October 3rd: Day 3 of Octosober so far so good. Today I got up at 5am and cleaned all the inside of the windows, all the couches and benches, amazing how many little tops there are. Especially in the pilot house. They are all covered in the non-slip matting and it traps the dust so is a never ending job keeping it clean. Robbie has organised for the local marina staff to clean the boat – exterior – today, top to bottom for 1,400,000 rupiah. ($140) Once they arrived and he got them started we hired a car and driver for the day to do a bit of sight- seeing and some shopping. 600,000 rupiah for the whole day. ($60) Heidi came along for the ride. Our driver was called Sonni, he is 30 years old and only has one wife, but is allowed to have up to 4 wives he told us!
First of all once we got into the main street we saw these tiny ponies with carts, called Lombok Ferrari’s!! They can be people movers or anything really. I was a bit sad as none of the ponies looked very happy. Some of them had bright decorations on their bridles, and they nearly all had blinkers on. They would need them too with the millions of scooters that are zipping everywhere at a million miles an hour!
We proceeded through some beautiful country and rainforest to the Monkey Forest. As we were driving through the forest we started seeing monkeys right on the side of the road, in fact some on them were actually on the road. We stopped a one of the little roadside stalls that are everywhere and brought some peanuts in the shells to be able to handfeed the monkeys. As we came round one corner there was a quite large male having sex with a female, they were standing up and he was going for it from behind like there was no tomorrow! Rather amusing.
We pulled over at the top of the hill and there were a lot of monkeys just waiting to be fed. They come up quite close to you which is a bit daunting actually due to the rabies factor but I had the peanuts ready to give them and I was ready to jump back in the car if I had to. They eagerly grabbed the nuts out of my hands. Robbie was taking photos but also had a packet of nuts he was handing out, as he leant down to take a photo a large male aggressively snatched the packet of nuts out of his hand and scampered up a tree! It happened so fast! There were lots of little babies and some were suckling off their Mama’s. It was lovely and they are very cute, and very human like. One of them was drinking out of a water bottle when we arrived. Once the nuts were gone I jumped back in the car as I didn’t want to risk getting bitten. We didn’t have rabies shots and probably should have.
We continued driving through the country side which was quite pretty in places, there were rice paddies, tobacco, corn, tomatoes and soya bean fields. Lots of mosques and we saw the biggest mosque which is being built, so far it has taken 2 years. It is very big and very beautiful and is being subsided by a big American mining company called Neumann Mining for 50% of the cost. They are mining on a nearby island.
We headed into the city Mataram, Robbie was most excited to see KFC and McDonalds! (Don’t know why we hardly ever eat it at home) Any way while he topped up our phone and internet credit, (and snuck a McDonald’s burger) Heidi and I went for a wander through the shopping mall. Lots of western style shops and we saw a guy making canvas prints from photos, on a large machine in the middle of the mall. Takes a few minutes and costs 15,000 rupiah for a large one. ($1.50)
We stopped at a restaurant called the Cow shed for lunch. The owner a Dutch guy, came out and greeted us. It was quite sad actually as we were the only people dining there. The food was lovely, we both had tenderloin steaks and they were very very tender. After lunch we headed into the city again and went to the Hypermarket, which is where we were told was the best food shopping. We were a bit disappointed actually, it wasn’t that good and the fruit and vege were a bit old. On the way back we had the first shower of rain for the season and it was quite heavy. Not good for the many motorcycles but very good for everything else. We came back along the coastal road and it was really lovely. Lots of Hotels and resorts on the beachfront, Sengiggi is a nearby town that is very touristy and there were lots of shops and cafes and tourists. The most we have seen so far in Indonesia.