Leaving Ubud our plan was to tour around Bali towards the east. We bought bus tickets at the Ubud tourist office to our destination and we were off. Except when the bus stopped at small sea side port and we were asked to get out...It was the end of the line and we weer not at our planned destination. Looking at the tickets again the damn tourist "police" had written down this port not where we wanted to go. And of course here some taxi bus mafioso was demanding a months salary to take us 20 Kms...so what ot do. This port, Padangbai is actually the port from which ferries leave for the next island to the east, Lombok. So for 4$ a piece we boarded an ancient metal barge and traveled the 70 Kms east ...it took almost 7 hours but we didnt sink so thats good :)
So Lombok is the largely Muslim and less visited neighbour of largely Hindu Bali. Tourism hasnt really taken hold here other that reach the diving/ snorkeling/ partying paradise Gilli Islands off its coast. The Gilli Islands have no police...Something the Bali 9 should have thought about. They are building an "International Airport" here and all those clinging desperately to the tourist industry are very excited about. I think it might bring more evil than good with it. Lombok is poor and though life in the tropics may appear easy, men, women, children and small ponies toil daily through the movements of subsistence farming. No one has it easy, contrary to some opinions i have heard. The land is beautiful though and people are more genuinely happy to see you.
So I met a breed of entrepreneur I hadn't met before until now. Apparently they are quite common here on the islands, namely a guy ( 35 going on 17) in the business of fulfilling the tropical dreams of some rather desperate European woman and he living off the perks, food, drink, and even a house. He is happy to hustle tourists to hotels/ services etc and play reagee music, but these woman are determined to make some cultured responsible adult out of him ( maybe not so responsible). An interesting sociological observation. What I did learn through this whole experience is that Locally brewed palm wine tastes like liking some animal and Lombok Belly feels like digesting gravel. I can not imagine child birth being worse. You can tell, I did not enjoy Lombok as wished I would. I am glad to be back in Padangbai which is actually a great little fishing village with beautiful snorkeling, good food and baaadddd live bands. Think drunk frat boys singing, though they are neither drunk nor in a frat :@.