Well, here we are, settling into retired life. It's amazing how quickly we have adjusted to "island time" - leisurely breakfasts, long walks along the beach and afternoon beverages watching the sun going down over the ocean.
Indonesia is made up of 14,000 islands (6,000 inhabited) with a population of 255 million. It stretches for 2,830 km. The currency is Rupiah and for one NZ $ we get approximately 8,500. We were millionaires a few times over when we got money from the ATM! Things sound really expensive, like 25,000 rupiah for Nasi Goreng (fried rice with chicken and veges and an egg on top) but that costs a whole NZ$3!
We spent 2 nights on Bali before coming here to Lombok Island. We chose to take the local ferry rather than the "fast boat", a trip of 4 hours with the locals. Indonesian people are so friendly and smiley, lots want to practise speaking English and are very helpful.
We have been chilling out at Indah Homestay, run by a Dutch lady married to an Indonesian. We are trying to acclimatize to the hot and humid weather and plan the next few weeks before we go to Sulawesi for WOOFING. Today we took a walk up in the village behind where we are staying. People were bemused to see us walking along their little pathways and we were asked to stop and sit several times in the shade to "chat". With our non-existent Indonesian and their varying ability to speak English, we communicated as best we could. It's amazing what you can convey with sign language together with sounds!
We challenged ourselves yesterday to go by local transport - bemo (a small van or truck with seats running sideways) to Mataram. Other passengers were a little surprised to see us, but the mission was accomplished easily.
I felt rather underdressed swimming yesterday, even in my Nana one piece bathing suit. I was joined by a group of young Muslim girls who splashed into the water fully clothed from headscarf to long pants. Most of Lombok is Muslim and we can hear the call to prayer from the nearby mosque at 4.30 am!
We have indulged in a couple of reflexology foot massages. At 35,000 ($4.50) we can't resist!
We are about to head off down the beach for Xmas lunch - lamb and beef cooked on a spit, together with all the trimmings. On the 27th we take a boat trip for 4 days further east as far as Flores Island. We will stay here a while to explore before returning to Lombok.
It still amazes us that we can sit under a little palm gazebo on Lombok Island and Skype with Krysta and Chelsea - one in Canada and one in Sweden. Both of them are enjoying a cold, snowy Xmas whilst we swelter in 30 degree sunshine! The wonders of modern technology.