Sarah-Jayne's South East Asian Adventure, Summer 2009 travel blog

So after the last blog and the end of diving school we had one day to chill out before embarking on our little hike! We spent the day bumming around Gili T, hired bikes and headed north around the island to Coral Beach. Everybody seemed to be going around on bikes...easy we though. ha...turns out most of the pathway is not a path but sand, and funnily enough bike wheels don't move too well when they're not on a solid surface. Needless to say there was much cursing, screaming and laughing, which culminated in Jess skidding one way and then the other and then falling off. I found this rather funny and took the opportunity to grab a photo - Jess's shins didn't appreciate my amusement. When we finally got to Coral Beach after much walking and pushing the bikes we sat in a little den thing on the beach and ordered food and drinks and more food and some more food and more drinks. The weather was pretty overcast so we just chilled out until about 5ish, much needed rest I think. After that, Ali headed to her yoga class whilst Jess and I decided to go watch the sunset from the highest point on the island. This involved cycling the rest of the way round and after about an hour or so we made it to the hill. and then we climed said hill. the view at the top was well worth it, we sat there for about an hour or so and watched the sun go down with the whole island below us. Very peaceful until an animal came bounding out of the bushes. I thought it was a lion, Jess later confessed that she went white as a ghost because she thought it was a bear. Fortunately for us, it was neither, but a little excited calf. And then we heard bells. OH MY GOD the mother! I've never moved as quickly in my life...the recent news stories about people being trampled by cows sprang to mind! Luckily, the cow was on a lead. yes, on a lead and the farmer was taking the family for a walk, just as we would a dog. very amusing. after letting them graze for about ten minutes he disappeared back down the hill. Just before it got too dark we headed back down the hill and cycled the rest of the way to our hostel and headed out for some dinner. We all had a nice juicy steak at a little restaurant and then the heavens opened, putting a dampener (quite literally) on our final night party plans. AFter chilling out in our beds for a while, the fan stopped working and we were plunged into darkness...GRRRREAT! Jess went on a hunt and discovered that the homestay had run out of petrol for the generator and that they'd get some later in the about the Spanish and manana...this place is more like next year, not next day! Jess got absolutely drenched on her hunt for candles and when she came back we all got an early(ish) night ready for our big expedition the following day.

An early start...we had to catch the boat across to the hellhole port that is Bangsal in Lombok at about 8.00. It all went fairly smoothly and we got collected and taken to Senaru village where we would leave our bags before the long trek. The people seemed really nice and fed us banana pancakes (always a winner) then took us up to base camp. Oh dear, the hell started. It was pretty hot, and we walked and walked and walked up hill for nine hours. Nine whole hours with only an hours stop for lunch. I'd love to write more and give you an exact encounter of our trek but I'm suffering from traumatic stress disorder and fear that should I try to re-live the memories I may well be sick all over this little internet cafe computer - don't think that would make me too popular. I shall however be brave and note down some of the highlights, but for the rest I'm afraid you'll just have to wait until you see the picutres when I'm home.

When I say uphill, I refer to the probably 70 degree incline through jungle and over a solidified lava flow. It was all OK for the first two hours then when we had lunch it was game over. Every step I took nearly saw a return of the noodles that I had just consumed and every bone and muscle in my body was screaming with pain. I became more and more quiet and after about half an hour I had a breakdown. Right in the middle of the jungle. Four hours from the bottom and four hours from the top. I didn't know which way to go. Realistically I couldn't head back down but going up was just unthinkable. I cried, actually more like wailed, and screamed and kicked my legs and the girls had to take my jacket off because I was helpless with nausea and pain and tiredness and every other horrific feeling in the world. I HATED EVERY SECOND OF THE BLOODY TREK! After seeing some monkeys (which admittedly cheered me up a little) we had another three hour trek to the top, to see the amazing view we had all been waiting for. And guess what...I don't even think it was worth it. It was an errupting volcano inside the crater of a now dormant volcano who's rim we camped on for the night. I saw it, there was gas, it smelled like sulphur, it was cold and windy and then I wanted to go back. But we had to stay there in a tent for the night. That bit actually was probably my favourite part, it was really cold but we wore layers and ate our dinner in the guide and porters tent and had a laugh.

The next day consisted of a slightly less so but still very painful trek back down the mountain. It began OK and I was quite enjoying the scrambling over the rocks and boulders whilst being chased at full pelt by the jokers in flip-flops carrying our food and water. And then we hit the jungle. and the wasps the size of a fist...well maybe that's a slight exaggeration. but only slight. jess and I were both absolutely petrified (turns out she's as scared of the yellow and black idiots as i am) and practially shrieked our way to the bottom. about ten minutes before the end I had my second breakdown of the trek and ended up running out of the national park, crying hysterically with my fingers in my ears, closely followed by a wasp. my nerves were absolutely shot. It got to the point where I was even jumping at my own shadow. Get me off this mountain now!

After collecting our bags from the house which gave us pancakes the day before we had a two hour minibus ride back to Bangsal harbour for our boat back to the Gilis and peace and tranquility. Or was it!? We got to the harbour only to be spotted by the guy who we originally agreed to do the trek with (before we got offered it at almost half the price). Unfortunately for us though, he was the one providing us with transport back to Kuta. Which he was now shouting about saying that our ticket was useless and they wouldn't honour it. Under normal circumstances this wouldn't really bother me but after the most hellish 24 hours of my life it seemed like the end of the world. We were going to be stuck either in Bangsal or the Gilis FOREVER! so we bought another ticket from somebody else. annoying but it solved the problem all the same and eventually we headed to Gili Air (the quietest of the three Gili islands). ERROR! My traumatised self couldn't handle the unfamiliar and I longed to be back on Gili T. When I lay in our little wooden pigeon shed that night and a woodlouse ran across my arm I even questioned wether or not i would make it until September without such normal things as warm water, electricity and vegetables. That was a serious low point, but fortunately Jess was there to pick me up and talked absolute complete and utter crap to me for so long that I would get bored and fall asleep. It worked. And then I woke up on Saturday feeling a million times better.

I'm gonna leave the blog there as I feel I need a stiff drink after relieving Rinjani hell but I'll come back tomorrow and fill you in on our return to Kuta and our adventures in Singapore. Hope you're not missing me too much, lots of love xxx

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