By : Lucretia Prang
Some German teachers from Berlin arrived in Lombok some days ago from Bali, still hesitating if this was the right move or not at all. Whilst in Bali, they received negative information about Lombok such as "Lombok has no culture, very boring place, you will be back two days, be careful, it is quite unsafe on Lombok etc". As first-time travelers to Indonesia they did not know if they should to believe this or not.
Over dinner in their Hotel, we talked about Lombok’s vast nature, colorful traditions and the hospitality of the population-they decided to stay a bit longer.
The teachers’ first trip was to Tetebatu, Sikur to view some agricultural projects and to learn about some Tetebatu we stopped a few times to enjoy the amazingly clear view of Gunn Rename that morning quite an unusual sight for the rainy season.
Arriving at the beautiful poverty of Wisma Soedjono we had a look at the Dutch heritage building. These days it is occupied by the proprietor family Soewenno who runs a mountain resort located near the Dutch house.
Their bungalows are realistically priced and feature big terraces with amazing views over the rice fields. those rice fields will change into tobacco fields later in the year. Yes, we are in East Lombok’s tobacco area or ‘’Marlboro Country’’ as it is called sometimes.
After a relaxing cup of home grown and roasted Lombok Kopi (coffee) in the resort’s very recommendable restaurant we made our way through rice fields and bamboo forests towards a Dusun called olongsik, about one hour walk up the foothills of Mount Rinjani.
Having done academic research work whit the people here a few years ago, I suggested we visit one of my friend, a lovely old chap and his wife living in a traditional Sasak house with a vast yard alive with pigeons and chickens and yes guinea-pigs (marmut) .(apparently the meat is an aphrodisiac and medicine).
We walked along the rice terraces and enjoyed the refreshing site of Mountain water filling the irrigation channels. Lily ponds enriched the landscape whit write and purple flowers.
The rice harvest was in full swing and people, who were busy but friendly, greeted us. Finally arriving at my friends’ house we sat down in the Berugaq and enjoyed another strong but sweet coffee. Not long after we had a delicious lunch of bamboo spurts, grilled fish (ikan bakar that we bought that in Ampenan) and sambal.
The teachers had the opportunity to ask questions about the local adat, life in common and agriculture.
My friend showed them his cocoa trees, bananas and aren, the palm sugar tree. To Wisma Soedjono and via Rarang to Mataram. In Rarang, we stopped at another friend’s house, a state-trained wildlife and her artist-husband.
The teacher was surprised about the simplicity of the birth clinic, something they had never seen before. We were served fresh Pisang goreng (fried banana) and coffee before finally driving home. But that was not all. A wedding procession made us stop again to enjoy the beautiful costumes and the sounds of Gendang Beleq, the traditional Sasak band.
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