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Bali - Lombok
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One is famous all over the world, the other upcoming destination with natural beauty and competitive prices: Spring tour in two "earthly paradise" of Indonesia, which geographically are a short, but deep belong to different worlds
By probing looks, "tourist is it," he says, "all a treat it anyway in his pocket to buy me." In frustration, I just take out the camera and he brings the mouth of a can of Sprite and drain nervously. Click. He looks back up bored and spin with slight jumps in the company. Located 800 m above sea level, on the road that crosses the tropical maimoudodasos Pasak, in Lombok, Indonesia. And this was my acquaintance with a wild macaque, the kind the comme-il-faut guide Frommer's recommends careful because biting (when running for rabies injections).
"Here life is simple," says Mr. Chandradinata or Chandra, our tour guide on the island of 3.5 million people, located 25 miles east of Bali and some 30 years back in terms of tourism development. How simple? "If you provide three meals a day for your family, which means somewhere 25 kg rice per month, and she's got a bike, you're happy." He, as an experienced guide in an emerging destination that still live mainly from agriculture (Lombok means "red pepper" in the local dialect of Sasak, one of the 700 spoken in the 17,000 islands of the country), are better off than a worker who makes somewhere 800,000 rupees a month (or 60 euros). Na, say, deliver home English lessons, with 50,000 rupees a month, although offers facilities to the poorest children. "It's important to learn English, the future is knowledge," states categorically.
Echoume start early in the morning our tour from the Sheraton, one of the first resorts opened, twenty years ago, in Sengiggi. The most touristic part of the island stretches 30 km coastline, with beaches and bays, the nightlife, from bars with live music until pitch dark techno club with guest dj from Jakarta (everywhere, the Indonesian Bintang beer in a bottle is the most secure choice to drink). Our first stop, the popular market Gunung Sari, leave no doubt that we are in another world. The parking lot is full ... Ferrari. Not normal, of course, but lompokianes, the cidomo, carriages with horses that have disproportionate strength of their stature. As you get lost in the maze of countertops, you have to watch your step, resting, where He stands for a "social" photo here; eggs, vegetables there, beyond colorful spices at your feet tarpaulin edibles unspecified, everywhere women with shopping head and children, many children, voices, smells pierce nostrils ... Anything you need for an active awakening after nirvana (every) hotel, where everybody speak chamilofonos, sand combed every morning and fruits served cut into uniform slices.
The Chandra tells us about the wedding traditions of the island-the boy has to "steal" the girl and to pursue mediation of village chief for the amount you pay parents for her hand-and head to Teluk Kodeq, a sandy port from where speedboats depart for the islands of Gili. Until a few years ago were "hermitage" of backpackers, but now marching on the road and these tourism 'high level'. Alight 10 minutes after the biggest of the three, the Gili Trawangan, and staff of Villa Ombak, «the first international hotel on the magical island" greets us wearing our necklace of flowers.
Although Gili T, briefly, is not so ... bulk wave in such old, still keeps its character. Here there are no cars, only bicycles and carts. The setting is typically "heavenly" - dense vegetation, sandy beach, turquoise water, heat, luckily bearable. Life revolves around from the beach, from here start diving or snorkeling and come back here for xapla, food, drink, massage and ride. "It's the first time you come? 'Ask us something evgenestata kids - their teacher has assigned to get opinions and autographs (!) Tourists. "Where;» «Yunan, Greece». "Like our island?" Yes, we like, especially when the boat takes us to the open sea, to gaze at the spectacular coral reef and dive in waters more transparent, cool and more delicious than the shallow beach. Back at Teluk Kodeq, before sourouposei, something other PITSIRIKAKI, stark naked, greet us and show the most spectacular dives using a bound anglers rig. Click meant.
To Lombok recommended in the tourist market as a "more pure, more cheap» Bali. In fact, the proximity of an island's most prominent, more developed, richer and more powerful historical (the Balinese had conquered in the 18th century) is the blessing and the curse. Before 100 years and counting, the English naturalist Wallace noted that Lombok is located just where the Asian oikozoni succeed the Australian and differs in flora and fauna. The climate is slightly drier, even in the rainy season, October through December. Otherwise, it has pristine forests and waterfalls to explore, is the sacred volcano Rinjani at 3,726 meters (for the adventurous, organized ascent takes two or three days and reveals a miracle of nature, the vast lake Senara Anak or 'child sea ", situated in the crater) has its own" surf place, "such as beach Kuta (mere coincidence and Balinese).
Also prides itself on its artisan tradition, the most impressive piece of wedding songkat, brocaded sarong worn as a dress and get up to six weeks to complete, with a technique that is taught from generation to generation. The hamlet Sukarara is the place to look - and 'You have in mind that you will be asked a million rupees, some 80 euros, but if you haggle urgent and difficult that you leave, you will not pay even half ...
