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Published: December 21st 2012
Tuesday morning I went surfing the first morning with a group from the homestay (Miles, Dan, Rafael, Tom and me) at Gerupak Bay. A 7km drive from Kuta but one that is over pretty poorly kept roads, where it is safer and easier and more comfortable to drive on the soft gravel shoulder than on the road itself. Got to the bay and rented a boat (an outrigger canoe) to take out to the surf break. We ended up at "Insides," one of the five breaks in the bay. I had never surfed off a boat before and it was a really cool experience. It gave a whole new perspective on the motion of the wave itself and the paddle out was so much easier! The break was pretty crowded but I still managed a few good waves, some long rights and a couple of much shorter lefts. We stayed out for a couple of hours and then took the boat back to the harbor. I wanted to go snorkling and then surfing in the afternoon but apparently wouldn't have enough time to do both so I just took myself up to Astari for lunch. This wasn't as easy as it sounds, the restaurant is perched up on the mountain overlooking Kuta and can only be reached by a "road" that has disintegrated to the point where the small portions of asphalt left only add to the danger. I had been prewarned about the quality of the road but was still shocked by what I saw and only pressed on out of sheer stubborness. I did make it up, but it was nerve-wracking! I got lunch and admired the insanely beautiful view. From the balcony of the restaurant you could see the bays lined up one after another, Kuta, Tanjung An, and Gerupak fading away into the distance. I finished lunch and drove straight back to the harbor to try and catch a boat ride out to the waves. I found Rafael right as he was about to go out for his second surf so we shared a boat to "Outside Rights." Outside Rights is a really fun, really weird, really shifty wave. It breaks as a bomb on the outside, so you know a wave is coming, then reforms up and is rideable on the inside. You surf right next to this massive headland that rises vertically up from the water, with a few scrubs clinging to it. I sat to the inside and caught a fair number of fun, long, rights. The waves were larger than they had been at Insides and mistakes were punished more. If you got stuck inside then you were dragged all the way down to the rocks on the inside and then had to paddle around to the side out to the channel and then all the way back to the break. There weren't that many people out besides me and Rafael, a few locals and a couple other visitors. I made friends with an American named Tyler from the LA area who I for some reason, I can't even put my finger on why, decided knew a friend of mine in LA but I wasn't sure enough to say anything. He invited me to come by and chat with him some night at one of the local restaurants before I caught my last wave in and got back on the boat to go home. I honestly have no idea how I spent my second night in Kuta, but I'm pretty sure I just got some dinner and then went back and read on my porch until it was time to go bed.
Wednesday I don't know exactly what I did with myself in the morning, or why I didn't go surfing. I know I went down to visit the market which is like 20 meters down the road from the homestay. The biggest market day is Sunday but Wednesday is the next biggest day. On offer is fresh fish, dried fish, fresh squid, fresh octopus, produce, donuts, clothing, seeds, nuts, a whole smorgasboard of things! It smells pretty bad though. I bought a couple of mangos and bananas and then just went to the convenience store next door to pick up some break and peanut butter and apples. Then I took a long walk down to the beach and was planning to walk along the length of the bay. Kuta bay is a gorgeous stretch of white coral sand and blue clear water. The beach is also relatively empty, except for a couple of locals out swimming and the occasional child vendor who comes up to you to walk alongside and ask you to buy a sarong. I didn't want a sarong and eventually was left alone. Until I tried to walk past a shelter under which three dogs were sheltering, which brought them to their feet growling, I wasn't having any of that, so I actually picked up a rocked and threatened to chuck it at them so they would back down. It worked but I felt kind of terrible for threatening an animal. I really had planned to walk the full length of the beach but it got to be really hard going. I tried walking on the wet sand, which should have been firmer but wasn't. I tried walking up away from the ocean, on the dry sand, which crumbled beneath my feet. I even tried walking IN the water, thinking at least there I would have some luck, but my leg sank into the sand almost to the knee so I had to abandon that plan. I ended up walking most of the way down the beach and then cutting up through one of the last warungs on the beach through to the main road. I kept walking but it was a lot less pleasant than walking on the beach due to the constant calls of TAXI? TRANSPORT? MOTORBIKE? MOTORBIKE? MOTORBIKE? SHOPPING? I walked to the end of town and then inland a bit, following a sign to "Kuta Horses" but not finding any at the end of the road so I just turned around and walked back down to the beach road and walked along the beach road, past the man who rented me the motorbike and so of course was like "WHERE IS YOUR MOTORBIKE?" and I finally lost my temper and yelled back "I JUST LIKE WALKING I KNOW NO ONE BELIEVES ME, BUT I ENJOY THIS." I walked past fields filled with herds of