A tan for New Year's
Lombok Travel Blog› entry 3 of 3 › view all entries
BFF conveniently met up with me at the port the next day with her new found friend after they did some chores at Mataram. She had gone a week ahead due to a longer holiday privilege and was already brimming with stories of the latest happenings. I rejoined them on their boat back to the Gilis which was where I was going to last off the rest of my one week vacation.
I remembered from a TV show, there are only two ways to get to know a person:
to live with them, or travel with them. This was no exception. I saw the
vulnerable and emotional side of BFF that I can’t say I initially liked, but I
eventually understood and accepted. After all, that’s what friends are for
right? She and her friend were both ‘bules’ or ‘white skinned expats’ which
made them very endearing to the locals.
I had a full four days on the Gilis, and it was the first time I was on an island that long with no particular planned activity and tons of idle time to spare. The only thing clear cut was that we had to eat at least three times a day, have a bit of exercise and sun, and go snorkel.
We couldn’t very well fill our days with snorkeling over and over and I finally experienced what every other traveler who spends days on an island does, just laze around in the sun. The hardest decisions were actually trying to find something to do.
Alternating between reading a newly bought career changing book, drinking coffee, getting a tan on the wooden benches facing the beach, and chatting with BFF and her new British bud and her adorably cute son, I felt like a queen.
routine: breakfast of cheese and tomato waffle with fruit and coffee at the
beachfront; if I was able to summon enough energy I would grab my book and read
or have one of the endless lovelife talks with the girls; have ‘nasi bungkus’
from the village which was packed lunch with meat/fish/chicken, veggies with
rice at midday; walk around the five kilometer island in the afternoon; and dress
up a little bit more to have dinner and drinks with the girls.
Initially, I also felt out of place as the two went on about guys on the island that I had no close links to, but by the second day things changed as they both started to include me more in the talks and considered asking for my non biased view of things a few times.
I didn’t really fancy the late night outs as hanging around drunk locals till dawn was not my style and was glad that BFF did not push me either. Half the time I ended up being a party pooper and hitting the sack ahead of everyone else.
the two were experienced divers, I felt very inadequate with my one time
introductory dive course of long ago, yet wouldn’t pass up the chance to go
snorkeling in the beautiful waters of
I was fortunate that BFF’s friend was able to talk the diving company into lending me one of the diving life jackets with the attached meter devoid of the oxygen tank. I shook off embarrassment for safety. You see, I never go into deep waters if I have no item that will help keep me alive or floating, if my hands and feet ever stopped moving, it’s psychological.
The diving life jacket though was definitely more inconvenient with the heavy meter attached to it compared to the lightweight life jacket I was used to, that was more like an attached Styrofoam. Hence, once I pulled my head up out of the water whenever I needed to clear my goggles when they fogged up, I would struggle to remain floating upright as I would feel the tug to float on my back instead.
the boatman’s guidance, I only lasted in the water less than an hour. I stopped
snorkeling when he went back up the boat as the sea waves were just dragging me
scaringly too far out.
My post birthday treat from BFF was a lovely batik sarong and a half hour massage which I topped up to make it an hour. The massage was also different with a more of an acupuncture style from an old man of the village. He made me feel a bit self conscious as I preferred a woman masseuse but was highly effective in getting out all the kinks that had been there for ages.
Since I had maintained an active lifestyle since October I made it a point to bring my running shoes as BFF reassured that she was able to maintain her daily running regimen on the island.
that the sand was compact enough after doing a test walk the day before, I
expired after only running a third of the island and resorted to walking
humiliatingly around the villages. With most of the viewers shouting ‘ayo lari’
meaning ‘go run’ at me as I walked around in my running ensemble, I was ready
to throw a fit.
New Year’s Eve was spent with BFF, her new BFF, a guy friend and his friends from Jakarta, dancing on the beach over a couple of drinks, around a bonfire with several locals and tourists, and watching the fireworks during the midnight countdown. I couldn’t have asked for more.
And on my last day I finally grudgingly took to the task of working on the marketing plans my boss needed revisions on but I left the island with high spirits, knowing a different side of BFF both vulnerable and wise, gaining more self confidence in dealing with people of different cultures in different kinds of environment, and being more firm of what I only felt like doing.
whole trip was a satisfyingly different kind of holiday that I always wanted to
experience and being my first time almost without old friends and family, I did
not feel homesick one bit.
came back rejuvenated and ready once again to face the hustle bustle of