Monthly Archives: December 2013

Wandering About Sengiggi

Sengiggi beach behind the art market, the ship in the distance is driving piles down into the ocean floor to lay a new wharf for fast boats to travel between Sengiggi and Bali


Sengiggi Beach just behind the Art Market, first day there the water did not look good and there was a lot of trash along the beach that appeared to be brought in by the current, however the remainder of the stay the beach was considerably cleaner and the water more inviting.

 A busy Sengiggi street… Seriously it was rare to see more than a couple of vehicles on the road a time there, on the left is the Art Market where you can do your usual shopping with some more up market shops for pearls and jewelry

 A place to relax while waiting to have a massage if they were busy (which they never seemed to be)

 A much nicer and more inviting view of Sengiggi beach. The boats along the shore can be hired for trips out to the Gilli Islands

 Sunset over Sengiggi beach

 Improving international relations

Overall the walking around Sengiggi is relatively comfortable, there is reasonable condition footpaths for the most part throughout the area however as typical for areas that get a lot of rain there is step ups and downs at curbs and crossings, it is like your own personal stepper whilst walking and makes for some decent exercise. Compared with other areas of Indonesia there is considerably less hawkers around you can go for extended stretches without seeing any and when you do they are considerably more friendly with you only having to tell them you are not interested and they will then wish you a good day/evening whichever the case may be and are also happy to just chat away with you about things as well, it is considerably more laid back and relaxed than other areas and to be honest felt like it was deserted.

The Art Market was a prime example of this, some shops set up with a couple of restaurants and stores around in a nice square area leading out to the beach with only a couple of people in it, the impression that I got is it was built ready for a tourist boom which did not appear to happen thanks to the bombings that took place in Bali in 2002, with the new international airport and some direct flights going there now this may change but I hope it doesn’t go the path of areas of Bali with development taking place absolutely everywhere as it is refreshing to walk past stretches which have not been developed yet.

Kebun Villas & Resort Sengiggi

After the ride from the airport it was up a gently sloping driveway leading up a decent sized hill nestled in behind some trees to the lobby of the hotel that we had booked at near the heart of Sengiggi. There is not a great deal of traffic in this area but what little noise is generated is nicely blocked by the reasonable amount of foliage between the rooms and the roadside leaving you pretty much surrounded with the chirps, croaks and whistles that is nature within the fairly deep jungle all around you and up the large hill behind the complex.

I had booked my accommodation via Asia Rooms where you provide your credit card to secure the booking but do not actually pay for it until the hotel, in the case of this one it proved to be somewhat of a mistake. There is no credit card facility at the hotel so you have to pay in cash (Indoneisan Rupiah) which I did not have sufficient on me. This however was no problem and they told me to simply come and pay whenever I had withdrawn or converted enough local currency which was a hassle and stress free arrangement. Check-In was nice and easy and it was off to check out our digs for the next six days.

First pool and restaurant past the lobby heading up to the rooms

Entrance into the Serjoa Twin Room

The room itself was reasonably spacious with a Samsung flatscreen LCD television on the wall with cable tv, a desk and chair for sitting and working as well as 4 bottles of water daily, a kettle and tea/coffee/sugar for making drinks and a wardrobe with a small safe for valuables.

The twin beds in our room with ample space on either side for getting in and out of

 DVD player for entertainment and reasonable area for storage of luggage

 Fully tiled bathroom with a neatly presented sink and ample space for getting about, the best thing was really good water pressure and it could go as hot or as cool as you liked

View to the right from the balcony chairs, that tiny bit of blue between the trees is the ocean from the floor above chances are you would be able to look out over the trees to see the ocean itself, and if the day was very clear chances are Bali as well in the distance

 View to the left from the room, a beautiful and inviting 75m long pool is right in front of our room

Overall the hotel is your standard four star fare; Room service available, buffet breakfast each morning with a rotating selection of reasonable quality and prices whilst not expensive are almost double what you can get down the road however the few meals we did have at the restaurant there the portion sizes were fairly respectable not too small but not overly big either and they were all delicious. There is a selection of room types available (Standard, Twin, Family) as well as private villas with their own pools for you to choose from and the price is fairly reasonable for the location as well as the facilities and service that you receive there. I paid AU$55 per night for the room.

It is a bit away from the main strip of Sengiggi however it is no more than a 10 minute walk away from it, the Art market with its small selection of stalls and shops is right around the corner and provides thoroughfare access to the beach so the location is fairly decent and I would quite happily stay there again.

Lombok – First Impressions

The flight over to Lombok was relatively uneventful much the same as my frequent trips over to Bali in previous years however it was over a year since my last trip to Indonesia and my first time flying into Lombok itself. About 3.5 hours from departing Perth we were setting down at Lombok international airport which is roughly in the middle of the island at the southern end. As far as airports go it was relatively simple however reasonably well presented which is unsurprising as it is only a couple of years old. You however can tell that it doesn’t take a great quantity of international flights and if you have the ability to select or purchase seats for your flight I would highly recommend getting a seat to the front of the aircraft as there is only one visa on arrival counter and when you are in the last few rows of the plane you will be waiting awhile to get your visa.

Took roughly 30-45 minutes to get to the front of the line however the visa purchase itself was painless and it was then straight into the queue for immigration and by virtue of the trickle of people going from the VOA counter you pretty much go straight to the front of the line and there is only a couple of counters but they can easily handle the pace at which passenger get through to it and if they like the look of you, which in my case is always a simple matter it is a very quick affair straight through to baggage collection and customs which as is typical for Indonesia is a simple affair 99% of the time just handing your form to an officer and walking out the door. This time however was a 1% occurance for me, though not in a bad way. When looking at my customs declaration form he got a rather confused look and asked What is analyst? After 3 unsuccessful attempts at relating what I do for employment in differing ways I fell back on the old I work with computers. Big smile Ahh okay and points to the door and it was straight out.

