Monday morning one week ago Johny drove me to the bus terminal and helped me to catch the bus to Manggelewa. They made a bit of stress to depart on time at 8 o’clock, but just to make a half hour break for their breakfast 15 minutes later. Afterwards a newbie seemed to drive the bus as he never got into the third gear or above. Hence, we were sneaking on our way and three hours later I was badly surprised that we not made much more than 70 kilometres. Afterwards the driver changed and he eventually found the accelerator pedal. Now I definitely knew, it will be late today. At about two o’clock we finally reached Manggelewa, 2 hours later than I anticipated. I took my late lunch as I was really hungry and then opted to walk the few hundred metres to the main junction, as it was not clear when the bus driver decided to continue. At the main junction I asked around and as another bus just stopped there, but in the wrong direction, they gave me the information the bus to Kandidi will come at 17 o’clock. Ugghh…pretty late, but OK. Then it turned out that there should be a bus at 16 and 18 o’clock, but due to an engine failure the 16 o’clock bus was 30 minutes late and it was pretty full already. Nevertheless, I got luck and got a seat in the last row. When we arrived in Kandidi I asked for Pancasila and to my surprise the bus driver told me he’s driving there too. He was even so kind to directly drop me off at the homestay and use the horn to get the owner out, as it was now already 20:30 o’clock. This is pretty late for this small mountain village, as everything is closed and almost everyone is in their houses. I asked for some dinner, but he told me I might have bad luck, but should ask the young guys near the school. They’re hanging around there, as it’s the only good signal in the village. After some articulation and with the help of Google translate, some of them drove me to the only warung in the village. And the woman was happily willing to prepare a dish of rice and some non spicy things for me. I was pretty happy, not to drive the 10 km back with an Ojek to Kandidi. I wasn’t aware that it takes more than 12 hours, including waiting time. If I would have knewn before, I would have taken the bus 1 or 2 hours earlier in the morning from Sumbawa Besar.
Saturday morning one week ago we went together with Johny and his friends and families for an overnight excursion to Moyo Island. First we drove in a typical small pickup truck to a fishermen’s village. From here we chartered a boat from a fishermen for the next 24 hours. As we were so many people, the boat need to do the 30 minutes sailing to the other shore three times. As we wanted to avoid to pay the expensive entrance fee for foreigners at Tanjung Pasir, we just stayed 50 metres away from it. Even the rangers saw us at one point, but as we were with so much local people, they didn’t asked for entrance fee. In the afternoon I relaxed on the beach, went for snorkeling and walked along the beach. The men prepared several their spears for hunting fish, which got eventually grilled on the camp fire. Some others went for collecting all kinds of sea shells. The snorkeling was very nice, as the corals are too deep to step on it during high tide. Additionally, there are just not enough people here to step onto them. There are lot of fish and other sealife to observe. The water is really crystal clear. In the evening we sat around the camp fire and grilled all the fish, which got catched during the evening. All fish was shared, and the locals always offered much more than I could eat. I just slept a bit on the beach, as the others also did. Maybe not as luxurious as the Lady Di tent a few kilometres in the resort, but for sure in a much better atmosphere. Some of them were just sitting around the fire the whole night. In the morning a last catch of fish was cooked in a spicy sauce before we sailed back to the Sumbawa Island. Here we attended a local celebration in the fishermen’s village, as a small boy got cut it’s penis. Everybody of the village went to the family, and everyone seem to be happy. Well that’s life here. We also were invited to have a small dish and some coffee before we drove back to town.
Thursday morning one week ago I went with the Bemo back to the Immigration office. Unfortunately it was raining today, which made me pretty surprise, as thought it’s dry season. Anyway I got my passport with the extended visa back just in a few minutes. With another Bemo, again waiting time less than 1 minute, I went to the Mandalika bus terminal. There a tout wanted to sell me the ticket to Sumbawa Besar for 150k IDR I was just laughing and walked away. Then he tried again, but in the end agreed for the local price of 70k IDR. Instead of paying to buses from and to the ferry, plus additionally the ferry extra, I guess the comfort of not waiting for another bus on Sumbawa was worth to take this bus. Luckily I had also zero waiting time at the bus terminal, as the bus just was on departure, when I bought the ticket. Hence, lucky me that day. It was raining during the whole day in Lombok and also Rinjani was wrapped in clouds. At the ferry terminal, this time it was pretty easy to get into it…just sitting in the bus, we needed to wait about one hour to get onto it and for departure. I met a local man, he told me that he’s visiting his mother and flew from Borneo to Lombok and now took the bus to Sumbawa. This seems to be quite common, as some flights to neighbour islands are sometimes cheaper. In Poto Tano on Sumbawa the ferry needed to wait more than one hour to get to the pier, as there were so much ferries infront of us. If I’m not wrong, the day before the ferries didn’t operate. After we disembarked the ferry, it was already mid afternoon. Sumbawa is completely different to Lombok. It is much drier, which is evident especially now in the dry season, where all the rice paddies already were harvested. In Sumbawa Besar I was invited to wait at a barber shop opposite to the bus terminal until Andita picked me up, and had a short conversation with the owner. As Andita wasn’t able to host me, he drove me to the house of Johny and his family. In the evening he invited me to join a drink (coffee/tea as we’re in a Muslim island…and no on Sumbawa there’s no jungle juice) with Icam, his neighbours friend. I had a nice conversation with him about several topics. Icam also presented me his garden. Both had lots of Children, Johny has 3 and Icam has 5. What is evident nowadays is that even the very young children, from the beginning play with the smartphone. Almost each kid has it’s own, when it’s 3 years and older. If you try to take away the phone, the kids start crying. I hardly believe that this was the case 10 years ago, but also here technology changing rapidly the behaviour. I don’t think it’s a good idea that young children playing each day, the full day with the smartphone. In that age they should discover the world with their friends, but as these are also doing the same, the social pressure might be pretty, high to let them play online games. And as unemployment rate is pretty high in these regions, also some adults are playing the whole day with the smartphone. For some it’s for sure an addiction. They never learnt about the risks of gaming…well, nowadays even former national football player, which chooses to have a fascistic president as best man, seem to play more Fortnite than training football.