local buffalo, past the delicate little cows and calves that look just like deer and through the now-empty market stall, where a family of goats had decided to settle and finally right before I got back to the homestay, past a cage filled with tiny little chicks outside a hardware store. I made myself a sandwich for lunch and then Tom invited me to go surfing with him at a break called Segar Reef. The break is about halfway between Kuta and Gerupak but you spend the last portion of it off-roading on a scooter along this little goat track. When we got there no one was surfing the right and only a couple of locals were surfing the left. It was messy and choppy but we got in and paddled out through the channel, me following Tom, to the right. Tom caught a couple and then I started to go for some. They were hard to get into but finally, finally I paddled desperately for one, found myself stuck on a ledge in the wave and then just LAUNCHED myself over the edge, landing on my feet on the board and leaaaaaaaaning into this deep bottom turn. The speed was incredible and I was so very happy I had waxed my board up before paddling out. I dug into the turn and looked down the line and saw that the wave was going to close out so I aimed myself at the the lip and hit at full speed, sending myself FLYYYYYYYIIIIIIINNNNNGGG into the air, up and up, higher than I had ever sent myself before. When I came back down from orbit I landed a perfect 10 jack knife directly into the ocean. It was an incredible wave. Unfortunately there weren't to be any more like it. After that the ocean went pretty much flat and so Tom and I just bobbed around and chatted while we waited. When the sets finally picked back up again we were too far inside and I took a beating of an intensity to match my earlier elation at the wave I had ridden. I'm paddling for the horizon and I look up and the biggest wave of the day, this absolutely MASSIVE wave is breaking right in front of me,not on me, but there is no way I can avoid the whitewater, it's just like a meter in front of me when it breaks, and I have a mini-mal so I can't duck dive. So I take a giant breath and dive down as far as I can and the white water lands on me and pushes me sooooo far down and rocks me around and I don't realize how far down I am, until I start swimming for the surface and I'm swimming and swimming and swimming and then starting to swim faster and faster and faster and swimmingswimmingswimming and I finally break through the surface to get a sweet breath of air. Right in time for the time wave to hit me. Thank God this one just rolled right over me and barely touched me. I wasn't ready for another hold down. It rocked my worldddd. We waited to see if another set would come through for us to ride but it was shifty and frustrating and I kept being in the wrong place. If I waited wide it would break only on the very far inside, if I paddled in, then it swung wide. After a few more minutes of this and we just came in, right in time for Dan to show up wanting to surf. By then no one was in the water, but he was just learning so he went in to practice paddling and I stayed to talk to Tom and watch. Again, I can't really remember what I did that night, but I assume I had dinner somewhere and then read until I went to sleep.
The third full day in Kuta, Thursday, I think I woke up late and it was raining, actually, it was pouring, and so I just sat on the porch and read and waited for the rain to end. When it did, I wandered down to the harbor to look for someone to share a boat out with. And who should I find there, sitting at the harbor and having lunch, but Sam and Ed, the Australians from Balangan! I was like oh heyyyyyyyyyyy want to go surfing? SMALL WORLD. Anyways they did want to go surfing so we took a boat back out to Outside Rights. It was a good session, I wasn't as willing to sit to the inside this time because it was a lot more crowded than it had been the first time but I sat to the shoulder and just rode the waves that swung wide, which they did every so often. Sometimes they swung a little too wide and I got caught out. At one point a large set came through and I was surrounded by people so I couldn't throw my board so I turtled right as this wave broke in front of me and it picked me up and hurled me the length of the break. I was never underwater so much as I was IN the whitewater and being pushed along by it. By the time it let me go I was a good 50 meters from where I had started. The only annoying thing was that at the end of the session the boat driver wanted to go back so he kept trying to call me into the boat and I was not having it. I will not be whistled back into the boat by someone I PAID to take me out surfing. It's not a time limited thing. I just paid you an agreed sum to take me for as long as I want to go and that is the deal. After a few hours we did go back in and then the boys and I talked about taking a boat out to Egkas the next day, which is about an hour boat ride from Gerupak. That night got dinner and then ran into Tyler at the Blue Spot where we shared a beer and I invited him to come with us to Egkas but he wasn't 100% sure he wanted to come and I wasn't 100% sure there was space. I got a facebook message from the boys that the trip was on and I should meet them at the harbor in the morning. That night I got back to the homestay and they were cooking up some of the most delicious BBQ fish I had ever smelled. I joined them for dinner round 2 and that was how I spent my Thanskgiving. With two Americans and a Canadian, eating fish and rice with our bare (right) hands.
