Published: August 4th 2012August 4th 2012
The main reason for our stop in Senggigi was to be close to Mataram but still also be close to a beach. Our visas were going to expire after 30 days so we needed to extend them in Mataram.
Senggigi turned out to be a pretty great place (despite the unfortunate first impressions)! It's set in a nice bay away from the big waves with a view of Bali. The sun would set right over Bali just behind Gunung Agung (the largest volcano on Bali). We spent most evenings taking in the sunset on the beach :)
The only downfall was that we had three days in Senggigi and two of them were spent going to Mataram. Getting to the immigration office was the easy part, we just chartered a bemo for a couple of bucks and got transportation directly to where we needed to be. Extending the visa was just as easy! We showed up on the one day (no I have no idea what day it was, it felt like a Saturday though), filled out some forms, provided copies of our passports, departure card, visa that expired in about a week and were told to
come back the following day after 2pm. We showed up the next day, paid rp400,000 (about $40CDN) and we were on our way. Now we get to stay in Indonesia until September 3rd
Getting back to Senggigi from Mataram was interesting both times; because we like to make things interesting. Why pay $6 for a taksi (that's how they spell it) when you can get around by public transportation for half that!? The first time, we ended up walking a few kilometres before finding a bemo and the 2nd
day we accidentally got taken to a different town. Our bemo driver that day knew way too much english for us to hassle a cheaper price so we ended up paying more than we wanted, but still made it home safe nonetheless.
On the topic of transportation in Indonesia: we have a huge beef! (Not actually, but kind of)
As soon as they see that you aren't a local, the price multiplies by 2 – 10 times. We can even argue that we know locals only pay about rp5,000 (about $0.50CDN) for the drive, but the driver will blatantly tell you that you are a tourist so you
must pay more. They see backpacks and dollar signs appear in the whites of their eyes. But, around here, it's how a lot of people make a living so we can't be too bothered by it. We simply try to barter down to as cheap as we can.
The “walk away” is a great tactic whenever bartering, especially when there are so many people offering the same service. We have also started a good cop bad cop routine without even meaning to. Tyler is the nice guy good cop, and Rebecca ends up being the mean bad cop. Ty walks up with his friendly smile, gets chummy with the person and Rebecca is the one saying “that's too expensive, we will see what the next person charges” etc. Then insert the “walk away” and we're golden! Usually...
So with our freshly extended visas in hand we wanted to book our flight to Sumatra. Unfortunately there are no direct flights from Lombok to Medan, but we were able to find a decent price with a short stopover in Jakarta.
Anyway, Senggigi was a really nice place to stay for a few nights but now we are on another
island. Yay! Just off the northwest coast of Lombok there are three beaufitul islands known as the Gili Islands. We are staying on Gili Trawangan or Gili T for short. Again, the beaches are right out of a postcard. I think we have really found backpacker paradise this time! They have everything you could need here so we are going to take it all in for a full week before moving on.
We only have one more beach left on this part of the trip. From here we will go to Kuta (Lombok) then up to Sumatra and on to China, whose coasts we will not see. Needless to say, you may not hear much from us over the next 10 days, we will be laying on the beach or riding around the island on push bikes or snorkelling or eating fresh caught meals or fresh pineapple or skipping down the main strip... whatever we feel like pretty much!
Lots of love and hugs to our friends and family as usual! Wish you were here so you could live in this postcard with us.