After a few days on the beaches of Kuta, Bali I leave for the beaches of Kuta, Lombok (same name, different island. Yes this sometimes gets confusing). I have reservations there to stay for a week at Mimpi Manis–the first and only reservations I make in Southeast Asia. I had heard about this place from several travelers, how the owners are fantastic, Kuta itself charming. The owners are an Indonesian, Made (“mah-day”), and his British wife, Gemma.
Kuta, Lombok is a small town where everybody still stares at you if you’re a foreigner, not because they are sizing you up for how much money you have but because they just don’t see many people like you. The kids scream “Hallo!” as you ride by them. The locals break their puzzled look as soon as you smile at them and they return the smile. Everybody loves my pasty white skin and often say they wish they had skin like that.
However it is a surf spot so in parts of the village there are the regular touts and hawkers, but you don’t have to go far to get away from them. But then even the hawkers aren’t as persistent as elsewhere. Made takes me to a beach spot on his motorbike, about a 30 minute ride up into the hills on a tooth-rattling road. The beach is worth it. In the course of the two days that I go there I see a total of 7 other Westerners, two of which are friends staying next door. This beach is called Mawon. The sand is white and has perfectly round grains half the size of a pin head, incredibly deep turquoise water, and is in a little cove with some fishing boats.
There are some locals who sell stuff here, but they’re all very chilled out and not pushy. I set my stuff down where they are hanging out on a beruga–a very cool little platform that you find everywhere on Lombok and Bali, about thigh-high with a thatched roof, all open to the air, and bamboo slats to sit on. Once your butt gets used to sitting on bamboo it’s a great way to sit and watch the ocean. We talk for a while, they practice their English a bit and help my Indonesian pronunciation. They’ve got jewelry, blankets, coconuts, and more all lying around the beruga for purchase. They’re not pushy at all about selling, which is something I love and respect, so I slowly gather gifts for people back home as we sit and watch the foamy water bubble in and fizzle out.