My final day in Indonesia probably seems unremarkable in the grand scheme of things. I didn’t do or see anything I haven’t done before, but still I think it may have been my favourite day so far.
Wiebke wanted her ears candled in the hopes it would help her be able to dive when she got to her next destination. We set off down the beach front to a massage place and were introduced to Ani, a small, sunshiney Indonesian lady who ran the place. Whilst Wiebke disappeared to sort her ears out, I opted for a sasak massage with Ani’s sister, which is something akin to being beaten up by a small Asian lady who doesn’t look like she should be up to the task. I can’t abide massages where you come out feeling like you’ve essentially been stroked for an hour, so for me this was perfect!
Massages take place in little bamboo huts, shaded by woven walls and beautiful sarongs. There are flowers growing in bamboo hangers all around and, just as my massage began, someone somewhere started playing the guitar. Heaven.
The mysterious guitar player turned out to be Kevin, a guitar teacher. So Ani’s sister handles the massage side of things..Kevin offers guitar lessons…what does Ani do? She teaches people to cook! Wiebke and I booked ourselves in for a class that evening.
Wiebke disappeared back to our homestay to call home, whilst I stayed to speak to Rei (like Rhea, roll the r), Ani’s 18 year old niece who was staying for the holidays, who wanted to practice her English. Like almost every Indonesian I’ve come across, Rei is also pretty darned good on the guitar. ‘Do you play?’ Kevin asked. ‘No.’ I replied ‘I owned a guitar for 3 years and never managed to play a song’. 2 hours later and I could play not 1 song…but 2!!! Hotel California and Imagine. So exciting! Trouble is I just sold my guitar…
We spent the rest of the day at Sama Sama (it means you’re welcome) cafe by the beach, soaking up the last of the sun before I head back to England where, I hear, it’s cold and raining. Something to look forward to!
That evening, our cooking class with Ani was more of a lesson in how to keep up than anything, as she bustled around creating three dishes at once and not entirely explaining what she was doing or the quantities in which she was doing it. Luckily between a diligent German and well, me, we were able to ask enough questions have her repeat everything 10x over until we were sure we had everything just right! So hopefully I’ll be able to recreate the Gado Gado (a kind of spicey peanut sauce) and Urap Urap (Lombok salad) when I get home!
Though I can’t imagine they’ll ever be as good as here, with fresh tamarind, onions and lemons the size of my thumb nail but with more flavour than 10 of the same back home, and all crushed together using a stone mortar and pestle which felt like it was probably one of the original designs.
Many hours, and more guitar lessons and singalongs later it was time to say goodbye.
Kevin and Ani have invited me to stay with them if ever I return to Lombok, which I really hope to do! Next time maybe I’ll even finally conquer my fear of riding a scooter. I’m not sure I’ve done the best job in communicating why the day was so wonderful…maybe because it’s the last day I just appreciated everything that much more. But I went for a walk and ended up having a massage, guitar lesson, cooking lesson and meeting a wonderful family who completely welcomed me into their world. I visited a beautiful beach, laughed with new friends and ate delicious meals. Lombok is such a unique and special place, next time I’m coming for a month!
Next (and final) stop, Singapore!