First trip with the girls even though we've known each other for a good 20 years or so! We've always talked about doing a trip together for as long as I can remember but with such a big group and differences in work days off etc, it has been almost impossible to materialize.
It has been nothing short of a panicky trip, even before it has officially started! I felt like I spent the days coming up to the trip just chasing after rides/flights. On my Singapore-KL leg, I bought a bus ticket (took a bus cos prices don't escalate excessively few days before travel, plus the bus is very comfy, even has a toilet) which departs at 0900. Just my luck on that particular morning, there wasn't ANY cab available to get me to the bus station! I was at the pinnacle of stress; lugging my two big luggages (for home, not for the trip, ok?) across train stations and just barely making it for the bus!
Then on the day of our flight from KL-Lombok, Sue Wern, Mei Ying and myself - all prepped up and ready to go by 0610. Called the cab and he said he's on his way.
And so we waited. And waited. And waited.
By 0630 we thought, hell, this isn't going to end well. Called the cabbie again and he said he's just around the block (wtf?) but in 10 minutes, batang hidung pun tak nampak. So we called for another cab who arrived within 5 minutes.
Problem solved, right? Sure, it will be a fairy tale if it all ends well. We only have less than an hour to make it for our check-in but the journey to the airport is approximately 40mins. In a twisted play of events, we have an old and jittery cab driver who nervously steers behind the wheel. He told us that he didn't know how to get to KLIA2 (the new Air Asia airport that replaces LCCT). While he drove well below the speed limit, all of us frantically tried searching for directions to the new airport. Screw the advancements of smartphones, 3G, whatever; KLIA2 just did not bother to update its location and in a natural flow of events, we took a wrong turn to the airport, with no possible U-turn made available. Not in the next 15 minutes, at the very least.
When we finally arrived at the airport; Mei Ying paid the driver while Sue Wern and I hopped out of the cab and scooped out our luggages. Ran helter-skelter past loitering travellers with flustered faces and flyaway hair (it must, however, be noted that we successfully manoeuvred our way through without knocking down anyone - bonus game points).
We managed to check in for the flight (but only because the other three girls were there to sort it out), but we could not check our baggages in. Mei Ying got hit worst cos her luggage does not fall under the dimensions of a carry-on and we had to empty her things out and sorted between Sue Wern and my bag....
So finally, off we go..... phew!
The ubiquitous soda gembira. Too sweet for my liking - you could tell from the thick, creamy condensed milk bottom!
So I got a fancy camera and you'd think I'll be happily clicking away at even the most mundane of subjects, right? Well, no, not quite what's happening. Instead, it appears I have become spoofy - I turn up my nose at seemingly uninteresting shots
First meal in Lombok hits the spot. Succulent-grilled fish with generous dollop of sambal belachan and ulam, stir-fried sambal kangkung (morning glory veg), grilled squid (cumi bakar - not shown).
Loved how fresh and simple the grilled fishes were. Dipped in a soy sauce, kicap hitam manis (sweet dark sauce), chopped onions and garlic with lime condiment - Heavenly!
Mei Ying checked out hotels for us prior to the trip and we were all really pleased with our collective choice! The Chandi Villa is highly recommended. Great service, beautiful place overlooking the beach and clean! We have an outdoor shower too - at least this time they weren't haunted by a perverted frog that happened to me in Bali...
The restaurant - breakfast is provided and prepared a la carte. None of the buffet crap. Very pleasant atmosphere.... for us, anyway. We were the largest number of pax travelling together and with 6 high excitable girls, you can only imagine the range of decibels that we can generate..... I really don't think the honeymooning couple next to us were impressed.....
Coffee, french toast and an array of cut fruits by the beach. What more could you ask for?
All fresh-faced and bright-eyed, ready for a day of adventure!
Drive out to the Singang Gila & Tiu Kelep Waterfalls (no, I did not memorize that, even I am not THAT good)!
Our driver - Pak Sahar, a funny and spontaneous bloke, insisted that we should try the fish satays on the way there. It was really just meh but all of us were nodding with enthusiasm just to please him, heh.
Pretty impressive, I must say. Even felt the mist from the waterfall at this distance.
We trekked for another 30mins through bubbling streams and great raging, rushing rivers (ok, I might be exaggerating a little here) .... in flip flops. Yep, always prepared - that's our motto :)
The crossing of rivers, the trek to the waterfalls is the highlight of this trip for me. Being cooped up in a vessel made me appreciate being outdoors so much. To have so much greenery all around - that's really a huge, prodigious treat!
And here, is our reward for making it this far. It does look like a proper rainforest waterfall! (Wish I am there at this moment!)
We had tons of fun screaming our lungs out; the water is fresh, but freezing! Tip-toed into it, squealing in our bikinis, so you can imagine what a comical scene it was!
Brace yourselves, the food postings are coming!
The nasi campur that I've been craving for - falls below expectation :(
Lacking in about 15 ingredients crucial to a nasi campur I've tried in Bali (at some point, I really need to stop comparing, I suppose. Maybe the Lombokians do it differently). The rice is dry, and it doesn't even have the essential tempe! This is definitely the economic version of a nasi campur.
Nasi ayam taliwang, a specialty of Lombok. Deep fried free-range chicken cooked halfway through, crushed to tenderize, and coated in sweet and spicy sauce. Grilled/fried to order afterwards. Spices in full galore with this dish. Very nice, and very spicy for some of us! We also ordered tempe and tofu on the side and oh my, my. The Tempe is out of this world! The bite, the texture - is an effortless elegance. Nothing beats a good Indonesian tempe :-)
It appears that this less-than-enthusiastic restaurant (judging by its bored-looking waiters and stained tables with a high population of houseflies fleeting from table to table) is surprisingly popular. We see a flock of stewardesses purchasing boxes and boxes of takeaway Nasi Balap Puyung. The restaurant is just across the Lombok airport, so that may play a big role.
But all of us agree that this tops the list of great eats we've had in Lombok. Generously spiced, deep-fried chicken, served with a mixture of crispy, spiced fried batter, stir fried young French beans and some more spices. The sambal belachan here is also pretty darn superb!
Washed down by a glass of refreshing coconut juice with palm sugar syrup.
It was another 2-hour drive to the beach of Tanjung Ahn and the surrounding beaches which are supposedly good for surfing. By then it has been pretty exhausting to embark on these long drives every day (drive to the waterfall was also ~2 hours).
A scorching hot day! The girls ended up hiding in the comfortable shade of a hut, and we ordered some more coconut juice, hehe.
A Lombok wedding procession in progress - one of the entourage. This was a real lucky shot I took from the car. Ironically, the bride and bridegroom shots were blurred/meh - both of them had heavy makeup on and would have been very interesting subjects, I think.
Seafood Ikan Bakar "99"
(food pics not taken, generous amount of superb bumbu, dining by the beach)
JL Subak III
No 10, Cakranegara
Jalan Langko No 35, Mataram
Nasi Ayam Taliwang
Lesehan Taliwang Irama
JL, Ade Irma Suryani No.10
Nasi Balap Puyung
Jln. Raya BIL. &
JL, Gajah Mada Pagesangan Mataram