Travelling to Sumbawa
The flight to Sumbawa lasts only one hour, and it’s a pretty beautiful flight for the views. I flew wings air which I later discovered isn’t the safest of airlines but it is cheap! The flight cost around $60 AU and it was super simple to organise and get my ticket printed properly in the airport. I waited in a reasonable amount of anticipation at the gate because the calls were mostly in Indonesian. Bali time was particularly prominent around the time of my flight because 15 minuits before departure we were still waiting at the gate with no sign of movement! I felt like the local celebrity in the airport with Indonesians asking for photos with me. Being the only white person around this area of the airport and on my flight explained the circus animal syndrome I was feeling, with every other person staring questionably at my pasty white skin, blonde hair, blue eyes and western dress style. Striking conversation on the plane was a tough affair, my Indonesian needs a lot of work and no one spoke much English.
In apprehension of the expensive taxi ride awaiting me to Lakey Peak, I was desperately trying to find someone who looked like a surfer to share the ride with., with increasingly dwindling luck. It costs a flat rate of 800,000 ind rupiahs (80$AU) to get to Lakey, which without a motorbike is the only option tourists have.
Touchdown, and I stepped out into Bima airport. Walking out of the tiny airport felt like what I imagine Cameron Diaz feels like stepping out of the car onto the red carpet, only minus the technical lights, camera, action deal. The taxi drivers swarming the exit of the airport exploded as they saw a white girl travelling on her own. I was berated by many a taxi man to choose them, and finally got the price down to 500k because I didn’t have my surf board with me.
The issue with taxis on these islands is that they are run by the mafia, so you have to be careful not to get into any sticky situations with them. Equally this is why you can only get the price down so low, because mafia ultimately controls the pricing of everything.
It was an interesting situation to experience because one guy seemed to be overlooking my bartering with another man to ensure that he didn’t go too low. Eventually I ended up with a pretty good deal, getting in the car with a young Indo guy who was actually picking up his mother from the airport. I felt pretty at ease in this situation to have another woman in the car with me. The driver told me how surprising it was to see a girl travelling on her own in this area. I couldn’t help but feel rather proud at this, to break the expected barriers of their society and show the courage to not be defined by the expectations, or lack of expectations, of women in their culture. As much as I respect and understand the culture that I am immersing myself in for the next few weeks, I cannot allow myself to accept that I do not have the same amount of freedom to travel as a white make would in this area.
The taxi ride was pretty cool, it took around 4 hours because of closed roads for Ramadan. The driver and his mother stopped a few times around the towns we drove through to collect foods for their evening feasting which we all found pretty funny, probably for different reasons. The driver was apologising profusely for the stops however I was quite enjoying myself seeing all new things! Driving through the villages gave me a certain nostalgia of Morocco, with people living in hut style houses and having little hut shops on the side of the road. The mountainous areas outside of the villages however were l’aide de with greenery so immensely beautiful that I just sat staring out of the window for the majority of the time! He also bought me a coconut fruit drink which was very cute. I did have the passing thought that the ice was probably going to give me the shits but equally I couldn’t not drink it because it was a gift. Regardless of this internal conflict I drank the juice and hoped for the best!
Eventually we arrived in Lakey Peak, where I learned that my lovely driver owned the surf shop just opposite, meaning I could easily rent a board for the next few days.
I met up with my friend Tristan, dropped my things and we went for a well deserved Bintang and I met the crew.
That evening we had a pretty sweet bonfire, a guy who worked there called Jerry (absolute legend) made a huge bonfire, and then sprayed gasoline all over making fire trails across the beach. We had some little fireworks and had a pretty crazy night, it was the perfect introduction into Lakey Peak.
Keep tuned for the adventures of Lakey Peak in my next post!
Travelling to Sumbawa