Lombok is 2 hours away from Jakarta by plane but, like Bali, it is in a time zone that is 1 hour ahead. So my flight (paid for at Indomaret, as usual) left Jakarta at 8 pm that Saturday and after 2 hours, arrived in Lombok at 11 pm. Then it would be 2 and a half hours driving to Senaru, a village near to our starting point, where I would spend what was left of the night in a hotel/cottage that my trek guide had arranged for me.
My driver was waiting for me at the airport in Lombok, as promised. We got to his minivan and he apologised for having his family of 4 in the back; they would be making the late night drive with us. I said that was absolutely not a problem. As far as I could tell, there were 2 ladies (both seemed young or young-ish but it was dark and they were both wearing headscarves and I couldn’t be sure), a young boy and a toddler in the back (again, it was hard to tell in the darkness). I told them all hi but no-one responded so, with a shrug of my shoulders, I settled into the empty front seat. My driver gave me a bottle of water for the journey and we got underway.
Although I had slept on the plane, I dozed off in the car within 10 minutes of leaving the airport. A few minutes later, the rustling of a plastic bag, heaving and retching woke me up. One of the ladies in the back apparently suffers from motion sickness and she spent the entire drive heaving and retching into her plastic bag. I felt so bad for her but she seemed prepared and didn’t complain at all. She just kept heaving and retching into her plastic bag, poor thing. Once I realised that no-one else in the car seemed particularly concerned and that she seemed to be taking it all with an air of resignation, I started drifting off again.
A few minutes later I was again disturbed when the other young lady in the back seat (the one who wasn’t heaving and retching) got a call on her cell phone. She carried on an animated (loud) conversation for the next 15 or 20 minutes. I tried to block her out but it was difficult at first because I really wanted to know who on earth she was talking to at that time of night and why, but asking would have been rude so I just tried to catch a few words. However, she was speaking Bahasa Sasak (the local language of Lombok) so I couldn’t understand a word. More’s the pity because I think it must have been really interesting since my driver chipped in a few times.
Eventually, I drifted off again and didn’t fully wake until we got to Senaru.
My driver let his family out at their house (well, I assume it was their house) then we continued about 2 minutes up the road to where I would spend the rest of the night, arriving at 1:38 am by the clock on the car’s dashboard. He reminded me that I should get up and have breakfast at 6 am and I would be collected shortly thereafter. Then he left me in the capable hands of an older gentleman who seemed to be a caretaker/watchman/maybe owner (who knows?), who showed me to my cottage and left me to get what rest I could.
So far, between the airplane and the car, I had gotten about 4 hours of sleep but it was broken sleep and therefore not fully restful. Still, I checked out my room and was satisfied, took a couple of minutes to prepare myself for the morning, turned out the light and fell into bed just before 2 am, ready to get as much sleep as I could in the 3 and a half hours I had before I needed to get up and get ready at 5:30 am.
I was just drifting off to sleep when it happened. I heard a clawing sound on the bed. I shot up and headed for the light switch, because hearing clawing on a bed in which I’m supposed to be alone could not be a good thing. As I neared the light switch, I saw a dark shape moving towards me on the floor; I stifled a hysterical scream and flicked the switch…only to see a cat looking at me like, “Um, who are you and why are you in my space?”
What the heck is it with these Indonesian night-time ninja stealth cats???
Now, people, I like cats, I really do. In fact, I consider myself a cat person. But I don’t feel warm and fuzzy towards them when they wake me up like that! I mean, come on, man!
I looked at him and, mindful of other guests sleeping in nearby cottages, responded to his disdainful stare by whisper-screaming at him, “Are you kidding me right now?! Like, seriously, are you serious right now!?” Then I opened the door and tried to shoo him outside. He just stared at me like I was stupid then wandered over to the window and sat looking at it. I finally caught a clue that he apparently doesn’t do doors, so I shut the one I was still holding open and pushed back the curtain so he could jump up on the window sill. Then he just sat there looking at me like he was trying to decide if he should go or stay. I had to practically push him out the window to finally get him out, then I locked it and got back in bed.
With a sigh and a disbelieving laugh, I rolled over and went to sleep. My days off had certainly begun…interestingly.
Little did I know this was a sign of things to come.