Lombok SETTLING IN

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Ninja’s been put at my feet. He’s a nosy little tabby cat, wakes me up. I’m in Lombok the moment my eyes open, there’s no delay for remembering I’m in a different country than yesterday.

“This is amazing,” I say to Tess who is pottering around.

“What? Your bed?” she asks.

“No, everything. I was lying here reading last night, I just thought, ‘damn this is perfect’.”

And it is. I had a good sleep, feeling wholesome surrounded by a blanket of drowsiness. Wearing a goofy half-smile.

Writing an assignment after breakfast a classmate reviews my court story then tells me it’s not due until the end of next week. If I had known that I would have left it until Friday and had it hanging over my days. Instead it’s done and nearly ready for submission. Tess is back from running errands so I’ll finish it and submit it tonight.

Just down the road from breakfast we organise a scooter for me to hire for the next week. There aren’t any motorbikes for hire in Kuta, just 100cc Yamahas with board racks sometimes. More than good enough.

With my Lombok life sorted Tess and I ride east for a swim at a pretty, long beach. She gets us a bit lost on the way, never seems absolutely sure where we’re going but finds it in the end. One of the boys in charge of motorbike minding seems to think I sure, points further east and says,

“Good surfing wave there Gurupuk, you go surfing?”

“No, not today, wind is bad,” I reply.

“You hab surfboard?”

“Yes, in Kuta.”

“Ooh, you hab,” He mumbles and turns back around. I may as well go have a look though, could surf there in the morning if I don’t go to Deserts. Tess desperately wants to swim so I go alone; it’s only two minutes away. In a micro-harbour full of skiffs and outriggers I have to squint to see a few thin lines of white water on the other side of the bay, doesn’t look promising. Now I desperately want to swim.

By the time I get back from submitting my assignment, buying cigarettes and fuel and shopping for fruit and veggies it’s apparently time to go get a drink with this guy Josh. He’s been here for a while, two or three months, so he knows where to surf when the forecast says this, that and the other. He’s offered to help me ‘make a plan’ and he knows how to get to Deserts from here. The three of us eat dinner at a dingy restaurant across from Kuta Beach, Josh and I discuss Deserts for a while. Looking at the forecast it appears that Wednesday and Thursday will be better than tomorrow, it’s not too hard to get there but it takes two and a half hours. It’s still bloody hot yet it’s been dark for an hour.

Saturday night, I figure if I’m going to party while I’m here it should be tonight. Josh says he’s keen. Tess will come down for a beer. Bus Bar gets a good crowd on a Saturday.

After a bunch of beers the music and atmosphere have livened me up. Even though she’s yawning and stagnant Tess has a good time, stays longer than I expected. It’s loud, small, comfortable and vibrant, with just the right amount of tackiness thrown in. Everyone’s smiling; two local lads are shaking cocktails and slinging beers from a repurposed Kombi van, a couple of guys walk around selling cigarette packets and balloons of mushrooms. Easy to tell who is on the mushies. A smorgasbord of European women step and jive on the dance floor while two young Swedish guys take turns mixing house music. Not all the chicks are conventionally attractive but they’re all having fun and that’s attractive enough for me.