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Indonesia

Author: Maria Zehentner
Beitrag vom: 09.06.2018

Hey little Heelclicker!

Lombok, May – June 2018

Bali treated us well and enriching our memories with many beautiful experiences. However, one thing needs still to be done, cause we did not manage it on Bali. We wanted to learn how to surf, but somehow we did not get it started. On the neighboring island of Lombok, there should once again be plenty of opportunity, we just had to use it.

Lombok is located east of Bali and can be reached by ferry in about five hours. Island hopping is relatively straightforward in Indonesia, even with a truck like ours. Connections are usually offered hourly, and at moderate prices.

Touristy Lombok is not comparable to Bali, it speaks to a completely different audience. The mainly young guests flock to the south of the island, where they pursue the spirit of surfing. From beginner to professional waves, Lombok offers everything a surfer's heart desires. If you are not into surfing, you can exploring the depths of the ocean. The northwestern offshore Gili Islands, three small islands, have an intact coral reef and attract many divers every year. But as everywhere in the Indian Ocean, caution is needed. The prevailing, strong currents have already swallowed one or the other diver.We also moved to the south. The main roads were in good shape, but we turned into back roads, the familiar image reappeared. Dust and dirt roads swallowed us, coupled with high traffic and huge potholes.

The south coast was criss-crossed by numerous sandy beaches, where the waves raged and crowded with thunderous noise to the shore. Unfortunately we did not manage to drive Akela directly to the beaches on Lombok. The bays were mostly blocked by Warungs, surf schools or souvenir shops. Therefore, we had no choice but to camp on dirty surfaces or parking lots. But we had gotten used to it by now. We rattled off two or three beaches, but did not feel right at all. On the first beach, children used Akela as a jungle gym and rummaged through our garbage, which we had hung at the back of the rear carrier, as soon as we had moved away from it. At the second beach we arrived just in time to prevent a little boy, barely older than our son, trying to kill a small puppy with his bare hands because he had stolen his chicken from his plate.

Wherever we stopped, we were surrounded in no time by so-called park guards, who justified an exorbitant parking fee, with the argument of our safety, because in the past few years probably a few cars on the beach were emptied. Everything was right and nice, but we were able to take care of ourselves very well. We had not done anything else for the last two years and had done very well with it.

Last but not least, we stayed in the village of Kuta, not to be confused with the tourist hot spot Kuta in Bali, where we found a large green area on the outskirts. Not necessarily the yellow of the egg, but we could arrange with it. The surrounding neighbors watched us curiously as we tortured ourselves through the small road to the beach, but were not intrusive, which was rare in Indonesia, because the word privacy does not exist in the Indonesian vocabulary.

In fact, the place was not that bad. Local, simple restaurants, the so-called Warungs, several laundries, the daily market, everything was within walking distance. After our truck stood reasonably safe, we explored the place. Around Kuta are some of the best surfing spots in the world, so it should not be too difficult to find someone who could teach us how to surf.

Surf schools from which loud reggae music trilled out, and cool surfer dudes with a casual "hey Bro" or "hey Sister" advertised for rookies. We did not waste much time looking for the perfect surf instructor. The guys of the Kimen Surfschool seemed sympathetic and got extra points with their delicious Cafe Latte.

I can not even remember my last tasty roast coffee, which was actually funny, because in Indonesia there are many coffee plantations. But paradoxically, people here drink only ghastly, much too sweet instant coffee. But we were not here for drinking coffee. Our receptors were set for surfing.
Leander rode the waves first, Lennox and I tried our luck the day after. After a short dry training on the beach, we went into the water. The surf school guys made sure, that the sense of achievement did not have to wait long. At the right moment they gave the order to get up and pushed us into the flow of the wave. You had to be very unsporty not to catch one or two waves standing on the board, but that did not mean that we could surf. The bigger athletic challenge was paddling back into the line up, the area where the surfers hung out to wait for the perfect wave. Although Lennox and I were patting the beginner beach, we still felt the power of the waves. Tirelessly, we paddled out to our instructor after every attempt. Again and again we were eaten by incoming waves and pushed to the seabed. If it went completely stupid, you got from the whirling surfboard one on top, and I do not talk about the many salt water we swallowed.

