New place – new adventures. Today we said goodbye to Bali and Hello to Nusa Lembongan. The alternative to the Gilli islands.
The pickup service was on time (again) and we left with a couple from Belgium / Shanghai towards Sanur. We had a nice talk with them in the car and got some tips from their previous trip to The Philippines.
Sanur was so much more quite than when we left it in August. The place was barely recognizable. The boat left on time and we had an uneventful ride to Nusa Lembongan.
We had emailed our hotel and asked for pickup, but had not received any answer by the time we left Ubud and our internet connection. We found no one to pick us up and went for lunch at a cafe. With wifi and Internet restored we got in contact with the hotel and the driver came to pick us up.
The roads here are bad. Not like bad in Norway, but bad in Indonesia. There’s basically not a meter stretch of asphalt without holes in it. Sitting on the back of the truck gave a good bum massage, on hard wooden benches. And then we reached the bridge.
We are not staying on Nusa Lembongan, but on Nusa Ceningan. A smaller island connected to Lembongan by a suspension bridge. This bridge is not meant for cars, but as we all now know motorbikes go everywhere. So the hotel has two cars, one on each side of the bridge. We carried out bags over and into the other car now the road started to get even worse. We arrived at Le Pirate, shaken not stirred.
The place Katja (yes I blame her) has booked for us is called a Beach Box. It’s a one room hut with an outdoor bathroom. It has room for one bed, approximately 50 cm on each side of the bed, and a fan directed at the bed. The space in the outdoor bathroom is huge, compared to the room itself. And by the way, the outdoor bathroom must in no way be compared to the Norwegian cabins and their toilet huts. We just love the place.
It’s placed in a lagoon with a view directly towards the sunset. Our little box is named More and is next to Where and World. There is even a complimentary hammock on the tiny little porch. The water is colder than anticipated, but we will make good use of the little pool.
We hired a motorbike to get around the islands the next few days. Helmets and license plate? Nah, who needs it?
Katja had spotted an information about a lecture to be held on Lembongan about marine life. I wanted to go and got Katja on the bike and set out on another adventure. We found the place where it is to be held and met the girl that will give the lecture. We talked a little about it and when Katja asked where she’s from the answer was… Drumroll… Norway! She is here working non profit and has been here a year. We had just talked English to each other but could end it in Norwegian. Right now we are sitting on a beach restaurant overlooking the water and the sunset. We’ve just had dinner and it is 30 minutes to the lecture will begin. Right here, right now life is just about perfect. And we talked about that. Life is perfect in a variety of places. Just remember that it is you who choose it to be.
The lecture was absolutely fabulous. Lillian did a great presentation on the different fish, coral and molluscs. Did you know that the Bali area was one of the three points of the Coral Triangle? And that 0.2% of the sea floor is covered in corals, but support 25 % of all marine life – one way or another, and as much as 33 % of all marine fish? Now I know what separates the whale and the shark. Do you?
It was presented with lots of photos and some videos in the yoga shack here on the island. It was both informative and fun, but also a bit sad. She showed us how plastic destroys turtles. We saw pictures of different effects the plastic has on the sea life, and that makes you think twice about using any more plastic bags. The most horrifying story was how the great sea turtle dies from eating plastic. After eating it it does not pass through them, but clogs their digestive system. Everything they eat after that ends up clogged and starts to produce gases. This leads to the turtle being unable to dive and it is stuck on the surface starving and baking in the sun until it perishes. When you hear this and see pictures of seal, small turtles, fish and octopuses wrapped in plastic it’s hard not to cry. She also showed us divers clinging to coral reefs. As a diver it breaks my heart to see that kind of behavior. Lillian was on that dive and they told the people to move back from the coral, just to see that the local dive masters pushed their clients onto it again. In unregulated territories like this it doesn’t take to much of certifications etc. to start a business or dive school well worth a check before you choose your next one on your holiday.
Lillian works for Aquatic Alliance who focuses on preservation of (among other things) the Manta Ray. There are lots of dive centers here on the island and she gave a serious piece of advice. A few years back everything should be “green”. If it was green it was good and right. Now the term is Eco. Eco-tourism, Eco-friendly etc. but as she says:” A lot of places use the term Eco, but do not live up to it. Ask to see their “code of conduct” to verify they really walk the walk.”
We also met another Norwegian couple at the lecture. Mari is a former colleague of Lillian and she and Lars lives in Singapore. We went out with these three and a lot of others to a Thai place to get a late dessert and talk. It was nice to be around Norwegian again.
Leaving the restaurant at 21:15 made for a ride in the dark back to the hotel. But first we needed to find our bike. We walked into what we thought was the right path but ended up outside someone’s home in the pitch black darkness. And we awoken their dog. He went all ballistic and yapped and barked for ever. We retreated out of the yard but the dog did not stop. I think he woke every living being around. Roosters started cackling, other dogs tunes in to the harmony and the cow we found tied to a tree “mooed”. We apologize to all our regular readers here in Lembongan.
After locating the bike we drove in utter darkness home to Le Pirate. As earlier picture show we need to cross a bridge between the two islands. In the dark that look like this:
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizen can change the world;
indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
– Margaret Mead