Day 203: Back To School

Mon. 4th March 2013

Lesson in progressWe were undecided what to do today. Whether to take a trip somewhere or just go for a walk. In the end we settled for a walk along the road out of town to the west. This involved walking up the hill to see views back over the coast so we set out early, well early for us at about 9:30am to try and miss the heat of the day.

Guess what - it is Monday todayThere is a restaurant almost at the top which would have made a good coffee stop but it was closed on Mondays, typical timing on our part. The views back over the bay were well worth the walk and the countryside is mainly unspoilt.

Just a chilled out place to beThere is some building work going on and the Lonely Planet Guide talks about how the land is being bought up for new luxury hotels to be built here, especially now the new airport has opened and is only 30 minutes away. The bays are relatively small and I personally think it would be a shame if Kuta, Lombok became a Kuta, Bali sized resort or even a Senggigi. The restaurants would need to smarten up for the western tourist, and those bargain meals and fruit juices for £1 each would increase in price, I am sure.

Quite undeveloped placeWe headed passed the closed restaurant and kept on going up and even though it was only mid-morning it was still very hot. We were dripping with sweat by the time we reached the top. We stopped for a drink of water and to catch our breath finding ourselves next to a school, where the children were all outside for morning break.

Friendly teacherAs we stood we were approached by one of the teachers who asked if we would like to see around the school. As we entered the school we were surrounded by children asking our names and giggling as they joked in their own language. The teacher took us  into what we assume is the staff room where other teachers were busy working. He showed us a big text book they were using to teach the children history. It was about the History of Indonesia from 1965 , after we were born! It was written in English and (Bahasa) Indonesian so we discussed the languages spoken in Indonesia. The teacher had been involved in the tourist industry and told us he spoke Sasak, Balinese  and Indonesian and a little English – he was actually quite fluent in the latter. The children will speak the local language (ie Balinese) at home, so in school they learn Indonesian and English. We were also shown a maths book written in English as a number of subjects are combined and each teacher is responsible for teaching all subjects.

Dramatic coast lineIt has amazed me just how much English is spoken in the world especially amongst tourists abroad where English is often the common language for say Germans, Dutch and Belgiums to converse in. It does put us Brits to shame, we did begin to learn Spanish for our trip but were nowhere near as fluent as our European counterparts were in English.

Teachers boltholeWe chatted with the teachers over a cup of Lombok coffee (sweet and black) about laptops, as how they are only used for administration in the school and only a few households have computers. Soon lessons started again and after saying goodbye to the teachers and schoolkids we made our exit. That visit was a surprise we were not expecting. We returned down the hill still buzzing from the experience, we would loved to have stayed longer and helped with their English but felt we had intruded long enough.

Inviting poolIt was so hot that the first stop was to jump in the swimming pool to cool off. The sun loungers and parasols had seen better days and no pool towels but no matter, it was a very welcome dip.

With the sun out and the heat draining we treated ourselves to a lazy afternoon as we expect the next few days back in Bali may be busy.

The sun sets between 6pm and 7pm so we headed into town just before dark and found a Mediterranean restaurant for dinner. There were two other tables occupied, busy by Kuta standards. All the other restaurants were completely empty – some with no staff either, unless we stopped to read the menu and they appeared from nowhere.

When it rains...There was a spectacular lightening show over dinner with one loud clap of thunder, so we rapidly paid the bill and left on our 15 minute walk back to our hotel. When we were still 5 minutes from the hotel the rain drops started, a few at first but after a minute it poured and we got soaked. Perhaps our lesson for today was that in the rainy season remember to take a raincoat even if the sun has been shining all day.


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