Off To The Seaside

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May 13th 2006
Published: May 17th 2006
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Today was a day for celebration. The festivities were already in full swing when I came down for Breakfast. The entire family was dressed in their best and were busy praying and organising offerings - and generally having fun. A feast had been prepared, and as honoured guest (by virtue of being the only guest staying...) I was invited to try it all. It was a nice 'n spicy affair - lots of meaty curries. What was a bit different though was a coconut and palm sugar cone, and rice cakes topped with a sour fermented rice. Walking around the streets most shops were closed, and the streets were so piled high with offerings that it became hard to walk along them!

In the afternoon I grabbed a Bemo to Batabulan, and was then literally forced into the connecting Bemo - the driver came and grabbed my bag without even asking me. I ran after him to try and get it back, but he was a big guy and having none of it. He also wouldnt answer my question as to "how much is it going to cost" which he seemed to think was a pretty irrelevant issue. I decided to go with the flow, and jumped into the mini bus. Or should I say Microbus. Normally the maximum seating would probably have been enough for about 9, but there were at least 20 people squeezed in with huge bags, strimmers, a stepladder and other assorted cumbersome luggage. I looked out of the window for most of the journey. This was for two reasons. 1. It was really beautiful and varied - mountains, rivers, canyons, waterfalls, rice paddies and the sea. 2. I thought the woman next to me was going to throw up, and I wanted to escape.

Eventually after much twisting, turning (and praying from me) we arrived in Padang Bai. Its a strange little town stuck somewhere between resort and industrial port. It is the leaving point for the Lombok ferry and as such attracts a large amount of industrial traffic, and a few tourists along with it. The beach is backed by restaurants and dive shops, and on its soft sands lay traditional balineses outriggers alongside modern motorboats. It was however deserted.

I stayed in a 'homestay' which was actually fairly full, although all of the other guests were Indonesian. It was very basic, but cheap and had everything I needed.

I grabbed dinner in a local looking placing by the more industrial side of town, and amongst the normal dishes I found something very offaly. It looked like brain, and had the texture of an egg. It tasted meaty but mild. I have no idea what part of the animal it actually was... but if it was brain - it was very good!

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