My fourth day in Kuta I rocked up to the harbor only to find out that Sam had food poisoning so he was out of the trip. Ed and I decided to go anyway. I got breakfast at the harbor and then we set out for Egkas on a tiny little outrigger canoe. The wind was calm and waves were glassy as we sped along. It took about the full hour for us to get to Egkas. For the first 40 minutes or so we hugged the coast so I spent the time taking pictures of and admiring the rugged beauty of the jagged coastline and watching the water pound against it. Then we were out onto more open ocean as we crossed the entrance to the bay where Egkas is located. Egkas, like outside Rights is at the base of a headland, but it is the craziest set up for a wave I've ever seen. The wave breaks parallel to the headline, right off of it actually. Then it turns 90 degrees and wraps in to the side of the headland where it breaks perpendicular to the headland and if it is working, it breaks once more right at the headland you can ride it there. But it wraps it at such an angle that you have to sit really really deep to the right to take off on it and ride it left. Which means you are also at it's mercy if a big set comes through because there is no way to get out of its way. I looked at it, and paddled out, and looked at it some more. It was just the two of us, one local who had hitched a ride with us (AT OUR EXPENSE) and then one boat showed up with a kneeboarder and his guide. The guides went in and rode the inside for a bit. The kneeboarder rode for maybe half an hour and then left. So it was just me and Ed in the water. And I wasn't willing to get in deep enough. I sat out on the shoulder and occasionally went for a wave but it was too fat and I couldn't get into it. I had heard all these horror stories about the crazy long intense hold downs at Outside Egkas and I wasn't up for it after the hold down at Segar. I was psyched out. But I could stay and watch the waves break through there happily and so that is what I did. I chilled out on my board, sometimes scrambling to get out of the way when the massive sets rolled through, and counted myself lucky that I never got hit by one. After a couple of hours we took the boat over to Inside Egkas but the swell was too small so it wasn't breaking even a little bit. We motored back over to Outside Egkas and this time I put in a good faith effort to sit deep and catch a couple of waves but couldn't make it happen. The first I was too far back on my board, the second I was too deep and felt myself going over the falls so I pulled off and back. After that I just gave up and took up sunning myself on the board while Ed went for it again and again. The tide was dropping though, so at a certain point it got too dangerous to surf there and we headed back to Gerupak so I could catch some waves. The ride back was GNARLY. The wind had picked up and so had the swell. The boat was rocking and rolling on the waves. Thankfully I don't get sea sick but I do get worried the boat is going to capsize since we were clearly undergunned for what we were facing. Ed and I were in the front of the boat making plans for who was going to swim where when the boat went down and who was going for help. But the local boat driver pulled it through and we made it back safely to Gerupak. We took a look at Outside Rights but it was too low tide to work so we went to insides. Once again ran into Tyler who I confimed DID know my friend in LA who I've been staying with. Small world again. Even smaller world, I met another American girl who was from Rhode Island, which is where Zach from Surfer's Dorms in Canggu is from. I insisted that they must know each other because there can only be like 10 people that surf in Rhode Island and it turns out I was right! I had a pretty good session, got some waves, but found it quite frustrating as the locals refuse to follow any of the etiquette rules and then every one else decides they shouldn't bother either so people are just dropping in on you repeatedly and hustling and hassling and it's an atmosphere that really just brings out the worst in me. This may also have been the day, if I'm not mistaken, that a girl grabbed my leash as I was paddling towards a wave that was breaking (trying to get over it). And I was like, what are you doing!? And she goes "can you please paddle that way (towards the green unbroken part of the wave)? I said "was I in your way?" and she says no. So I'm like, why, exactly, did you grab my leash? Was I in your way? If I was, and you were also trying to paddle and couldn't get past me, I would understand" BUT OTHERWISE, you've just touched me while I was paddling, for the sole purpose of schooling me, and incorrectly on that, on which direction to paddle when a wave is breaking and you are too far in front of it. She wasn't up for the confrontation so she just muttered something like "it's not a big deal" but it kind of was to me. I don't take kindly to being told what to do. Especially by people that aren't noticeably better at surfing than I am. We surfed for a couple of hours but Ed was completely knackered at this point and we had been out in the water for hours and hours and hours. I had also gotten a little cocky and taken my rash guard off to tan while I was at Egkas and not put it back on when we came back so I had given myself a hell of a board rash and was pretty ready to go in. Tyler mentioned he would be meeting some people at a pizza place later so I invited Ed and Sam to come by and meet me there later. I got to the pizza place a bit late and Sam and Ed were already there as was Tyler with some of his friends. I had dinner with Sam and Ed and then introduced Ed to Tyler so they could talk about Outside Egkas since he was the one who had actually surfed it. They were leaving the next morning so we said our goodbyes and then I moved over to Tyler's table for a beer and to meet Flavia, a German girl who was interested in sharing a boat the next morning. We stayed for only a little bit longer and then I agreed to meet Flavia the next morning.
