LOMBOK, Indonesia -- Some say Lombok is what Bali used to be before the tourists overran it. I won't go that far, as the Hindu culture is much more highly developed on Bali, but Lombok is wonderful nonetheless. The Sasaks were the main ethnic group on Lombok. They were fierce warriors, but often divided among themselves, which outside forces, like the Balinese and Dutch, exploited.
Lombok was the point of departure for the final place that I sampled -- the Batu Hijau mining concession on the island of Sumbawa. The headquarters for the concession, operatued by PT Newmont Nusa Tenggara, were in the island's main city of Mataram. I traveled to Sumbawa via helicopter -- the classic Bell UH-1, or Huey. Our flight departed from a field somewhere near Labuhan Haji and crossed the Alas Strait to the mine's base camp at Maluk.
In between jaunts to Sumbawa, I flew to Bali to look for books on the region (finding good bookstores proved difficult, but I hit the jackpot in the Balinese town of Ubud). I returned to Lombok via ferry at the port town of Lembai.
When I finished my work on Sumbawa -- a bit early because of equipment difficulties -- I returned to Lombok again via ferry. This ferries from Sumbawa docked at Labuhan Lombok.
While on Lombok, I based myself at the Hotel Zahir in Ampenan. As a result of delays and miscommunication, I had time to kill between my two sampling visits to Sumbawa. With the help of some newly made friends, I learned to bargan in markets at Cakranegra and Ampenan. I got to visit beaches in Kuta, Sengiggi, and the Gili Islands.
|Cakra||Water Palace||Water Palace||Water Palace|
|Senggigi||To Gili Meno||Boat ride||Friends|
|Gili Meno||Slack time||Divas||Rice paddy|
|Rice paddy||Rice paddy||Rice paddy||Rice paddy|
|Rice paddy||Rice paddy||Rice paddy||Kuta|
|Alas Strait||Flying Away||Dropoff||Chopper|
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