9th July 2008) we head off on the Perama tour to Komodo Island and arrive in Flores on 11th July. We'll try to post sometime after the 11th (internet permitting) but it could be a while. Hope you're all well and thanks again for the emails and comments.


Anonymous said...

Come on you two, I need my Jenni and Andy travel fix. You're getting a bit sloppy.


Anonymous said...

... Don't we all! Probably no internet connection where they are.

Mum & Dad