My fifth day in Kuta, Lombok I woke up and met Flavia at Matahari, where she was staying. We scootered over to the harbor in Gerupak, where I of course ran into Sam and Ed as they were leaving. Said my goodbyes again and then saw Jessica the American girl from the day before. I invited her to join us and she had invited a German boy named Hans so we had a full boat when we went out to Outside Rights. We were pretty much the only people out there but it wasn't nearly as clean or rideable as it had been in the past. We stayed for about an hour, until the tide got too low. I caught a few waves, mucked up a few, because I just randomly forgot how to surf for no reason and spent a LOT of time paddling away from the impact zone, which I kept getting stuck in. After that first hour we took the boat over to Insides. First, they drove us to Don Dons and tried to leave us there in an attempt to save gas but changed their tunes when I threw a fit and said I wouldn't pay for a boat ride that couldn't take me where I wanted to go. All of a sudden we were on our way! Albeit very, very, slowly because we were defintely close to running out of petrol. We surfed another hour or so at Insides. It was crowded as usual. I think I got a couple of waves to myself but at least one of them it was only because I yelled "MINE, MINE, MINE, MINE, MINE, MINE" the entire time that I was riding it. I got lunch with Flavia, Jessica and her local friend Blackberry at a cheap, delicious warung and then in the afternoon I met up with Flavia, Tyler and his friend Mike for an afternoon session at Aer Guling. Tyler and Mike had rented a car and a driver for themselves and they were nice enough to bring us along for about 50,000r. The road to Aer Guling was the same one that goes up to Astari restaurant only you stay on it for much, much, longer. It's like being in a boat that rocks back and forth really really violently since the road doesn't really ever improve but does manage to get worse and worse the farther you go along. We got to the wave and haggled over a boat which we took out to the break. It is possible to paddle but we were feeling lazy. I was a bit hesitant to go out as the waves were started to show quite large from the upcoming swell that was due to arrive that night. I went out and paddled around and had a look and then scratched for the horizon as everyone else who wasn't me got absolutely buried under the set wave. The waves were a bit out of my league but I said hi to Tom who was out surfing and then Flavia and I took the boat to the inside to surf the little waves there. Unfortunately, as soon as we got in she realized she had a massive, massive ding in her board that she hadn't noticed before. She didn't want to get any more water in her board so we got back in the boat and took it back out to the bigger outside break. Tyler was catching waves and calling for us to come out and try them and I was just thinking I should take him up on the offer when Mike paddled up to the boat, his face a mask of blood. He had wiped out and tried to climb his leash up to the surface when another wave pushed his fin down onto his skull, where he had gashed himself open. We called Tyler in and you could tell he did NOT want to come. But he gave in and we took the boat in after having been out for probably less than an hour. Then it was pictures on the beach of the carnage before we got back in the car to go find some SuperGlue so that they could doctor the wound shut. On the drive back Mike had a laugh terrifying the local kids as he rode with his face, which was covered in blood, at the open window, occassionally yelling BOO as we drove past. That night we all met up for dinner at the Blue Spot to have a strategy meeting about the next day's swell. We were planning a dawn trip out to Outside Egkas with six people, meeting at 5:30 to get the day underway. I agreed to talk to Susie, who owned my homestay, to see if she could arrange a boat for us that early and then I went back to the homestay where I bargained for the boat to meet us in the morning at a reasonable price.