But most importantly, that largely determines the life and character of the island, is religion. The Sasak, almost 90% of the population is Muslim, with Hindu and animistic influences. The well-preserved village visited Sade is the place where you will meet their lifestyle: marry only among themselves, make your floors from elephant dung (no, no smell) and features homes from wood, bamboo and grass on the roof without nails or metal tools (an ancient standard bioclimatic architecture). The men and boys are left out of the home, many women follow the tradition of 'black teeth' also found elsewhere in Asia, and if anyone overlook the fact that sell fabrics and other trinkets to tourists will leave with the feeling that caught a glimpse of a culture that resists flattening of time ...
So when it really? Leaving from the Lombok, seeing in depth the construction site of the new international airport, which will serve Boeing 747 and some 2.5 million visitors a year. Furthermore, an Arab consortium plans to build a new town with resorts and villas, golf courses and whatever else wants the soul of Western tourists. Many visitors-bloggers writing on the internet that the best time to go to someone in Lombok is now. In a few years, may be a second Bali.
The net flight time to Denpasar is surprisingly shorter than that required to walk from the lobby-blockbuster Balinese Ayodya as my room. Located in Nusa Dua, the gated peninsula in the south of the island, which is skewered many different mega-resorts - the gate will stop mandatory for unobtrusive monitoring of cab from security personnel, as memories of the terrorist attacks of 2002 and 2005 are still fresh. The size of the hotel is surreal-to turn around its artificial lake want half an hour-but even more surreal is the fact that previously we eat very stuffed! To Pantarei, in Seminyak, the way its chic boutiques, design shops and jewelers, fortunately no flags and tsoliadakia and serves fine Greek food, and the name of the show from irakleiteia saying ... As you will see in the coming days, however, the first thing that comes to mind when they hear the Balinese are not Greek Heraclitus, but Panatinaikos and Olimpiakos, viewing from satellite the Champions League.
Hetero ... Greek element of Bali is Marilena Vlataki. Protorthe here twenty years ago with a baby in her arms, moved, divorced, married Prince AA NGR Cusdarma Putra (the title held here quite a few descendants of the royal caste, who came from Java), the learned Greek, gained other two Children. They have travel agency while she is a fashion designer, has boutiques, manatzarei villas and hotels, solves ties for Greeks traveling to Bali.
Having even my ears the hum of the night in Legian, where the clubs do battle with their radios, taxis phish customers motorbikes buzzing between, flushed Australians xesalonoun the Bounty and Balinese 'brides' drink with a straw from something jugs (!) with mysterious contents, asking if Marilena agrees that Bali has "spoiled" compared with what the charmed twenty years ago. "What do you mean?" He asks. What I mean, really? Guess, nothing more than what is "broken" and any other tourist place in the world, including the most popular Greek islands. And "spoiled" in the eyes of Western travelers who would prefer to enjoy completely "virgin" places on holiday, inhabited by indigenous dealing only with crops and handicrafts, closing their ears to the sirens of tourism profits ... or least developed only within the strict rules of sustainability would be breaking the first we, in the developed world.
Nevertheless, the issue with Bali is that still has reserves of natural beauty, which gives guests the impression that they are living a life experience - I realize the next day, to rafting, a route nine kilometers in the sacred Ayung River . «Brostaaaa!» Gives the precept Nyoman, the driver - our governor. And to you we, two Greeks and a couple from Australia, we do paddle, wet to the bone than jubilant to avoid the «boom boom» in sharp rocks lurking every few meters.
There is no need to worry though, because Nyoman, who insists on calling him "Paul Newman", but in fact one of the four common names of Balinese tradition (note Later-born), he knows the river well enough and the boat to handles and «boom boom» to avoid (or to deliberately cause to laugh) and the comic talent unfolding teasing. Let that this simple route seems to be a breeze. In the most difficult, he says, there are "falling" three meters if the inflatable cajole fewer than four times, and have to say thanks.
Fortunately for the aftertaste of "authentic Balinese adventure" us and knows when to keep silent, to let us absorb all the suggestiveness of the landscape - tropical and apparently untouched forest that rises steeply around us, hidden waterfalls whipped back, the elaborate carvings on the steep cliffs from the moss resemble ancient (slightly below we see artists hung on bamboo scaffolding to carve). And not to forget, each time with both in all this emerges and a luxury than integrated into the landscape resort, than what they promise absolute isolation Newlyweds and beyond. All and all, this two-hour, even organized contact with the Balinese life I will remember a lifetime (along the 200 steps it took to climb on, from the shore as our base). As you will remember that it costs about as much as a half hour jet ski at one of the tourist beaches of our beloved Greece ...