Tuesday two weeks ago I spent two full days in Senggigi. As my original plan for hiking up Mount Rinjani didn’t work out, I was just looking for a place to rest a bit, and Senggigi is just two short Bemo rides from the immigration office. The village is a tourist destination, but not really popular as far as I can tell. Most of the bars and restaurants are closed. I’ve no idea if due to the low season, or because other destinations on Lombok as Kuta are now just more popular. The beach is OK, but pretty dirty. The cleaner from a local hotel seems to clean it each day, but I would be really interested what he is doing with all the garbage. If he throws it just behind the next palm tree, it will end up again in the sea. The sea can be suddenly quite shallow if you swim in it. I scratched my toe twice during one swim. In essence there’s not really anything to do, but it’s OK for relaxing a bit.
Monday morning two weeks ago Anton drove me to the immigration office in Selong, after having a small breakfast out. It was the first working day after the Ramadan holidays, and the officers were not back at 8:30. Nevertheless, when I asked one of the guys to extend my Visa he immediately told me it’s NOT possible in Selong. Instead I have to go back to Mataram. Well, these are disappointing news. So we went first back to Rauhils House. I grabbed all my stuff and Anton drove me to the bus terminal. Unfortunately the bus to Mataram just left. So he drove me another 5 km to the main road of Lombok, from where I could catch a bus immediately back to Mataram. In Mataram I got immediately a Bemo from the Mandalika bus terminal to the city. Contrary to Bali the public transport is still just working flawlessly on Lombok.
Nevertheless I just arrived shortly before lunch at the Immigration Office in Mataram, four hours later than expected. I went to the first floor and got the red envelope with the application forms after the immigration officer checked my visa. I was just asking at one of the counters for it. There is no need get a ticket number first. The officer also told me that I need a sponsor letter for my visa extension from any local Indonesian. So it’s more complicated and different than the one time extension of a Visa on arrival. There was an agent in the immigration office to offer me it’s help. But for the full process he wanted to have 1 Mio. IDR. I explained him I’m already here and only need the sponsor letter. After several minutes I got him down to 350k IDR, I thought it’s a big discount. But hours later when I had to pay for the Visa application I was pretty surprised that it’s now 500k IDR, much more than I expected, as some people only paid 150k IDR elsewhere for the same process. In the end I only saved 150k IDR. Anyway your sponsor has to be in person with you when you apply for the visa with all your documents:
- Copy of passport
- Copy of Indonesian visa
- Copy of my ferry ticket from Singapore, instead of return flight ticket
- Application form (you get one in a red envelope at the counter)
- Sponsor letter (incl. two different forms the sponsor needs to fill out), after hard negotiations I got it for 350,000 IDR
- 500,000 IDR in cash
- Two Meterai stamps worth 6k IDR but it was quit difficult to find them. My agent drove me to four different small shops in the vicinity until I got some. Paid 7k IDR in the end.
For the application you just go to one of the two counters. Typically nobody is queueing there. Most of the people are waiting for different things. Once you handed over your application you get your first number. After waiting for about 30 minutes, I guess they check again all documents, you get called and if there is no issue as with me I directly get my number for doing the biometrics. Which meant waiting again, as at this Monday more than 50 people applied for a visa extension. After about 2.5 hours I got called for taking again a photo and all my 10 fingerprints 🤨. You have no choice, other than doing that. Finally I got my bill, of 500k IDR, which is payable in each Post Office and the time when I can pick up again my passport…Thursday morning between 8-10 o’clock. Monday is a strategic day for visa application as it highly ensures that you don’t need to wait over a weekend, if there’re no holidays in between. Except for the sponsor letter the application of the visa extension was working much easier than I anticipated. Afterwards I went to a local Café, as I hadn’t eat anything since breakfast I was really starving. There I met Rosa, she told me she’s just around the corner, and we had a nice conversation in the afternoon after the long time in the Immigration office.