Final morning on Lombok. Final sunrise. We stepped out the door of our hotel room, and were met with the warmest, sunniest day here. The tallest Balinese volcano (Mount Agung) was clearly visible beyond the waves. Agung is the fifth tallest volcano in Indonesia, whereas ours on Lombok (Mount Rinjani) is the second tallest. It hovers in the distance, a promise and a menace, much like Vesuvius hovers over Naples.
Breakfast at the resort always starts with fruit. The fruit is gorgeous, and much better than we get at home, although I think the pineapple and papaya were better in Hawaii.
One last swim in the pool, followed by a brief time in the sun and a few small purchases from locals peddling wares on the beach, and I am ready to be on my way.
Speaking of those purchases: when I buy these things, while I am certain that by local standards they are overpriced, they are bargains for us, and given the extremity of the poverty that we have witnessed I really don’t mind paying a tourist’s premium. You see, something that weighs on my mind is the extreme contrast between the excesses of the resort and the profound levels of need in Indonesia. The resorts are walled-off refuges of luxury in a much larger island of dearth. I’m at a loss to fully express my very mixed feelings about this, but the remarkable juxtaposition troubles me.
With that our time here has come to a close, and our long journey home begins. Our driver shuttles us off to the airport where we check in to our 2-hour flight back to Jakarta on Garuda. Yup – they fed us again. This time it was a hot meal. Rice patties with either chicken or fish. I had the chicken, as I think that ordering fish on a plane may be a sign of insanity. The chicken was serviceable albeit a bit bland. I really liked the mango cream fruit cup, though.
We stayed at the same hotel in Jakarta, given its proximity to the airport. We were exhausted and given the travel warning for Americans in Surabaya (admittedly on the other end of Java) we decided to stay in. The food we had at dinner was just meh. It was memorable only as a disaster compared to everything else here. And I’m not exaggerating. The food on Garuda was better. Our breakfast here the first day had definitely been better than this, hadn’t it? Of perhaps my expectations have just changed.
We finished our packing and went to bed dreading our 625 am flight, and the 7 hours in the uncomfortable seats of ANA.