Saturday, June 16, 2012

INDONESIA - sumbawa - lakey 2012

After Balangan, we (family) flew to Bima Sumbawa for a week at Lakey (Hu’u).
The flight was fine and there were no problems until we went to get into the car for Lakey. The car was old with no air conditioning. Not what we paid for/expected. It seemed to be a massive problem to get another car for us. The biggest problem came when they put the surfboards on top of the car. The rack was old and rusted and couldn’t hold the boards. They only had one old strap to tie the boards on with and it kept breaking as they tried to fasten it. A stalemate was reached. Eventually, they gave in and got good rope and tied the boards to the roof rather than the rack. J wasn’t happy with the car but I felt better about the boards.
We got to Aman Gati hotel in Lakey with no dramas. I complained to the manager about the car but he just stared at me through his dark glasses and made no response. I asked him if he cared and he said he did. But that was the end of it. Great manager!
On the way to our room, some guests told us that there were electrical problems and the air conditioning wasn’t working or working intermittently. It was working fine in our room though it did stop occasionally. We complained to the manager, who told us that he knew and that many people were complaining and it was very difficult for him. After his sob story I told him I cared.
Those dramas happened on day one and after that it was fine for us.

We have been to Lakey before and love the place. It has beautiful white sand beaches, nice locals, a sleepy  feel to it, a few ’restaurants’, good food, a variety of reef surfing breaks, good snorkelling and a mixture of western tourists.

I did a lot of surfing, swimming and snorkelling. Chloe joined me for some snorkels. There was a lot of fish and some nice corals. We snorkelled at Nungas and Lakey.  I even snorkelled out to the surf break and videoed guys surfing form the water. Lots of fun! At low tide, we walked over the reefs which are mainly flat.

The surfing was good and the crowd spread out over a number of breaks which are accessible by walking and motorbike. You can hire bikes or a bike and a driver. I chose the latter as they look after your gear and take photos/videos. On one day, we hired bikes for all of us and rode around the villages in the area. It was a lot of fun. I met and chatted with a few of the elders in one village as they were leaving the mosque. They were about the same age as me but a bit contrast in looks and dress but a commonality in friendliness.
The walks were great at dawn and sunset. The locals come alive in the morning with fishing boats setting off, people collecting seaweed and others getting ready for the day. In the evening everyone tended to relax, talk and sit around.

The social scene at the Aman Gati was the pool. There were lots of people to meet from various parts of the world. We met people from Australia, England, Brazil, France and Indonesia. It was mainly small talk but after a number of small talks you got to know some people better and even shared meals together.

We met a number of people who had interesting stories to tell:
The donut lady
One of the local ladies sells donuts and gives massages. Her English is limited and with my limited Indonesian I managed to work out that she had two children. A son and daughter who go to university in Lombok. She pays for their fees, living, etc through her two businesses. She sells donuts for 2 000 rupiah so that’s a lot of donuts to make ends meet. The university fees were relatively very high. What we do for our kids!
The yachty
I watched a young fellow disembark form a tinny on the beach. Later, I met and chatted with him at dinner. He had been sailing his yacht around the Indonesian islands for the last 5 years off and on. He doesn’t charter the boat but his wife and friends join him at various times. He was a very pleasant fellow who had set himself up very nicely for his dream. Good one!
The bike guys
Along Lakey, there a numerous guys hiring bikes to tourists. I’ve gotten to know a few of these guys better over the last three visits, especially, Harry, Jay and Mickey. These are not their real names but I haven’t as yet been able to get their true identities. Harry mainly works in the fields and comes out on his bike when I’m there. His English is very limited and I kind of liked that. We have had some good rides around the area – met his family, visited his rice fields and sat around and talked. This year he only turned up sporadically. I found out that he thought he was dying but he had only a sore throat so I visited him at home in Hu’u and gave him a pre mixed bottle of betadine gargle. In a few days he was fine. I saved Harry’s life! He owes me!

The little girl
While snorkelling with Chloe we met a small girl on the water’s edge. Chloe and her struck up a friendship and I  translated when possible. The amazing thing was her size. We thought she was about 7 but she was 11. She also was stunned to hear Chloe was 16. As it was most times we were at Nungas she would appear and sit and chat with Chloe.

The other kids in the area hung close by and seemed keen to join us. They appeared a bit shy. After a day or two, I spoke with them and their families where the land meets the sea and had a few basic conversations.


All in all a good trip - no big dramas, relaxing, good surf, good snorkelling and nice people.

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