We arrive at the ‘wherethefxxkarewe’ wharf at Lombok from Sumbawa. There were a number of locals standing/sitting around the end of the wharf as the car from tropical took the remaining guests from the boat to the new airport. It was pretty quiet after they left and we sat there for awhile before the car from ‘Heaven on the Planet’ (HOTP) resort turned up.
The drive to ‘Heaven on the Planet’ was excellent. We drove along quiet roads and through small villages until we finally reached the dirt/mud/quagmire road that turned off the bitumen to HOTP. It had been raining a few days ago and the road was wet, slippery, and muddy rutted with pools of water. The car slid this way and that with mud spraying everywhere. To me, a great car trip!
We arrived and settled into our rooms then went for surf. The waves were excellent. Later, we met the other four guys staying there. Amazingly, the four guys were the same guys from Melbourne that I had met there two years previously. They had arrived the day before but the road was unpassable when they came so they were shipped in by boat.
We/I spend the week, surfing, walking and cycling. The weather was very ugly for about four days with the wind blowing ferociously.
Commenting on the week, I decided that dividing it into the dark and bright side was the best way to describe my experience at Heaven.
The dark side of HOTP
The owner Kerry wasn’t there when we arrived. He stayed a few days then left again for a few days. Consequently, nothing actually got fixed or worked on while he was gone or not watching.
There were a lot of things to be fixed as the resort had been closed for the last few months. The beach was strewn with rubbish. This was partially cleaned up and the rubbish burned sending a plumb of smoke over the resort.
The pool was filthy with a resident frog population living there happily. It was worked on partially each day but after a week it was still unusable.
As time drew on other problems beset the place.
No water – water tank had a crack – so a water truck had to deliver water…remember the road!!!
The staff went on strike just before breakfast was ready for Paul and I so we had to cook our own breakfast. The only time I ever get seriously pissed off is when food is involved.
We asked for mountain bikes and they arrived after ½ day with no brakes on one bike. More bikes arrived the following day but Paul had left.
I asked for the windsurfers but they never arrived.
The roofs partially blew off a number of buildings.
Local repair work was hopeless and caused more mess/problems.
Certain foods ran out.
The usual spiders, scorpions and centipedes were in the rooms.
You had to firmly ask and persist for the boat to take us out to the breaks as the boat guys preferred to sit on their arse all day.
The laundry took a few days to come back and when it arrived it was still damp.
Okay, okay… what was I doing there if it was so bad??? Well that was the darkside and every darkside has a brightside
The bright side of HOTP
The owner, Kerry is a really nice guy. I like it him and despite the problems I consider them to be part of the indo experience. Kerry had me in stitches the way he would go off at the workers and later talk so fondly of them. He loves the place, his staff and locals. He treats them with the respect of a father-figure and they treat him like disobedient naughty children. I liked the way the good, the bad and the ugly blended together so well. Though I was pissed off about breakfast!!
The scenery at HOTP is very, very beautiful. The coastline, beaches and jungle are so pretty. There are so many paths/tracks leading all over the place. The walks along the beaches and through the jungle are an adventure.
When the mountain bikes finally arrived, I went on a long cycle ride through fields, villages, along the coastline and over flooded roads. It felt so remote yet safe, adventurous and fun. Early in the ride, I nearly tipped over and fell on a local lady. Her friend was laughing but she was clearly unamused. She called me ‘bodoh’ ‘idiot’ and gestured for me to go far away from her. I was very apologetic but I think it lacked true sincerity. At once stage, the road had disappeared under a lake. Luckily, an enterprising local solved my problem with a raft. He swam the raft with myself and the bike on top across the water for 10 000 R to where the road continued. At this point, I had started to have lots of talks with locals (not many people around for the first hour) – where are you from, why are you here, etc. I also had three marriage proposals. My wallet was very attractive, I think or am I wrong and it is just my natural charm and babe magnet techniques… nah it’s the wallet.
The surf can be okay to really good and lots of fun. The first two days were excellent – glassy with sizeable sets. There were only 6 of us surfing there in total. At the other break, there were only two of us out and when everyone had left there was only one out (moi). On the last day, the surfing was big and a bit scary with drowning a possibility. It was that big that the boat that normally motor out in tranquil waters barely made it through the shore break! The boat peaked over one wave at a 45 degree angle and landed with a thump that I thought would break it in two. They sit on their arse but they did a good jog ‘kerja baik’ that day.
There were people there for a while but most of the time I was there by myself. I quite enjoyed that time. It gives one time to be introspective and do the things you want to do when you want to do it.
Kerry gave me two free nights at a later date due to ‘problems’ that occurred.
This was my second time at HOTP and despite the problems ‘I’ll be back’. The first time there were no dark side problems. Luck of the draw like anywhere. The time on my own gave me the time to start feeling the Indo experience and adventure - talking with the locals and doing things that were different.
My trip was changing!