Many moons have gone by since I last posted on my little corner of the internet. It's time to clear out the cobwebs. Scrub off the mold. Air everything out. A spring cleaning, if you will.
What better way to get into the season than with a sunny, beautiful destination?
I spent the week before hanging out on the very small and very flat, booze happy island of Gili Trawangan. Every day I looked over to Lombok wondering how different the green, hilly island across the way would be. I would soon find out these islands are night and day. The yin to the other's yang.
Gili T is a high strung, overly populated party island that you can ride a bike around in a couple hours. Lombok has a much slower, more local pace and it takes a few days to drive around the perimeter of the island. The backpackers that visit Gili T are there to party like it's 1999. The backpackers that visit Lombok come to surf or climb Mt Rinjani.
What may come as a surprise to those of you who know me is that I did neither of those things on Lombok! Instead, my partner in crime and I rented a car to chase waterfalls and beaches. Below I present to you the resulting photographic documentation.
This is where the big wave surfers go. These are the biggest waves I've ever seen humans riding in real life. A big bonus for this beach: really, really attractive and fit people. (Yes, I used the word 'big' three times just now. IT'S THAT INTENSE.)
Benang Stokel and Benang Kelambu Waterfalls
These are sister waterfalls on the same hike, one of which is far more impressive than the other. The rice paddy pictured below was en route.
Selong Belanak Beach
The waves here are friendlier to non-surfers like myself. Also, we made some friends.
The most accessible beach that is right in the town of Kuta.
A village in the middle of nowhere. After driving across a scary mountain pass, it was a welcome relief to buy fresh strawberries here.
It was immediately clear the lovely town of Sapit doesn't see many tourists. In fact, there are only two guesthouses (that I am aware of) and they are owned by the same family. The travelers to sign the guestbook before us had traveled through several months before. After so much time being very much ON the beaten path, a night in Sapit was a welcome change.
As it goes in most places in Asia, the people are friendly. Especially the children. They followed us around the village for over an hour before we wandered too far and it was clear they weren't allowed to continue on.
Hati Suci Homestay
To underline my previous statement about the infrequent travel here, the guesthouse has only one review on Tripadvisor. Looks like I need to go leave a second.
I took the photo of Mt Rinjani from the restaurant. It was a delightful surprise waking up to that view.
On the road again
This is how the locals do -- reuse and recycle liquor bottles for fuel.
This is where most trekkers start their climb of Rinjani. For us it was waterfalls and hikes with very little elevation gain.
Tiu Kelep Waterfall
Admittedly, I was lazy and only brought my iPhone to this mythical waterfall. Google the name if you need more impressive photos.
This was our ride. If you ever rent a car abroad, TAKE PHOTOS OF EVERY ANGLE. We had a horrific time trying to return the car. The man who rented it to us tried to say we scratched it up and broke a bunch of things. Fortunately my friend is a stubborn one and didn't give in. Also, get recommendations from a variety of locals before renting a car. Apparently this guy had pulled this trick before and many tourists had given in.