|Coconut time on Kuta Beach, Lombok|
One of the questions that Roland asked me after we decided to visit Lombok was, “Will I be able to get The Australian?”
After I stopped laughing I said, “You may get one somewhere but there’s no guarantee that it will be today’s or even this week’s.”
“Oh well, I’ll be able to watch the news on TV.” I said I doubted we would have TV where we were staying (we didn’t).
At the end of our holiday I asked him, “Did you miss the newspaper and TV?” After a pause Roland agreed that he had not; well not really.
Our first night in Kuta we spent at Heavenly Homestay, which is right next door to Yuli’s Homestay – where we stayed for the rest of the time. There is a Mosque very close by. The first morning the Muezzin sounded as though he was standing right in the room. The loudspeakers on top of the Mosque are pointed directly at Heavenly Homestay. There is more to this story. Sometimes they use a recording and sometimes the Muezzin is ‘live’. The current Imam just happens to be a bit deaf so he turns up the sound. By the time we left, we were more-or-less used to the early morning Call to Prayer and on the final morning, Roland even slept through it.
One night we were awoken by a strange call. I thought it may be a monkey. Roland thought it was an owl. In the event it turned out to be a gecko – this is the best sound recording I could find. The call is loud, much louder than you’d think a small reptile could make. Other night noises were mainly dogs squealing, barking and fighting. Lombok dogs are legion, many more in Kuta (South coast) than in Senggigi (more tourists – less dogs). Some of the dogs look much like dingoes but the big difference is that dingoes don’t bark. I found them to be aggressive. They are covered in sarcoptic and/or demodectic mange and riddled with parasites. As far as I could see, very few are looked after or owned by anyone. Many of these dogs live on the beach and shelter from the sun under the fishing boats. I understand that they eat almost anything – including coconuts. I believe rabies is not common in Lombok.
We only see two cats, both small, multi-coloured (torties) with the funny little curly tail similar to Bali cats. The cats are timid and only visit in the early morning. I watch them as I do my asana practice on the verandah of our room.
Each morning, I greet the staff as they pass by to start work for the day, “Salamat pagi!” and their response, “Pagi!” The exchange of greetings lifts my spirits even as I think about it.