Day 5: Lombok
What's the best way to see the beautiful countryside and the Indonesian way of life? Running. I headed out this morning along the roads around our hotel, well away from the busy central Ubud. I ran up and over small hills lined with rice fields, waved to children walking to school, and was stared at by the Balinese people at the busy street markets (probably thinking I was a complete idiot). Most locals were friendly and encouraging - even the dogs came over to say hello.
After checking out of our little piece of paradise we took the shuttle bus into Ubud, ready to make the trip back over to Lombok. While waiting for the bus we wandered through the food market, a small, dirty courtyard that I was sure was not on many tourists' to-do list. We did buy a couple of tasty coconut and sticky rice treats, hoping our stomachs wouldn't regret that decision later.
The bus to the ferry terminal was hot and crowded, so being on an open boat was a welcome relief. To our amazement we didn't break down once on the trip back over. On the downside we had to detour past the Gili Islands, so the journey lasted just as long as the first one.
Once we finally landed on Lombok we caught a taxi up to our accommodation in Mangsit. Danny was in charge of all room reservations and yet again he had outdone himself. This time we were staying in a real resort right on the beach, like what you see in brochures for rich people. The lobby alone had me floored, but then the property kept getting better and better. We stayed in a stand alone bungalow, facing the water, with one of the biggest bathrooms I had ever seen. The highlight, though, was a pool with a swim up bar. I had never been swimming in a pool with a bar before. It was going to be tough to drag me away from this place in a few days time.
Yeah, I guess the pool was okay.
The rest of the day was a rotation through the beach, the pool (i.e. the bar), eating and watching the sunset across the water. Dinner at the resort restaurant was fantastic, demolishing tofu, dumplings and pumpkin pudding. I wasn't sure about the barman though - who makes a margarita without lime? Still, not much was going to ruin our night with all the other advantages this place had going for it.
I could see why people pay more for places like this, living temporarily inside a bubble where you could forget about life for a while. It does create a barrier between you and the country you're visiting though, which seems counterintuitive. I guess it was nice that we could experience a little of both worlds.