However, no master has fallen from the sky, and the adrenaline rush of several well-established waves made us quickly forget everything else. Lennox deserved an extra helping of praise. For two hours he fought for every wave without grumbling and complaining. Completely exhausted and with burning upper arms from paddling, we dragged ourselves to the beach and washed down the salty taste in the mouth with a fresh melon shake.
Akela was safe at our parking lot. It did not look like someone had tried to break in or climbed on him during our absence. Leander had an eye for it and realized every little thing, that would have changed. So we could confidently spend the next few days scouring the surrounding beaches with our cross and improving our surf skills on our own, which was easier said than done.
Surfing means more than just jumping onto the board at the right moment and keeping your balance so you do not tumble down. You have to be able to read the waves, feel them and merge with them to be able to surf and most of all, to enjoy them. It's a tough job and by far the most strenuous sport I've ever tried.
A comprehensive know how about the ocean, its currents, tides and sea creatures belongs to the surf like a cover on the top. Throwing yourself thoughtlessly into the water can quickly come to a dead end.

It was not easy to join on our first sense of achievement. Somehow we had expected more for our money than just being pushed into the wave at the right time, which was nice, but had little to do with the sport itself. Help, tips or tricks did not come across quite well, perhaps also due to the lack of understanding of the language. Equipped with borrowed boards, we spent the next few days on the beginner beach of Selong Blanak. We had a lot of fun, but the spark did not want to jump over. It would have been great to find someone like a mentor, who helps with a supportive hand and takes you aside and let you be part in a rich pool of experience. But we did not give up that fast.
We took the necessary regeneration breaks after the strenuous workout in the truck, where we spent most of the time reading and sleeping. However, those who now think that the physical exercise has struck us are wrong. Unerringly, we popped in in Muslim Lombok at the beginning of the fasting month of Ramadan. That the faithful, and even more the hypocrites, were not allowed to eat and drink from sunrise to sunset was less of a problem for us. Much more robbed us the constant sound from the speakers of the mosques our beauty sleep.
In Indonesia, the construction of faith houses is subsidized. So it was no wonder, that each village had several mosques. This ensured, that even in the most remote lanes Allah's words were heard, which was still ok, if you are not sitting right in the middle of it as a non-Muslim. Exactly at 19:30pm started the spectacle and ended at 04:00 am in the morning. High voices, low voices, croaking voices took turns without a breather, and every day the same! For us, who had nothing to do with all this religious things, it was sheer madness. It was stupid, because they neither prayed nor read the Koran.
It was mainly a croaking into the microphone, partly by children. Completely different, than the other Muslim countries we have already visited. And all night! Annoyed, tense and sometimes aggressive we lay in bed with headphones and hoped, that with the help of music our eyelids became heavy. The only one who fell unimpressed into a peaceful sleep was Lennox. God, how I envied him for this gift.

Old Iron needs a lot of love, affection and attention to keep it young, dapper and active, Leander could sing a song of it. And I'm not talking about me this time ;-) So it was time to give Akela's grease nipple enough grease to keep the joints nice and supple. Leander dug out the tool and then slipped into his blue shirt. He brushed the top straight over his back as he suddenly made a loud cry. He could not detect anything spiky and pulled the work gap up until he yelped again. I hurried to him and pulled the collar away from the body, believing to discover some thorns tangled in the fabric.

What I discovered, however, elicited a shrill scream from me. An approximately five-centimeter scorpion came to light. Damn sh ....! Something was haunting our heads, that this was a poisonous one. Leander pulled off his jumpsuit as fast as he could and threw him out of the truck. We were lucky, because not far a way was a emergency station. While Leander was already starting to run there, I clawed my phone and scanned the ground for the beast outside. When I finally discovered it, I took a shaky photo and ran to the hospital. I saw Leander halfway, he gave me the sign, that everything is ok. To be on the safe side, I still ran to the emergenca and showed the doctor the photo.

