The most westerly of the Nusa Tenggara group, the island of Lombok lies immediately east of Bali, and whilst similar in many ways, is not nearly as westernised. In fact, it is said that Bali can be found in Lombok, but not the other way round! We anchored at Medana Bay, on the NW coast of the island. There is a resort, pontoons for yachts, a bar and restaurant, and helpful staff who will arrange travel to other islands and sightseeing within Lombok.
The further west we travel, the more predominant is the Moslem influence. Whereas in Eastern Indonesia the main religion is Catholic, Lombok has literally a mosque on every street corner! Most of them are ornate, and having considerable money spent on them. The downside from our point of view is the muezzin or criers calling the faithful to prayer. To our ear, this is loud wailing, broadcast by loudspeakers from 0500 each morning, and up to five times a day.
We shared a minibus (driver with good English and local knowledge included) with some cruising friends and spent a day touring the island. Our first stop was to see Macaque monkeys in a forest as we climbed the hills heading south. They seemed to be used to humans and cameras!
A craft centre on the outskirts of Mataram, the capital of Lombok was next on the list. Highly individual teak and mahogany wooden furniture is made there, and we watched whilst each piece was painstakingly decorated by hand with fragments of nautilus shell, and then passed to other workers until the finished product was ready for the showroom. Though some is sold locally, a lot is exported at reasonable rates. As with a lot of the work we viewed on this island, the workforce is highly skilled giving great attention to detail. Here a few photos:
We had become used to bemos as a mode of public transport in Indonesia. In towns and cities on the island of Lombok local travel is by hiring a horse and cart otherwise known as the ‘Lombok Mercedes’.
As we have seen all over the islands, bensin, (petrol), is sold in 1.5 litre bottles (used water bottles) on small stalls at the roadside, at exorbitant levels of profit because fuel is subsidized by the government, and its sale is also controlled. So long queues build up several hundred yards long of motor cyclists buying a litre or two of petrol at the few regular fuel stations we have come across.
As with all cities, there are what we consider to be unpleasant sights, like a street market devoted to selling captured wild birds in cages. Keeping caged birds is however an age old tradition in Indonesia…
We visited the Hindu temple of Pura Suranadi, where visitors paid homage with gifts, of flowers, fruit and vegetables. Eels lived in an enclosure of holy water, with viewing and cleansing by donation only!
After that we went on to the Mayura Water Palace, which includes the former king’s family temple, and is now a pilgrimage site for Lombok’s Hindus. It has ornate rooms and water running from pool to pool, including an Olympic sized swimming pool, being used by the military on the day we visited.