The foyer area to the exit is actually relatively small however there is one point to note if you plan on taking a taxi unlike Bali there is no fixed price counter for taxis but on the right before the door is the airport taxi counter at which you need to buy a voucher which covers the surcharge applied to taxis servicing the airport and it is only available before you exit the arrivals terminal however this is only 10,000 – 17,500 rupiah depending on where you are heading. Once you have this you can then head out and grab one of the plentiful taxi’s outside but the typical don’t go for touts applies and getting the meters seem reliable in them, the voucher only gets you out of the airport so you will still need to pay the metered fare at your destination so make sure you have sufficient rupiah on you for the district of Sengiggi it is 150,000 – 175,000 dependant on route and traffic (which for Indonesia is actually relatively non-existant).

There is still another 2 options available to depart the airport, as is common throughout Asia there are plenty of drivers from tour companies that have their own cars more often somewhat more roomy than your standard run of the mill taxi sedan and as there was three of us we used this option, unusually for me I did not haggle from the first price which was offered at 250,000 being 57,500 – 77,500 higher than the taxi option which I figured given I knew the drive was 60 – 90 minutes to Sengiggi wasn’t that bad of a deal however you can likely get this down to around 200,000 easy enough making it a reasonable option especially if you are travelling with more people or a reasonable amount of luggage.

The third option is a good one if you are staying in Sengiggi and travelling light is the airport bus costing 25,000. This drops you off accross from the Art Market near the center of the strip and provides convenient access to many of the accomodation options in that area. The busses are the large modern tourist bus varieties air conditioned and standard reasonably comfortable seats and from reports of the people I chatted with whilst over there the trip time is pretty close to being in a car as well so you do not lose out much by taking them, I think it is definitely a convenient option if you are not travelling with a large amount of luggage.

Once transportation was organised it was time to head off to Sengiggi where we were staying and the first impression leaving the airport was “Umm, where is everybody?”. Having travelled a portion of Indonesia in the past and it having been cities for the most part, and even getting out of them a bit there still usually tended to be a lot of people, traffic and things about; Lombok however has proven to be an exception to this. The airport is relatively new and is located towards the south of the island surrounded by rice fields and not a whole lot else until you get considerably closer into Mataram. The roads however throughout the island have been the best that I have experienced in Indonesia with the exception of some of the main highways in Jakarta. They are bitumen and well maintained and slightly wider than what you see in Bali and the traffic the least crazy out of all of Indonesia I have seen. There was not a great deal of traffic on the road, some areas pretty much completely deserted, some were light and even in the heart of Mataram as we passed through it to head to the costal road and there was more traffic around I would describe it more like a standard Perth street not even in peak hour.


The drive out to our hotel was uneventful and took just over an hour the bulk of which was through areas which are really undeveloped, lots of rice paddies and open spaces with the occasional sprouts of “civilization” but it was actually a beautiful and relaxing start to the trip no stress or craziness or wondering are we going to hit the vehicle hurtling straight at as as we overtake which seems somewhat common in Indonesia. Mataram although we did not drive through the absolute heart of it we did go through some sections and it was considerably more built up than the rest of the island which is to be exepected however I would not term it as over developed and the buildings and level of people around I would describe as more getting out of the heart of Bali and into the more rural areas which is actually a nice feel compared to how busy Bali has become in the last few years.

As we got to Sengiggi knowing it was a main tourist area I expected to see more development and considerably more people there as although it is the beginning of the off season this typically still does see a reasonable amount of traffic in the rest of Indonesia before the rains really set in however it felt kind of like driving through a ghost town. There was minimal to light traffic on the roads, none of the typical stores, shops, and little sprout ups that you see elsewhere in Indonesia and there is actually reasonable spacing between each section along the main strip it was actually rather surprising. And given on the right of the main strip where we were staying is a huge hill it is all pretty much undeveloped so you are set with the coast dead ahead and a beautiful jungled hill behind you it is really a beautiful and relaxing end to a reasonable drive.


But as we were now at the hotel it was time to check in.

First impressions:

– Where are all the people
– Mostly unspoilt natural beauty everywhere
– Laid back, quiet and relaxing

Blue Eyes

On the train on the way to work today I sat opposite a woman that we mutually kept looking at each other, from my point of view it was due to the fact that her eyes hit me like a freight train.

If there is one thing that I know, it is sadness and it is something that I have seen reflected back at me over several years whenever I looked in a mirror through my own eyes but to see such a deep level of sadness from another that was controlling their outward appearance was truly staggering and I will admit feeling bad that someone had gotten to the point of feeling that way. Whilst we all have our stories and I do not know the circumstances around her or what drove home those feelings I couldn’t help but be moved.

Aside from the ode to the bear, owl and wolf that I still wish to write I felt the urge to write something and although it is unlikely that we will cross paths again it is my way of saying; Hey, I saw and I hope that things look up for you, and it is ok to not control your outward appearance all the time especially with emotions like that.

This is a departure from the standard structure that my poetry has taken since I have started writing yet, and if anyone wants to offer criticism please feel free; My focus with this was on the imagery and a disjointed approach to the structure.

 Blonde locks caressing a gentle face
you sit so close, yet oh so far.
Your eyes search mine
from across the way.

Such pain!

Eyes are gateways to our souls
the pain you hold shining as bright as day.
Unassuming gentle face
sadness and sorrow brighter than any star.

Sat so close, yet so far away
Remember; No rainbow without the rain!

Notes I jotted down for it:

Unassuming face
Blue clouded eyes
Sorrow and pain
Feeling Alone