December 12th 1983

posted in: The way back | 0

Not exactly unspoilt

In order to try + solidify the contents of my stomach, breakfast consisted of a very thick + clinging porridge, which did the trick, temporarily anyway, in that I felt able to travel.  First tho,’ we took a bemo down to Penelokan, the town overlooking Trunyan, since we didn’t relay feel we’d done the place justice yesterday.  It turned out to be a pointless trip tho’, since we did nothing more today than we had done yesterday, just stood at the viewpoint + looked down.  We then had a drink at a local café (the lady tried to convince me the Fanta was cold by holding it under the tap) + then, as I was feeling stronger, we walked back.  This too was a mistake, as it was much further than we’d remembered.  Still, we struggled back, collected our bags, + got out on the road to collect a bemo.  One pulled up pretty quickly, but we were stunned by the amount of money they were asking + sent them on their way.  This may have been a m mistake.  By the usual standards here, it was a very long time before another one appeared, + they asked the same preposterous amount for the trip.  This time, we acceded, + were somehow squeezed in to the already crowded bus.  Our perch was precarious tho’ – it was a modern minibus, very plush, but in order to pack in more passengers they had added a tiny wooden bench immediately behind the front seat, + on this we sat, if sat can accurately describe our position.  It was made doubly worse by being situated right over the engine.  Not only was there a constant blast of hot air, but any metal struts in the area were scaldingly hot.  Still ,we survived.  Other than those privations, it was an unremarkable journey, tho’ it grew violently hotter as we came down out of the mountains to the coast.

We were dropped off in Singgaraja, the next stage in our journey, right outside the Post Office, so we took advantage of this fact to post off our weekly card to our mothers, to let them know of our whereabouts.  The Post Office was full, once again, of scantily-clad Australians.  The only other thing of note in the rather barren room was that somehow Vick’s had obtained sole right to advertise their products on the wall there, so, incongruously among the notices advising weight limits, prices etc, were coloured posters promoting Vapour Rub, Nasal Spray, etc.  Strange.

Obtained a bemo to take us to Lovina beach fairly quickly, but there then followed quite a charade.  We were the first on, se we had to obtain more passengers to make the trip worthwhile (what a relief they don’t operate like that in England), + the next 3 on were 3 Aussies.  We now proceeded to cruise the town to tout for more custom – this was bad enough, but our fellow-travellers’ comments were worse.  I wish they could have just shut up + suffered in silence, but I suppose that is a particularly British virtue…. + vice.  Eventually, another couple of people were enticed aboard, enough to satisfy some sort of minimum requirement, + we were off.

It was a mere 10 kms to Lovina, but it soon became apparent that the bemo was suffering, + would have great difficulty making it.  Eventually, we ground to a halt, + the front seat passengers were evicted, the front seat lifted, + the engine looked at.  So far as I could tell, nothing more concrete was done, but I suppose it cooled down a little.  Anyway, the front seat + passengers were replaced, + with the help of a push from the assistant, we were on our way.  Only for the whole business to be repeated after another couple of hundred metres – this time I lent a hand to get the thing moving again.  But it was useless, + 3 or 4 hundred metres more, we stopped again, this time for good…at least as far as we were concerned.  We had been brought more than half-way tho’, so I gave the driver half the agreed amount, + Val + I started to walk.  Before very long tho’, another bemo came along, with our Aussie co-travellers in the back, + it was apparently prepared to take us the remaining distance for Rp 50, so on we hopped.

Lovina is  not a town as such, just a stretch of beach, with losmen + small restaurants dotted along it at uncertain intervals.  We simply climbed down from the bemo when the others did, that seeming to be as sensible a place as any other, + went into one of the restaurants for a much-needed cold drink.  I left Val sitting there while I checked the available, losmen within a short distance.  My first choice was full, but there was another, the Nirwana, very close + right on the beach, + tho’ it wasn’t the cheapest around, it certainly wasn’t expensive either, so I took it.  During the rest of the afternoon, we took it easy, sitting at Nirwana’s beachside restaurant, drinking coke, after which I had a swim.  Not my sort of ocean – the water was calm + flat, + hence uninteresting, as well as being too warm.

In the evening we went to Johni’s, a restaurant further along the beach which had been highly recommended.  I was fascinated to see one item on the menu was “Buble and Squeack”, so I ordered that, while Val ordered a dish consisting chiefly of fried potato slices.  My B + S tho’ was a vast disappointment.  Some of the right ingredients were there, tho’ these were also joined by some extraordinary companions, but it wasn’t fried to have a crisp brown crust,  but was rather a warm + soggy mess.  Val’s dish was tastier, +, as on so many other occasions, I found myself desiring the dish on the other side of the table (by which I don’t mean Val) instead of my own.  There could be no complaints about the size of the portions however – they were both mountainous.

The usual sort of hassles when travelling (at least so far as we are concerned, but maybe that’s just us.) But particularly galling to have a machine that breaks dwon… three times.

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