Day 193: Problem With The Waves … And The Airport!

Fri. 22nd February 2013

Pretty stepsHaving failed to pay for our flights to Lombok last night the first thing we do is explain our tale of woe to the lady on reception at our hotel. She kindly offers to book a fast boat even though we have told her they are not running. All smiles. she comes off the phone and says “there is a problem with the waves”, just like we tried to say but much better put! No worries she has a friend in the ticket office of Lion Air so soon has us booked on the plane and we have printed confirmation of flights to Mataram, Lombok. We found this in our book and soon have a hotel reservation at Senggigi close by to Mataram.

Road when briefly traffic freeHappy, we head out for a walk away from town and into the village of Penestanan, a famous place for artists to chill and so we pass a number of galleries but know we cannot buy any pictures (no room in the backpacks!).

Tranquil view over paddy fieldsThe road is busy so we head down a passageway signposted to a hotel with views over paddy fields. That was much more pleasant but we still had to mind out for motorcycles. We had seen a coffee shop on our way so headed back for a sit down with a drink and cake but, just as we finished ordering, the power went off so no hot water for coffee or blender for a fruit juice. The whole street above our hotel was out of power for the rest of the morning at least.

Well deserved dipAs the sun is now out and hot, at last I venture into the pool while Dave has a cup of instant coffee in the room from my well-travelled jar of Nescafé. In this heat my costume dries in half an hour and is ready to be packed.

Petrol not vodkaDo not worry, we have not resorted to drinking illicit vodka, this is petrol for the scooters. The power is still out in the coffee shop so no chocolate cake today but luckily there is a place close where the power is on. The food was good but service slow so when we get back bang on 1:30pm to find our taxi waiting for us. The traffic is as bad and chaotic as ever with the taxi trying to overtake motorcycles on the narrow lanes between the rows of stalls and houses all selling something. I am surprised we have not seen more accidents as they all drive so close and motorcycles try to squeeze through the smallest of spaces, although few will be fatal as the traffic moves so slowly. We did see three motorcycles collide sending their drivers and passengers sliding across the road, luckily no-one was hurt and they soon remounted and drove on.

Always making the most of every minuteWe finally arrive at the airport, taking over an hour to drive the 35km, and it is quite a long walk to the temporary domestic terminal with its small waiting areas at each gate. Sadly there are three flights due to leave gate 17before ours. We had done our research and were happy with the safety record of Lion Air but unfortunately our flight was contracted out to Wings Air which we knew nothing about. I was not comforted by finding a invocation card, with prayers covering multiple religions and languages, in my seat pocket!

Really??Still at least the weather was good and no rain, so that made me feel a bit better that the flying conditions were good, even if the sea did have the wrong waves. I had a window seat and we were flying low enough for me to see the land and sea we were flying over. I was a bit perturbed when we seemed to fly right across Lombok to the sea the other side on the east, when I thought we were landing near the west coast. We circled and landed somewhere in the centre of the island which confused me. Whilst waiting for our luggage, I re-read Lonely Planet and found that in 2010 when it was written there was talk of a new airport and that was where we were, an hour away from where I expected us to be – oops. Good job it is a small island and taxis are cheap.

The runway just fitsWe got to our hotel around 7pm, a good hour later than anticipated but again we had made a good choice of a place to stay. Opposite the Sheraton, so not the shabby part of town. Soon we were sat out by their pool, drinking beer and waiting for supper. Life is good, after a day full of surprises, mostly making it up as we went along. We did not expect our trip to be all plain sailing and no doubt some of these unexpected detours will be among our best memories. We still have the next leg of our journey to Gili Trawangan to come tomorrow – lets hope the waves are over their problem by then!.

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2 Responses to Day 193: Problem With The Waves … And The Airport!

  1. Sara Mayes (Churchman) says:

    Hi, remember me? Bev Grove emailed me the other day and suggested I find your blog. Took me a while as I kept finding stuff about The Hobbit (understand why you called it this now) and I didn’t know your married name. But, found it, read it all and great reading it is. What an adventure! Have it bookmarked now so I shall keep on reading it. Have you also taken early retirement enabling you to do this or just jumped ship for a while? We ‘retired’ a few years ago and now live down in the Languedoc, lots of wine and golf!

    Regards Sara

    • Janet says:

      Wow Sara. It is great to hear from you and it must have taken ages to read as we have written loads! We want to make sure there is a record of our once in a lifetime trip and so is self indulgent at times but also keep family and friends up to speed on our whereabouts. We are just taking a year out so it will be back to work on our return. We are quite envious of your early retirement with golf and wine in Languedoc (you may have spotted our weakness for them). We must try and meet up once I am back in the UK, with all the girls.

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