Sunday, 13 June 2010

Lombok 1

This is a huge wedding procession with musicians and dancers. The bride is under the first umbrella, the groom is somewhere under the second one:

A local village in a picturesque settings, zoom in into lower part and you see a common Asian problem, and I am not talking about that boy there :)

An eccentric (as Lonely Planet calls him) New Zealander, Husin Abdullah (in previous life: Gavin Birch) has been living here for the last 25 years and fighting for the environment ever since. Losing battle, if you ask me...

And around tourists a sort of mafia style infrastructure has emerged. In other parts of Asia you have to fight for a fair price if you want to go from A to B, but if they realise that you know the price - they will give it to you. Not so in Lombok - either you pay what they demand or you are not going to get to B.

My neighbours, a Spanish couple, had this experience: on a ferry here they got to know a local man who offered to take them to Singigi (50km) for free. As they were navigating out of parking lot they were surrounded by a group of angry men demanding Spanish out of the car and making threats to the driver. In this particular case they managed to drive away safely. I paid.

If you want to clime the highest mountain here, Rinjani (3726m), regulations are (or so they claim) - you have to have a local guide. Who only available to you if you pay $100 per head, and there are usually four of us in a group. (Remember Hita from Lake Toba, her husband, a fisherman, is earning $50 per month). If you talk privately to a guide (who is getting a small fraction of this bonanza) he would have loved to do it for us and charge us much less, but it is not possible. Is it against regulation? - No. Why don't we just do it then? - Not possible. Indeed, nobody wants to upset that big fat guy...

Unrelated story: a Swiss guy buys two hotels, hires two managers and goes back to Europe. A year later when profits stopped showing up he comes to investigate and finds that he does not have any hotels. His ownership has been transferred to other people. He is still around, fighting his case in courts, good luck to him...

But all that is under the bonnet. The fa├žade, and you have to agree with me, is beautiful :)


  1. i've seen Husin Abdullah on Indonesia's TV Show, he was dead on 18th of august 2010.
    he's one of good people that i've known.
    Thx for your blog post..

  2. Oh my God...

    He had a purpose in life - not many of us have...