The day the swell finally arrived we were up bright and early and ready to face it. But first, the long slog in the van over the predictably terrible roads until we finally got onto the new highway. It was bad enough for a while I actually couldn't even read my book because my hands were moving so much with the motion of the van. We drove to Awung (where Susie's family is from), where we were greeted by her relative who was going to take us out in his boat. This is where things started to go downhill. I had told Susie we would take the boat with her relative and the driver of our van had, unbeknownest to us and without being asked, told his friend to meet us and arranged a boat through him instead. This is when it got super awkward and uncomfortable, for me in particular. I didn't have a larger say than anyone else in which boat we would take and the driver's friend was offering us a cheaper price but I had personally promised to use someone else's services and he had gotten up early and was waiting to meet us and expected to earn a certain amount of money and somehow I felt at fault that that wasn't going to happen. I was PISSED. I was especially pissed because even though I didn't really have much of a vote in it, I was the one being called by Susie on her relative's phone and then called AGAIN once we were in the boat on the boatman's cell phone which I handed back to him after explaining that if he said he didn't know we had promised to go with her relative he was lying to her face. The whole thing was a mess. Add to that the fact that while we were waiting on the beach for everything to be sorted out we were surrounded by a mass of young girls who were giggling at us, we realized, because we were standing near piles of fresh human shit that they were waiting for us to step in by accident. It was horrific. It was disgusting. I was really extremely glad when we got out of there. Once again we were 6 of us packed into a tiny, tiny little outrigger canoe, one with only one outrigger in fact. We scrunched together for the 20 minutes it took to get to Egkas. We got more and more excited as we went because we could see the whitewater from all the way across the bay. It's hard to describe but it was almost like the humping backs of these beasts that crawled along the base of the headland that we could see coming through with regularity and man were we excited. Which is why it was even more devastating when we got to Outside Egkas and it became clear it was unrideable. It was just massive, massive closeouts that were so powerful they weren't reforming further in and becoming rideable, they were just washing through. We weren't completely out of luck though, Inside Egkas was breaking and so we turned back and dropped anchor there. I went out with Tyler and Mike, Flavia joined us later to sit on the shoulder. We surfed for a couple of hours there. It was BIG on the outside sets, but the shoulder was so fat it was hard to get onto the wave. Really hard to get onto the wave. Particularly because if you misjudged you ended up flattened by the whitewater and swept inside. So it required a bit of precision. There were a few other people out with us, a couple of girls from the nearby surf camp and another boat showed up and dropped a couple of people off but it wasn't nearly as crowded as Gerupak. I got a fair number of fun waves. Once you were up and riding the wave was really pretty powerful, it walled up and got nice and fast. At one point too fast, I had been waiting for this wave forever, finally got it, dropped in, grabbed my rail, grabbed my rail too hard, and pulled myself off my board and onto my bum which I then rode down the face of the wave with the board sliding in front of me. It was hilarious. And embarassing and everyone saw it happen. But I thought it was a solid session even if the boys had been looking for more (one of the Canadians we came with didn't even bother to get in the water, saying he couldn't be asked to paddle so hard). We took the boat back and then had lunch and a nap since we had been up so early. Then that afternoon it was back to boat, but this time at Gerupak and Flavia, Tyler and I went out at Insides. I don't know if I'd say it was an epic session but it was certainly solid. We surfed for another couple of hours. It was glassy and sets were running in the overhead range. I managed to get stuck inside in the impact zone a bunch of times but the waves were so good I didn't even mind. I was having a ball. It was a little bit crowded but not terribly, although there was this one Portuguese guy who was snaking around like each wave had his name written on it (and Tyler caught so many waves the other boys actually asked him to stop). My best wave of the day came towards the end of the session when I was sitting way outside, furthest back, and a big set was rolling through. I set myself up for it and dropped into the crowd of people sitting below me, all of whom had identical looks of doubt on their faces. I could see that each and every one of those boys did not think I had a chance in hell of making this wave and as I dropped and dropped and dropped down the face of this wave I felt that sticking the landing of a wave that, when I reached the bottom was about twice as tall as I was, was a proper "F U" to all the haters. It was AWESOME. I looked back when I got to the bottom and thought about trying to make the section but it was already starting to break and I didn't have a chance so I just rode it straight down into the channel with a massive grin on my face. We stayed out until right about sunset, even though there was a massive lightening storm raging at Outside Rights none of us were willing to get out before we had to. When we got out I was about to starve to death so I grabbed some Tim Tams and we loaded up the boards and drove back to Kuta. As I swung my board around to load it onto the scooter to take it the 100 meters from the hotel we parked at to my home stay I was so tired I misjudged and slightly dinged the board on the edge of the surfboard rack. I can't even honestly remember what I did that night, although I assume it involved a quick dinner and an early bed, I was exhausted.
