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Published: November 10th 2011
One of the many fine beaches at Kuta, Lombok
Remarkably, the grains of sand were, to the human eye, spherical.
From Flores we made our way back westward, over six days, through Sumbawa and Lombok, to Bali, for our flight to Darwin, Australia.
The most notable aspect of our short time in Sumbawa was Ben riding on the roof of a mini-bus for two hours, with about 15 locals, none of whom seemed to speak any English. Sadly, no photos are available. Only the mental scars.
After an arduous 27 hour journey that took in two ferries, the aforementioned minibus, a comfortable coach and a bemo (a mini-mini bus - often found providing transport to the Indonesian public), we arrived in the chilled out coastal village of Kuta, Lombok.
Some of you will know Kuta, Bali. The Lombok namesake could not be much more different. It is wonderfully traffic and trouble free. Whether this will change with this month's opening of the nearby new international airport, time will tell. We wanted to see Kuta 2011, just in case.
Our appetite for beaches sated, and with the prospect of Australian heat to come, we took the ferry back in Bali and headed to the hills of mountainside Munduk, towards the north of the island.
We had Balinese
massages, which for Ben seemed to involve the infliction of mild pain on all parts of the body, one by one. Mina found the hour long experience more relaxing and therapeutic.
Nuwan, a quiet, knowledgeable thirty-something local man, with a large smiley face, guided us through a maze of rice fields and forests, past coffee, cocoa, clove, banana, mango and vanilla crops, around isolated houses, to a series of waterfalls. They roared continuously, despite the wet season having not yet begun.
Nuwan and his extended family work the fertile, but onerous local land, which was owned by someone else, with whom they shared the profits. As with many Indonesians, the Munduk locals were keen to develop other talents that they could put to profitable effect with visitors such as us, with Balinese cookery, craft and music courses offered alongside the walks and massages.
Despite these attractive distractions, Munduk felt pleasingly untouristed, clean, relaxing and welcoming.
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