After he also assured me, that Leander would survive the stitches, I paid the painkillers and we both went back to the truck. The stitches hurt him a lot. Leander had to swallow a few pills to be painless. But as the saying goes, weeds do not go by ;-)
We were thinking about, where we could have picked up the guy, because one thing was clear, by himself he could not have climbed into the truck. Until the idea came to us. It could only have happened on Nick`s property.
You remember, we cleared Akela up there completely and put everything outside, to start with a thorough cleaning for Australia. The crook had to have grabbed this opportunity to get a free lift to Lombok. To warn Nick, we sent him the photo of the scorpion. His answer was not long in coming. Retour came a snapshot of his swollen hand, where a puncture site was clearly visible. Well, shared suffering is half suffering. Nothing else to say!

In Kuta we met the Hawaiian guy Keoni, his Indonesian wife Muna and their son Semudra. John Kelly, as his baptismal name was, was a passionate surfer, how could it be otherwise. Don`t we suspect that in every Hawaiian? Finally, we Austrians also see the light of day on skis on the feet and rock the snow-covered Alps. Stupid was, that Keoni had cut quite violently in the arm in a serious accident at work and could currently ride the thunderous waves only mentally from the safe beach. Patiently, he answered all our countless questions and encouraged us to go a step further. He was right, if we wanted to make progress, then we had to get out of the safe pool for children. An excellent opportunity to put us to the test was the Bay of Gerupuk. We already tried to get to the bay of the village with the truck, but had to turn in the middle of it, because street works were in progress.

In Indonesia, our cross paid off for the first time. Wherever Akela was too tight, too low, or too obstructed, and such situations abounded, we switched to the two-wheeler. Rules did not exist, whether three or four on the seat, with or without a helmet, completely no matter. Even newborns, grandmothers, sheep, goats, chickens or entire wardrobes were transported. As long as there was a possibility to lash the cargo somewhere, everything was fine.
In the bright blue sky, Leander entered the Kickstarter early the next morning, made the engine howl, and we went off. Keoni also gave us a contact, where we could possibly ask for coaches, who could help us in the new area.
Gerupuk was a lot more demanding than our usual beach in Selong Blanak. Boats brought the surfers to the edge of the waves and dropped them in the line-up. Gerupuk was not a beach surf spot like we were used to it. I got nervous, Lennox took it easy and Leander was already surfing on such spots. He was not a complete rookie like Lennox, and especially me. We all jumped into the water together with two locals. Although Lennox with his six years swam better than many adults I know we insisted, that one of them had to stay permanently with the kid. In addition, of course, Leander did not let him out of sight.

The waves were high, at least for me, and it was swarming with other surfers who were all on the same level, beginners like me. A dream! I did not follow my coach Ranga fast enough and was immediately swept away by a wave that spit me back 20 meters. Struggling to get back to the board, I desperately searched the water for Ranga. When I spotted him, I tried to follow his hand movements and quickly paddle to him. Quick was such a thing, because after a short time my upper arms became lame and burned like an Australian bushfire. When I got to him I raised my thumb as a sign that everything was ok.
Then I inquired about Lennox. My eyes wandered in the direction Ranga indicated, where all I could see was Lennox's flowing, blond mane gliding on top of a wave. His teacher was blown away and shouted, "Look, he's still surfing!" Unbelievable, the boy was not afraid and stood on the board, as if he had never done anything else in his life.
After I managed three waves and countless attempts to get on the board, I gave up powerless and paddled back to the boat, Lennox followed me almost at the same time. Leander was still in the waves with Ranga. However, he had run out of breath. Unfortunately, he could not just surrender to the waves like we did. His sense of responsibility made it necessary to swim back and forth between Lennox and me to see, if everything was alright, and he literally had no chance to get a wave.

During the return trip, I watched Lennox. Completely relaxed, he sat in the boat and let the wind blow around his nose. Totally unimpressed by the fact, that he had just surfed a two-meter-high wave. We were so proud of him and wondered at the same time, where the boy had this affinity for water. Not by either of us.
Since the day was still young and we had nothing else on the plan, we wanted to drive into a surf camp on the outskirts of Gerupuk, which we had read on the Internet. However, a panel from our cross broke. Thus, we canceled this visit and drove to the garage back to our base on the beach. Once there we found a paraglider, who practiced a little "ground handling". It was Olle, the owner of the surf camp we wanted to visit. What a coincidence. The next day we went over to him.