Monday morning I took some time and slept in. I was beat from the day before. I had some breakfast and chilled out on my porch reading before finally slapping some wax on the ding on my board and loading up for a trip out to Gerupak. I was a bit tired of surfing with other people so I hired my own boat and tried surfing at Don-Dons for the first time. There were only two other people out when I got there and over the course of the next three hours they left and I had the place to myself, then another guy and his boat driver showed up for a bit (a boy who insisted on paddling to sit next to me no matter how I tried to sit farther out than he did - even though he was on a short board and I was on a minimal - I had a feeling that if I had paddled out all the way to the bouys he would have joined me), and then after he left I had the place all to myself for another 45 minutes or so. It was GLORIOUS. Don-Dons is a peak so there were rights and lefts to my hearts content. I had no competition so I switched it up, surfing the right for a couple waves then paddling over and surfing the left for a couple of waves, then heading back to the right, and so on and so forth. It was so much fun. The sun was brutal though. I was out at the very peak of the sunlight from about 11-2 or so and even putting waterproof sunscreen on at hourly intervals wasn't helping much anymore. And then, with like a half hour left to my session, who shows up at Don-Dons but Tyler, with a literal boatload of people. I'm yelling things like "it isn't that good here! It's only shoulder high! go to insides!" but they are already unloading boards and throwing themselves into the water. I wasn't too pleased about having to share "my" break and I only caught a few waves after they got in and spent the rest of the time getting pounded inside by the not particularly large, but somehow still really powerful set waves. I finally gave up when the tide got too low and took my boat back in. That afternoon I had a really late lunch then went over to Flavia's hotel and we hung out and then walked down to the Magic Cafe where we ordered "cocktails" (they just can't do cocktails justice in Indonesia) and some snacks and ended up staying there until late in the night watching the locals dance battle (really surprisingly well), guest dj-ing, and dancing.
My last full day in Lombok I took my time again in the morning and because it was my last day and my body was still exhausted and extremely sunburned I decided on surfing just once but making it a super-session. Also because I wanted the opportunity to be selfish I got my own boat and went out by myself. My first hour and a half I spent at Outside Rights. When I got there only two people were out but after about 45 minutes they went in and it was MINE ALLL MINE for the next 45 minutes. Which, after a particularly brutal 10 minutes or so spent inside the impact zone getting trashed, I realized might not be the best or most safest thing in the whole world because my boat driver was asleep at anchor and would definitely not notice if I didn't surface after a wipeout. But I had the place to myself so I was determined to make the most of it, even though the swell had dropped and was wrapping in really steeply angled so that you were trapped on the inside as a lot of the waves kinked and pinched shut at the end. I took one really nice wave all the way into the boat and asked the driver to take me to Insides. He gave me the usual broken English "there isn't enough petrol" and I gave him my usual response, which is that I don't pay for a boat ride that can't take me to where I want to surf, not when I paid you 50,000 rupiah to literally just sit there and petrol is 4500/liter so you could totally afford it! He extremely grudgingly then drove me over to Insides where I arrived at the perfect time, when everyone else had already gone in for lunch and there were only a few people in the water, including Flavia and Hans and one of the locals I had met at Magic Cafe the night before. I surfed there for another hour and a half and while it wasn't big the waves were really really fun. At one point I caught a left and rode it into the inside where I wiped out and got washed around. Then I paddled back out and I'm sitting next to this local, the one I had met the night before, in the line up and I feel this pinch, pinch, pinch, pinch going up my left arm, and I look down at my rash guard and there is a crab the size of my palm, crawling up my arm. I FREAK OUT. FREAAAAAAAAAK OUT. And I'm flailing my arm around and splashing and shrieking and I look and my arm is clear and I breathe a sigh of relief, and look down and realize the crab is now CLIMBING UP MY CHEST!!!!!! I throw myself off my board, rip my rash guard over my head, except I just pull the torso part over my head so I've now straightjacketed myself because my arms are now locked into the shirt, which is now behind my back and for all I know the crab is trapped as well. So I freaking out and trying to drown myself and yelling at my local friend "get it off! get it off!" and he thinks I'm being attacked by a sea snake and I'm trying to get him to pull my sleeves off my body and I finally get the rash guard off and throw it at him and then I'm like IT'S IN MY HAIR! Even though I don't know if it really was but it may well have been so I swim over and make him comb through my hair and I'm finally satisfied that there is no crab anymore but now I'm stuck inside and there is a set coming so I have to take that on the head and I finally, finally, get myself over to the channel where I catch my breath and get laughed at and eventually, 15 minutes later, can face putting my rash guard back on. I surfed maybe another half an hour after that and caught a few more good waves and one that I took straight down to the bottom (having been warned by Flavia that it wasn't good to catch waves there I decided I really wanted to anyway...). Finally, I pulled myself out of the water, where of course I run into Tyler again as he is getting ready to get into the water, and went back to Kuta to get my late, and well deserved, lunch.
