Mary Esther, Florida
August 24, 2004
Our video camera almost causes a riot. Curious children surround us to get a look at the strange contraption. When we flip out the side screen and a couple of young boys see themselves on screen, a crowd gathers. Mothers bring babies to "see" them on camera. We enjoy the visit to the primitive village, but leave somewhat saddened at the very primitive living conditions.
As we board our bus, children are begging, pointing at their hands and pretending to write. Our guide tells us they are begging not for money but for pens or pencils for their school. We clean out our purses and wish we had brought along boxes of Bics.
After leaving the village, we visit a wood carving factory and watch carvings being completed that tower 10 feet of more. At a weaving factory and I get a chance to become a weaver. Strapped into a torturous contraption, I get a lesson in weaving the beautiful fabric…one thread at a time. The workers giggle at my clumsiness and shake their heads at my lack of talent.
Late afternoon finds us at our Lombok hotel. While clean and comfortable, this accommodation is not the luxury we were treated to in Bali. We notice another difference between Bali and Lombok right away. Lombok is predominantly Muslim and we hear the calls to prayer ringing throughout the island. There is a "feeling" of unrest here that is difficult to pin down. We don’t not feel welcomed as we did in Bali. The people are not as carefree and friendly as the Balinese.
We are glad we visited Lombok, but somewhat relieved when we fly back to Bali the next day. Two weeks after our visit, we read in the news that Christians were being evacuated from Lombok due to hostilities. With a history of religious disturbances, check travel advisories before planning a trip to Lombok.
From journal Bali Is a Tropical Paradise