I am sitting here on our balcony and it is such a nice day. The sea is a beautiful shade of stunning blue enticing me in for a swim. Ok I’m not that dumb.. we are on the sixth floor of this ship, sailing in the Indian Ocean.
Our trip so far has been uneventful in the scheme of trips.. well, Lombok Indonesia wins ‘hands down’ as the worst taxi ride ever.. beating out Peru! Between scooters carrying whole families and horses pulling carts and everyone vying to travel on the center line.. I swear that the death toll must be highest from road kills.. really!
No road signs , no traffic lights .. just horns. The weird part is that these roads are smooth as glass and not ONE POTHOLE anywhere! Lombok is an island east of Bali with a population of 3.5 million 70% Muslims. A very poor country and garbage everywhere. It is just a ferry ride across from Bali . The ocean was for surfers in Bali and we did not even venture close to it.
Our initial shock from the ride wears off and we are determined to find a beach to do some snorkeling. The ride to the beach brings us more misgivings about wandering off by ourselves.. why do we do this? It will be our own fault if something bad happens but that never seems to stop us…
Tours arranged by the ship are pricey and we like to live on the edge (cheap edge). Always get a driver that speaks some english when you hire a taxi, oh.. and make sue he doesn’t switch out when you get in it, like ours did.
After a harrowing one hour ride through crowded narrow streets and rundown neighborhoods, past rice paddies and what looks like corn fields, we arrive at the beach. Zennegi beach.. we are skeptical about this place but we spot a resort and head towards it along the ocean.
We set up homestead rights once there..at a table overlooking the ocean, on the beach, we order lunch and a drink to ‘pay for the rights’ to our corner. We don’t see anyone from the ship, these people are young and have great looking bodies in skimpy bikinis.. too bad we left ours in ‘yester-year’.
Remember that time when we had the perfect body and the winkle free skin.. the sun was our friend and alcohol liked us too? Na..me either.. I never had a perfect body and alcohol always made me sick as a dog, I must have been allergic.. ya.. that’s it!
It is time for a swim and along comes a local with snorkeling gear for rent .. wow.. right on cue. We negotiate a five dollar price for two hours. I see a little outcropping of rocks and the tide is coming in. My expectations are not high so when I spot all these wonderful multicolored fish just below the surface I am so freaking happy!
The current quickly takes me away while I am gazing at the variety of fish and wishing I had an underwater camera. My swimming skills are fairly decent but I soon realize I am no match for this current. Snorkel guy is waving at me to get back to the rocks while I am alarmed at how fast I am losing ground .
There are no lifeguards but I manage my way back to the outcropping of rocks and make sure to stay inland close to shore .. even so, I need to push myself along using the coral rocks to steer back every once in awhile. Carelessness on these coral rocks could cause deep cuts so I am extra careful.
I spotted two fish that I have never seen before and I follow them around and just enjoy this magical moment. A feeling of utter joy and contentment envelopes me and I am at one with my surroundings. Life just comes down to the simple things sometimes.. doesn’t it?
Maybe I should be living by the ocean seeing as how it brings me such peace and comfort. These ocean cruises are not about the entertainment or the food.. for me it is all about the ocean. Like right now.. sitting on my balcony with the ocean gently rolling past.. the possibilities of spotting dolphins or whales.
Yesterday before leaving Broome (I am getting ahead of myself here) we spotted a shark, followed shortly after by three large mantra stingrays .. each a different color. We had spent the day at Cable beach in Broome. I had been alerted that there could be sharks, so I stayed close to my girlfriend, to lessen my odds …lol. She thought I was being thoughtful because she is not a good swimmer.
Everything is cheap in Indonesia but the poverty is unrelenting. These places are so impoverished maybe the time has come for me to leave them alone. We give them a reason to beg and it is just an awful feeling trying to ignore them and not be generous. We cannot help everyone and helping one at the expense of another is not good either…
I have no answers…
To be continued…