My last afternoon there I was going to run all sorts of errands, get lunch, drop my board off at the repair place to fix the ding, change my last bit of cash into rupiah, pick up some new books to read, arrange my transport to the Gillis the next day, etc. Instead, I got back to the homestay after lunch and I was exhausted and starving to death and sitting there, waiting for me, is the creepy guy I rented my scooter from and he is here to talk about picking up the scooter. And I'm saying ok I owe you x amount for the extra days and you can come back tomorrow morning to pick it up and he's asking how I'm getting to the Gillis and I'm saying that I will arrange it through Susie. And then Susie does the typical Indonesian non-confrontational thing and insists that I should just arrange my ticket through him instead even though I really don't want to. But I need the ticket so I'm like ok, let's do this, and the guy is taking foreverrrrrrrrrrr to fill out the paperwork and write down the tickets and I'm getting more and more and more annoyed and I'm still hungry. And I start to pack up my stuff so I can run my errands and I pay him and put all my bags and everything in the underseat compartment of the scooter and I slam the seat closed and it doesn't stick and I slam it again and again and again and finally "CLICK" and that is the exact moment that I realize that the key to the scooter is in that compartment. FUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK. So is my wallet, with all my remaining cash, my credit card, my driver's license and my water bottle and all of my plans for the rest of the day have just gone down the drain. Now, the guy who rented me the scooter is still there, and he sees this happen, and I tell him I need him to get me a spare key. He gives me my 50,000r change that he owes me, my only cash in the world, and the generic "one hour" time frame to return with the key, which definitely does not mean one hour. I don't really have any option but to wait for him. So I go walk my board to the repair place and drop off the board (running into Tyler yet again because of course) and get myself the lunch that I so desperately need and I go back to the homestay and of course no key has come back yet. I wait another hour, still no key. I go with Susie, Miles and Dan to a nearby hotel so Susie and Dan can do some corporate espionage and take pictures of her competition and Miles lends me money for a drink and then later when we get back, more money so I can pick up my repaird board. Still no sign of my scooter key. I resign myself to the fact that the guy is not coming back in time to be useful but I need cash so I take my ATM card and walk to two different ATMs so I can get enough money to settle my bill with Susie and Tom and have enough left over for the Gilli Islands. I'm annoyed about the scooter key but determined to break into it if I have to, or just miss my bus/boat to the Gillis because I have to have the stuff that is stuck in there. I even take Susie's motorbike to go look for the guy but of course even though he has been EVERYWHERE when I didn't need him, he is now nowhere to be found. I ask around town to see if anyone can help me and no one has any ideas. Finally, hours after my ordeal has started Susie tells me that one of the neighbors thinks he can help but he wants my permission first. I am more than willing to grant my permission because I really don't care if he damages the bike and I don't intend to pay for any resulting damages. But I needn't have worried. This guy shows up and like a pro (which I think he was) he manages to lever open the side of the still-locked scooter seat and reaching in (something we had already unsuccessfully tried) he cleans that compartment out. He even manages to get out a 1.5L bottle of water! It was magical! It was also super shady because you know he only knows how to do something like that because he has a lot of practice stealing from other people's scooters. But in this instance he was my hero. I paid back Miles and then had a lovely dinner of fish and rice at the homestay before going to Magic Cafe for a few drinks with Flavia. I met Flavia and Hans there, Hans as it turns out was going to the Gillis the next day as well "for the full moon party!" I had no idea there would be a full moon party but I didn't mind the idea of being there for one by accident either. I had a couple of beers and made friends with a delightful little kitten who spent the next hour or so snuggled up against me on the couch and with an Indonesian girl named Milda who talked to me about what it is like being Christian in Lombok (difficult after the sectarian violence years ago lead to the church being burnt down and not rebuilt). After a few hours we decided to check out a bonfire on the beach, I drove down and when we got there it was defintely a fire, although calling it a "bonfire" might be stretching it a bit much. It was also kind of too hot for a fire and I wasn't willing to get drunk off the rice wine being passed around because I was traveling the next morning. So I hung around for a half an hour or so and had a couple of gulps of the wine just to try it and then I said my goodbyes and was home by midnight.
