Finally we’ve left Australia! We’re in Lombok, Indonesia which is an island to the east of Bali. We’ve had a full week here now and starting to settle in. The house we’ve rented for the month is in a gated community with a guard on duty all the time, however just outside the gate the Senggigi society awaits us everyday!
When we first arrived we noticed the rubbish everywhere and the half finished or falling down building and infrastructure and the way some people live – however today I realized that my eyes are no longer seeing these things! Instead I see beauty in the chaos and the genuine warmness in the smiles of the locals. It’s as if my eyes have adjusted to take in what really matters – the people and the spirit of Lombok!
After a week even the hawkers in Senggigi are recognizing us and having a chat rather than trying to sell us stuff all the time. We managed to get a lift in the back of a ute the other day, which had many locals in fits of laughter – riding in the back of utes is generally the domain of local workers getting from one place to another, so 5 westerners obviously treating it like a carnival ride was quite a sight! Now we’re even eating in the local cafe (warung – small stall) near our house and by the smiles and second looks we’re getting I’m not too sure many other westerners eat there – they make a really good nasi goreng for about $1.
The main religion on Lombok is Muslim – you can hear the call to prayer on a regular basis – which is actually very nice! Plus our little gated community have their own prayer room where the parents and kids gather to prayer each day. There are also quite a few people here who are Hindu’s and you find gorgeous little temples and offerings all over the place.
One of the reasons for us to stay in a house for a month in each country is so we can really experience life in that country and not just as a tourist. We ate lunch at a lovely beachside hotel on the weekend and noted that many of the hotel guests would take small trips outside the hotels purified boundaries to engage with the real Lombok and then return to the sanctuary of the hotel. This is not the sort of experience our adventure is all about!
We consider ourselves travellers rather than tourists! We would rather immerse ourselves as much as possible into the culture so we can fully appreciate all it has to offer. Yes, we’re in a gated community but that hasn’t stopped the kids making friends with all the kids in our neighbourhood. They share their bikes with our kids, spend hours running around outside playing and learning from each other (Tash has found she’s a bit of a novelty with a few of the teenaged boys wanting to have their photos taken with her all the time ;-)).
One of the things that has amazed us the most is just how quickly our kids have picked up Indonesian words – people are right, language is best learnt through immersion and kids learn faster.. The big secret I think is that they ‘want’ to learn, they’re hungry for the next words so they can communicate. It’s truly awesome to watch them acquire new words – while Simon and I struggle to remember even the basics – terima kasih – thank you 🙂
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