Which, I confess, alluded many times on this trip that brought me, in the midst of the economic crisis on the other side of the world. What I saw is that my euros suddenly obtained another value. And I am not on par with the Indonesian currency which exceeds 14,200 rupees per euro, turning on automatically millionaire every time they change our own katostariko. I walked into stunning five star hotels with all the amenities one can imagine where the overnight cost (regardless of what is written in the door) from 40 to 70 euros and the hourly massage generally extremely spa from 20 to 40 euros. I found myself haggling for a few tens of thousands of rupees and eventually leaves loaded with pareo, handmade souvenirs, soaps and Balinese coffee (dynami!), having spent less than 20 euros all together ...
Okay, not everything is rosy. O wild enthusiasm of the famous Kuta, for instance, is something you can see once out of curiosity, but not the second. Anyway, it is not mandatory to get someone from there. It can, however, close a car with driver (20 to 25 euros a day) for trip to Ubud, the Kallitechnoupoli inland, or get them harrow photographed temples, where women also photographed, come balancing head disks with offers , banten, the ... invisible their fellow villagers - dead ancestors, gods and demons. And if you stand "lucky" as we can on the sidelines of a ceremony to live and excitement after a cockfight gambling - barbaric spectacle, do not say, except afthentikotato residue of a tradition that is slowly dying.
I do not know if a tourist clichés on their smiling Balinese, but the taxi driver who introduced himself as Buddhi and offered to turn here and there a whole breakfast for 15 euros because it was slack and did not require another race remained smiling throughout the course even when my questions on everyday threatening to spoil the fun. Fortunately, work and wife, cashier in a restaurant, so they cope with two children; several times, the month ends before the money ran out. In high season, he says, is whether earning 3000000 rupees (200 euros and something). However, they managed to build houses on a piece of land granted an uncle somewhere 80,000,000 cost, 5,800 euro's to say. Informs him that the money does an Athenian apartment would build 50 houses, smile momentarily freezes and agree that everywhere, even in earthly "paradise", life is a struggle.
HOW TO GET THERE
• The Singapore Airlines gives you the opportunity to experience both islands together and always fascinating, multifaceted city of Singapore, a ticket: combining two nights in Singapore, three in three and Lombok to Bali with air tickets and tours, will cost 910 euros, excluding taxes. Alternatively, a combination of two nights in Singapore and three in Lombok honored 710 euros, excluding taxes. If you want to book your own hotel on the islands, you can take advantage of our Fabulous Singapore Stopover, paying by 1-31 euros for the first night stay in Singapore, depending on the index ... luxury you want to have your hotel. Information at www.singaporeair.com, tel: 9011 404011 (charge 1,19 euro / min) and 210-92.22.192 (ticket bookings).
• The flight to Singapore takes about 10.5 hours, which you might find fewer thanks to the service and at 90 + movies to choose from, and from there on Lombok, with Silk Air, a subsidiary of Singapore, about 2.5 hours. From Lombok to Bali or 20 minutes. Note that to enter Indonesia, need visa, which costs $ 25 and to exit, you will pay 75,000 rupees (about 6 euros) airport tax.
WHERE TO STAY
The choice is limited to lodging the writer visited - it is understood that there are countless others, especially in Bali, where luxury has no limits. Rates quoted are official for double room with breakfast. In fact, you can ensure much lower, up to 40%, but at least the economic crisis affects occupancy.
Sheraton Senggigi Beach Resort
Constant value, human scale (mutatis mutandis), welcoming and beautiful garden, private beach, etc. From 78 euros.
Santosa Villa & Resort
Modern rooms and villas and all the other "package" of amenities. From 75 euros.
Novotel Lombok (www.novotel.com)
Beach Kuta, with all the comforts and traditional - bioclimatic architecture (like STROUMFOHORIO!) From 40 euros.
(Look in particular at www.bali-hotels.info)
On the island of Gili T, with various room types (the best patio, semi-outdoor bathroom and private swimming pool). Is undergoing expansion. From 60 euros.
Ayodya Beach Resort
Huge, luxurious, built around an artificial lake, popular with Greeks. Offers from playground to Balinese theater. From 80 euros.
Villa Majapahit Sanur (www.majapahitbeachvillas.com)
Luxury beachside villa with garden and pool, six-membered groups, each with ten member staff for your every desire. From 375 euros.
In the northwestern part of the island, surrounded by nature, far away from the crowds, but closer to the absolute peace. From 90 euros.
Exclusive accommodation in traditional villas lost in tropical vegetation, above the Ayung River and close to Ubud. From 235 euros.
WHERE TO EAT
In any good hotel and if you stay, you will find safe and delicious dishes of international and local cuisine in a variety of buffet. If you wish Greek, the Pantarei in Bali (JL. Raya Seminyak 17 - A) will cover the above.
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