It was cozy in the camp with Olle the Swede and Diana the German. The two were very sympathetic and in no time we were engaged in an interesting conversation, while Lennox romped around with their son Atreyu. The two offered longer surf lessons, with the goal to make the participants independent and responsible surfers. That made sense! At the same time we bit our asses, because the next courses were completely booked out. But who knows what it was good for. Actually, we did not have time to spend another two weeks on Lombok. The crossing to the red continent was getting closer and there was still so much to do.
But our visit in the camp was not in vain.

First, we met great people who also helped us with contacts on the next island of Sumbawa, and secondly, Olle arranged a special deal for us with his South African surf instructor Jordy. If time allowed between his classes and he felt fit enough, Jordy could go out with us. Jordy winked at Lennox and shakerte: "That`s be fun little bro". In the short time we had been in the camp, I noticed that Jordy did well with kids.
However, I did not join the surf lessons this time. Jordy already had enough on his cheek and I hoped to give the guys more time. I would not be bored, there were enough people walking around the camp. Just in case I would not find anyone who wanted to chat with me, I had a plan B, because there were always travel reports to write.

Our next days we spent in Gerupuk. Early in the morning, barely out of bed, we set off for the camp with our bike. There was not too much free time as I initially suspected, because I was promoted to make photos. A task that I would like to do, if it had not be accompanied with a dull belly grumbling. Anyone who knows me knows, that I am occasionally a bit awkward. I do not know if it was the best idea, to send me out to the sea with a wickedly expensive camera in a shaky nutshell to shoot photos in high seas. Before Leander let his board into the water to jump afterwards, there was still an instructive look. I knew what he wanted to tell me, words were not necessary! Should a mishap happen, he would kill me.

It was exciting for me to see Leander and Lennox in the waves. So far, I've always been there myself and barely had time to watch. I liked the new perspective. Sometimes my heart fell in my pants. No, not because of the camera but because of Lennox. It looked so wild, when he disappeared in a valley between two waves, or was eaten by a wave. But he kept getting up and had a grin on his face. When Jordy and he were close enough I could hear them laughing.
After several waves Jordy brought the little one to the boat and said goodbye with the words: "See you soon little Heelclicker"! Then he devoted himself to Leander. I helped Lennox into the boat and did not have to ask if he had fun. He broke into a rant and was hard to stop. And Jordy, and Jordy, Jordy said, Jordy, Jordy, "and Jordy .... calls me Heelclicker now, so I will not forget to bang my heels to get them in the right position!" Thanks Jordy, that we will be measured by you, if we want to teach our son something new. Joking aside, you were awesome.

Leander was also having fun, but came back to the boat with less enthusiasm, which had nothing to do with Jordy. There was too much going on in the waves in front of Gerupuk and you had to be careful not to let it crash sometime.
As already mentioned, we got to know the crew from the Lombok Surfcamp much too late, and the clock did not stop as it often did. Especially if the mood is omitted you want to leave a nice place even less, but blah, blah, blah ..... how many times have I already written that, we had a hard time saying goodbye. But with this we were sure, that we would meet the pack again relatively soon. There were so many ideas going through our heads.

I also had to say goodbye to the best Cafe Latte I had drunk in recent months, and to the many fresh smoothies that we literally stuffed into ourselves.
There were no significant interruptions the next day. From there we went by ferry to the next island Sumbawa.

Comments (1)

  1. Marc
    Marc at 25.09.2019
    Servus,
    tolle Berichte, tolle Schilderungen, einfach schön zu lesen. Vielen Dank dafür!!!!
    Bin vor ein paar Wochen auf die Seite gestossen und hab vom ersten bis zum neuesten Bericht jetzt alle durchgelesen.... schade dass es jetzt nicht weiter geht.
    Ich hab auf Facebook gesehen dass Eure Reise ja weitergegangen ist, aber da ich absolut kein Freund von FB bin und auch die ausführlicheren Berichte gerne lese würde ich mich freuen auch hier wieder von Euch zu lesen (auch wenn ich mir vorstellen kann dass es ein enormer Aufwand ist diesen Blog hier mit Leben zu füllen!!).
    Vielen lieben Dank auf jeden Fall und eine gute Zeit!!

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