Monday, September 19, 2011

Boat trip part 1

Rested and recharged from my relaxing 6 days on Gili Trawang I headed back to mainland Lombok to join my 4 day boat trip to Flores. Unfortunately my trip got canceled from lack of participants, which they managed to tell me after I waited for 3 hours for the van to "arrive". The travel agency agreed to pay for my accommodation for the two nights I was stuck in Senggigi, waiting for another tour that was leaving on Monday, two days later.
 My days in Senggigi were highly uneventful, unless of course you count the innumerable amount of times I got asked if I wanted a motorbike, taxi, or to eat at some restaurant I happened to be walking past. This got old, quickly. I passed a guy selling fruit at least 5 times a day, each time he would ask and wait around to see if I wanted fruit or would change my mind. One time he had literally been by 20 minutes ago and he STILL asked me and hung out for a few moments, looking at me eagerly to buy some overripe and overpriced bananas. I wanted to make a t-shirt that said no, I don't want whatever it is you're selling!
Oh, and then there was the hotel they put me in! The first night my overhead light stopped working. Ok, no big deal there are bedside lamps and I use my head torch anyway for extra light to read. The next morning I find ants all over my pack. ?!?! (please insert necessary swearing here) I de-anted my pack and headed out to take on the touts in my search for breakfast. I return later to find that the toilet has sprung a leak and is spraying water all over the bathroom! At this point I literally haven't seen anyone at the hotel, from guests to staff since my arrival yesterday afternoon. This theme continued because try as I might I couldn't find another living soul, unless you count the chickens. Not sure what to do I left and went to the travel agency to find my buddy Joe. Joe and I got to be chummy the day before during my wait, he was very interested in my kindle, and we chatted up a storm of broken English-Indonesian and sing language.  My hero, Joe, came and fixed the toilet for me. I return hours later and find the toilet broken, AGAIN. Shockingly I actually found the owner this time! Who not only fixed the toilet (apparently the rubber band holding the water pipe to the toilet had snapped and simply needed to be replaced, why didn't I think of that?) but showed me the precise way the overhead light switch had to be pressed in order for the lights to work. Well, aren't I an idiot?
Monday comes and I join my tour. Now, prior to signing up I had heard that there could be some dodgy boat operators, so I asked plenty of questions beforehand. Normal stuff, like, do you have lifejackets? One for each person? Is there a life raft on board? Satisfied with adequate answers I signed up for a 4day/night boat journey from Lombok to Flores with stops to see the Komodo dragons. The boat was simple with a basic deck partially shaded where we took our meals souk-style on a blanket and generally hung out. The sleeping portion was above the extremely loud engine where everyone claimed a thin mattress and blanket. There was no shower, but a western toilet, so I was fairly happy. In total we had 13 passengers and 4 crew members. Our "guide" and cook in the morning would wake us at 630 am with a loud "MORNING COFFEE TEA MORNING COFFEE TEA MORRRRRNNNIIIINNNGGGG". Ok dude, we get it, we're up. Only to be granted with the most stunning scenery to view. The blue blue waters and various landscaped islands. Indonesian island topography is actually quite varied. It's not all jungles and sand. Some islands are quite arid and dry, in particular Komodo and Rinca island, home of the famed Komodo dragons.
The major hiccup on this journey? You're just going to have to wait for part 2!  

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