Lombok: Some people have, some people just are.

Clipboard01I wake up, stare at the sun for a few moments, watching him appear from behind Rinjani, have a sip of coffee, say good by to the island and friends and hop on the boat towards east. Suddenly a thought hits me: man you are a total hippie, 4 days ago you left the bike at Berry’s house, for how long do you know him? hmmm I just met him the night before leaving to Gili, don’t know to much about him and I am not sure that I know how to reach his house also. I have his phone number but that doesn’t help me to much. Everybody in Java advised me to take care in Lombok, because of the thieves and what did I do? I ignored everything. Ok, I’ll text him that I am coming… no reply, try not to freak out, will see when I get there.

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On the boat, Gili Meno to Bangsal.

Once I put my foot on the beach a group of 10-15 people surrounded me, trying to sell trips to Rinjani. Please guys give me space I try to find Berry, but I can’t see him. I text him again and after 5 min Berry appears with a big smile on his face. He insist in buying me breakfast and have a small chat before I leave, I fell really bad because half an hour ago I doubted him.

– Where are you going next?

– Man I don’t really know, I heard there is a waterfall somewhere near and an old mosque in the mountains (Mosque Kuno Bayan Beleq the first mosque in Lombok dating from 1700’s), I want to find them.

– Yeah the waterfall is north from here, at the 3rd intersection you go east…..

He doesn’t know that westerns in general we have no clue were is north or east, without a compass :)) anyway I forgot everything 1 minute after.

Finally after 4 days I got reunited with my motor but something doesn’t feel ok, a quick eye inspection reveals that the clutch cable needs to be changed. I stop in a service on the side of the road, in Indonesia every 500 m there is one so you don’t need to stress, the only problem is that is very hard to find a good mechanic. Change the cable, change the oil and other small fixes, 3 dolars and 30 minute later I am on the road again. The road is amazing, on the right the slopes of mount Rinjani full of vegetation and on the left is the sea, just 20m from the road. I put in my mind not to stop very often for photos but some views are just amazing.

Around 3:00 in the afternoon I reach Bayan village, looking on google maps I calculate that my average speed was around 20km/h. I visit the old mosque, nothing special with the building but the surroundings are spectacular, so 1 hour of wandering around the rice fields sounds good.

Almost 5:00, time to wake up from the dream and find a place to sleep tonight. On the road coming here I saw a sign for the sacred forest, sounds like a good place to sleep. I ask for some info, it seems that I need to drive another 5-7 km. The fun with this old Honda is that it doesn’t have a speedometer, so I don’t know how far or how fast I go, I just drive how I feel like. In 10-15 minutes I reach a village, I ask around for the sacred forest but nobody knows what I talk about. Ok, hmmm some clouds appear on the sky, maybe tonight will rain, I need a shelter, maybe even a shower, because in the last 4 days I washed myself only in the ocean. Berry told me something about a resort in this area, I ask some locals and I find it pretty quick, but the owner, a german guy, greets my with this words: “Sorry we are full.” I look at him for 10 seconds and I leave, FY, I don’t want to put more money in your pockets anyway, fucking western. For the first time in Indonesia I feel that I want to punch somebody, and funny it isn’t an indonesian it is an european “neighbor”, you know more educated than the average indonesian and more cold hearted. On the way back to my motor an indonesian guy approaches me.

-If you want you can sleep in my house, is not luxury but you have a roof. Shower is outside and no hot water.

Meet Ramones, my new brother from Lombok, who doesn’t care that I travel only with a backpack or that I have dreads. What can I say? Makasih mas(thank you man).

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Eating with Ramoen.

I have time only for a short shower, we need to go at some friends house to eat with them. These people don’t have almost nothing in their houses but they are so happy to have me there, that they put out on the floor all the best things that they have. I am introduce to the famous Lombok coffe (they are picking the coffe beans from the forest, roast and grind them manually in the house), one of the best so far.

5:10 am, I wake up before the sunrise, I go for a walk around the village to see how it wakes up.

7 am, I am on the terracce with Ramoen enjoying a Lombok coffe. He calls the german guy and tells him that he has some business to take care today so he can’t go to work and offers to be my guide to see the rice fields, the sacred forest and the waterfall.

We came back  home super exhausted , almost 8 hours trip through the jungle. He forgot to tell me one think that there is no path through the jungle, but I saw what I wanted and even more so it worthed it, every second, every drop of sweat and blood. Before anything else we enjoy another Lombok coffee and then some rice, salty fish with egg and some vegetables.

Tonight we go for a beer on the terrace of the german guy resort. He makes some calls and after the owner goes to sleep we go to enjoy the view. I am to tired so after 1 hour we came back home to sleep. I am surprise to find all the family (brother, parents, kid, wife) around the TV. They are watching Ramayana an indian soap opera that seems to be very popular in Indonesia. The interesting part for me is to observe the family watching the soap opera. His father is smoking a cretek cigar, his son is trying to eat some cassava, his brother is sipping a coconut and his mother is chewing some betel nut (small doses can lead to stimulant and euphoric effects). Goodnight family, tomorrow I want to leave early morning, if I wake up.

I wake up, 8 am, so much with my plan of leaving early. Another Lombok coffee on the terrace, a small breakfast (rice with some vegetables), pack my things, the last photos with the family and I am ready to go, wait Ramones has a gift for me, one big bag of Lombok coffee, to have on the road. Thanks Ramones for showing me all this beauty, not only the beauty of the nature but also the human one.

Don’t forget this journey is about me and my passion for photography. I want to connect with the people that I meet on the road, local people or other travelers, photograph them, capture the essence of their beings, the essence of their lives. And in the end if is possible I would like to publish a photobook that hopefully will have the power to inspire the wanderer that resides in all of us. To order the photobook, or prints  visit this page https://lostineast.wordpress.com/goodies/

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