Wednesday morning I woke up early and finished packing and right around seven I'm standing on my porch having a smoothie for breakfast and talking to Tom when my spare key shows up. They (the guy who rented me the scooter and the scooter owner) are thrilled to hear all my problems were solved last night! I am not thrilled. I think they are assholes for leaving me hanging for over 12 hours and I say that. Tom lays into them as well because he knows I'm unhappy and he speaks Indonesian. I appreciate it, but then he has to make nice with them because Susie doesn't like him to make waves in the community because it is so small. We stay there and they hang out for no reason for a while and then all of a sudden they get up to go, but my ride still hasn't arrived for the Gillis and it's about half an hour after they told me to be ready so I'm worried they are leaving because they just figured out the bus isn't coming. Tom chases the scooter owner down as he leaves and makes sure I'm not being abandoned and it sounds like I'm just the last one to be picked up so no need to be concerned. Shortly thereafter the van pulls up and I say my goodbyes to Tom for the fantastic hospitality and jump into the van for the trip to the harbor. I'm sharing a car with three girls and one guy. One of the girls is really sick (it sounds like everyone is actually sick but she's got the worst of it). We stop four times for her to throw up on the way across the island. For some reason she is on the driver's side, which has a child lock and it never occurs to her friends that maybe they should switch seats so that she could be on the side with the door that opens automatically so each time she has to say "STOP PLEASE" and the driver has to pull over and then get out and let her out of the car to vomit. The ride is a couple of hours and we get some good views of Mount Rinjani, the massive volcano that towers over Lombok (and is a good three day trek apparently, if you are in shape for that sort of thing) and is almost always entirely hidden by clouds so that you can't see it at all. The girls and their guy friend are dropped off first and then I am taken to another harbor to catch my boat to the Gillis. I have missed the boat I was meant to get on (possibly because of all the stops we made on the way) and have to wait 45 minutes to for the next boat. I sit at the cafe and eat breakfast and fend off offers to sells me onwards tickets and then buy a couple of books and some ritz crackers because all of a sudden my body is craving processed foods and salt. When it's time for my boat I pick up all my bags and start the five minute walk down to the harbor, men driving pony carts are begging for my business and I'm ignoring them until one guy offers to take me there for 5000 and I decide it's worth 50 cents to not have to carry all my stuff the next 150 meters. I get down to the harbor and trade my ticket for another ticket on the public boat which I pile into along with everyone who could possibly fit and a huge amount of produce and packages and food and eggs and boxes and bags and on top, my surfboard. I sit across from and chat with an American boy and his friend who were "interning" in Indonesia for the past few months (he was "teaching" English, without any experience and without really having to do any work most days) and for the entire 45 minute journey the woman sitting next to me plays footsie with my left foot. Even though I keep moving my foot away from hers and finally ask her to PLEASE STOP. Nothing will stop her. It isn't even that she is touching me and I don't like it, she's actively massaging my foot with hers. It was super weird. Eventually we get to Gilli Trawangan and I grab my board and shove my way off the boat, except one of my bag's straps gets caught on the motor on my way down and I get stuck and everyone piles up behind me and while freeing myself I slice open the front of my shin on God knows what. But it doesn't matter! I made it to the Gillis! I drop my board bag and my other bags and rest for a minute while I try to figure out what to do next.
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