Hot and sticky we passed the night in fitful slumber, Tania with Oskar and Mateo, and I was with Luca in nos 5 and 6 respectively. Other than that, an unremarkable passage of time punctuated by the usual chorus of cock crows acting as our alarm clock once more. The nice people (Portuguese I think) in the family room were due to leave today so we knew we would have to pack up and move at some point and so we decided that we would have a school morning for the boys. Breakfast of banana pancakes, then to action. French grammar for Oskar (oh how he loves it!), Luca worked through his livre de vacances, and Mateo practicing writing his numbers.
The morning passed and Tania and Mateo changed rooms to the family room – not much bigger than the single rooms, but at least would be altogether and it would cost us less. Oskar, Luca and I went to explore Senggigi and to look over the hill and around the corner from where we were to see if the beach would be friendlier. Ignoring the beep beep, “Transport?” emanating from the passing assortment of cars, minivans and lorries with bench seats in the back, we slogged up the hill in the heat and soon enough a young man leapt off his colleague’s motorbike and engaged us in conversation. The pattern is almost always the same… “Hello, where are you from, are these your children, do you want to buy……. (insert tourist trap merchandise of your choice here)?” This particular merchant was flogging necklaces of wood carved into various shapes and figures, but would do us a special price – the Australians buy these for 100,000 Rp, but for you 60,000.
After using a multitude of different ways to say “no thanks” the young man had still not got the message, but we had at least advanced to 3 necklaces for 70,000 Rp. To give him his due he was tenacious. He walked all the way up the hill with us, all the time flashing his wares to the children who were obviously captivated, and pushing the sale. In the end, I beat him down to 5 necklaces for 50,000 Rp – which is probably twice as expensive as they should be – and we parted; the kids happy with their present, and me with the feeling that I had been half-robbed and that Tania would probably kill me when I got back!!
Reaching the summit at last, the next beach over looked just as wild, and so, slightly disappointed, we headed back home. On the way back we stopped into various scooter purveyors to enquire as to the rate per day, and the quality of said machines and accompanying safety gear. Most were offering a day at 50,000 Rp, but would drop to 35,000 if we rented for a longer period (5 days in our case). Information gathered we arrived back home. Lo and behold our landlady also rented scooters and we got her to match the deal we had had from other renters. So we were proud “owners” of two scooters, and 3 VERY excited young men. So Tania and I, and the 3 eager beavers, got the beach stuff together and headed north up the coast in search of a beautiful beach or two. After a twisty turny coastal ride we found it and were quickly into the water donning flippers, masks and snorkels.
To be honest, there wasn’t a great deal to see around the small mostly dead reef close into shore, so we skirted around to the back side of it. Here and there were a few small brightly coloured fish. As we peered into the slightly cloudy water we spied a long thin black and white stripy thing. Now I have to admit I am not a great fan of snakes, but even less a fan of sea snakes. Something in my distant memory floated to the surface pertaining to the toxicity of said marine lifeform – that being all sea snakes are highly venomous and almost all of them lethal to humans. Grabbing Oskar’s arm and gesticulating frantically that we should back off and return to the shore…. NOW! As we broke the surface and removed snorkels Oskar was like “What?” and I was like “Sea snake!” and he was like “It’s OK I saw a program about them and its harmless” and I was like “Errrmmm no!”. Looking them up on the internet later that evening I was both pleased and horrified to find that I was right to have got the hell out of there. Tania and the boys did go back for another look though! (I was too scared)
We mounted up again and headed up the coast a bit further. En route we stopped at one of many roadside stands that sell a variety of things including litre bottles of Gasoline, of which we purchased one each. We eventually fetched up at Malimbu beach next to a man selling corn on the cob. While the kids chomped away I wandered down the slope to the beach below. Paradise comes in many forms to many people, but if there were perfect beaches then this one would have to be a contender. Sweeping around in an arc was glistening white sand with aquamarine crystal clear sea gently lapping the shore sporting multi-coloured fishing boats with bamboo outriggers . Truly beautiful, but too late for us to enjoy we resolved to return very soon.
Heading for home again we were joined by motorbikes carrying people on their way home. As they passed they waved and high-fived the boys – very disconcerting when you are trying to balance a bike with one small boy at the front, and one larger one at the back, and still go around the corners!! Still, it was fun at the same time too.
Dinner at Bumbu Cafe that evening was the perfect end to the day. Their Soto Ayam (chicken noodle soup) was absolutely delicious. Luca was very disappointed by their malfunctioning pizza from which the topping kept sliding off when he picked up a slice! Mat had just rice (what are we going to do?). Oskar had an Asian Fusion chicken and vegetable dish (which was huge) and enjoyed that very much, though not managing to finish it all. Full and happy we went to bed ready for another day of excitement.