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Published: February 5th 2015
Your humble author's little slice of self indulgence
As the name suggests, Resort Latitude Zero sits within spitting distance of the equator. A hedonistic oasis, the resort is snuggled cosily amongst the Telo Island chain. The what chain? If you are not a surfer, it's an archipelago incognito. Even the good people of Sumatra, a couple of hundred kilometres to the west, would struggle to point it out on a map. That resonated of a decent enough reason to call in for a fortnight.
This was my second visit to the ballpark but Telo Island Lodge, while upscale in a surfer kind of way, isn't the genre of place to drag the blushing bride. Not so RLZ.
The brainchild of a group of Oz surfers, what they have created from the foundations up in this off the grid locale is a cocktail of vision, perseverance, attention to detail, a heavy hit of panache and, I imagine, some good old fashioned palm greasing. It's unlikely a hotel star rating system exists in this realm but every pore of this resort reeks of multi-stars. All the more impressive given such global isolation.
Choosing a location was probably the simple part of the equation seeing as there's a surplus
of Gilligan's Island clones. The entire chain screams tropical paradise - equatorial foliage thicker than Mick Jagger's lips and turquoise waters hitting the mercury in the high 20s that butt up against obligatory white sands.
As for the culinary side of the ledger, dismantle the notion of surfer grub you wouldn't serve in a prison. The cuisine is of a quality that would have you unfurling the plastic fantastic in your favourite restaurant on home turf. The staff from the owners down (including Larry the resident pooch) will give you a big RLZ welcome the moment your feet hit sand for the first time. From there the unforced smiles are standard. RLZ hums with the precision of a Rafael Nadal forehand on clay. I dips me hat to em.
Forget, however, sizzling nightlife. For guests, the resort swings into action at sunrise when the rhythm of life is dictated by the ocean. Yes it's surfer country but don't hesitate packing the wife/partner/kids into your board bag. There are ample activities to keep the non-surfing guests occupied. Then again, if the other half wants to leave the crampons at home, tell her to load a decent book or two,
grab a lounge by the pool and prepare to be effortlessly seduced by Coma Beach.
Did I mention the surf? There's a range of things Indonesia does well, from corruption and political nepotism right through to spicy food. Another is waves. In fact Indonesia is virtually sacrosanct amongst the planet's surfing population and Sumatra's west coast islands are one of the flagships. Despite that, the one missing piece of the surfing puzzle, according to the world of public opinion, is that these waves vanish into the wild blue yonder come November. They won't then reemerge until March. But that's PUBLIC opinion. I've scored big time twice in November so it was really time to roll the dice and give January, absolute off season, a shot.
Why? Well seeing as you asked. High season means high numbers. Come May through September and the surf can be as crowded as a new iPhone launch. Arrive January and the opposite applies. No yacht charters and every resort other than RLZ is shuttered up until at least mid February. I liked those odds.
The wash-up is that the gods of surfing once again smiled upon me. It may not have been
as big and brutal as mid-year but I managed more waves in two weeks than a year living in Cronulla. This may be a stretch but I also reckon more GREAT waves than a lifetime at my same home beach. From hormonal bully boy reefs that take no prisoners to spots that are all the fun of the fair. Look up fun in the dictionary and it should come accompanied by an image of Monkey Bay. Beautiful waves with the type of palm-encrusted backdrop you used to doodle on your school books.
I'm actually reticent to market the off-season brand at the risk of spreading this little secret. What I have done is reserve my spot for next year before I publish this blog. Selfish perhaps but it's only a matter of time before these islands as a whole are on the radar year round. Get in quick.
As the 14 days ran down, I sat by the lagoon with my hand firmly wrapped around a gin and tonic. With the soft light of a windless twilight, I couldn't help but ponder a sense of sinful decadence. With plumb in mouth and toffee on the nose I turned
A number 1 please.
after seeing this I saved my haircut for KL.
to the bride: (Please imagine my most formal of British accents) "One wonders what the peasants back home might be doing right now". Life is good.
Tit Bit Of The Week.
Pommy Dave (guess where this RLZ guest hails from) was thumbing through an Indonesian dictionary (as you do). He randomly plucked out a single word:
Besan. Translation - "parents of children who have married each other."Do we shake our heads at the thought that this situation is common enough to warrant a word of its own? Or is it in reality a badge of honour in Indonesian society; "My children get along so well they decided to marry".
I've said it before and I'll say it again, every country has something they can't explain but that is particularly on the bizarre side.
Will post Nikon images on return home at www.colvinyeates.zenfolio.com
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