By crossing the Lombok Strait I have traversed the Wallace Line. If you have an attention span that well exceeds comprehending cat videos on Facebook, you might read up on its significance on Wikipedia, but it is somewhat boring I have to concede. Nevertheless, I have made an illustration of the Wallace Line to keep up with my drawing skills:
At my homestay I rented a scooter and rode the fifteen kilometres to Mataram, which is the district capital, to extend my visa. It’s been a while since I last navigated a scooter and I tried hard to search my brain what it knew about Indonesian traffic rules, but all it came up with was the advice to stick to the left side of the road. When I careened around a roundabout I was careful not to hit anything, which, after all, is the essential quality of a good driver.
The immigration office was well organised and after filling out some forms, copying some documents and waiting the appropriate length of time, all the bureaucracy was done with and I was told to come back in 4 days. In the afternoon I toured around on my scooter, exploring some of the Island.
A few days later I was chatting with a Scotsman at breakfast who was going diving and after talking to the guy from the dive shop, who came to pick him up, I decided to join them. It had been some ten years since I last had dived and I was a bit apprehensive about the procedures, but it all came back to me pretty quickly. We set sail to the Gili Islands and after gearing up we plunged in. On the first dive we saw Green Turtles from up close and on the second dive we explored a sunken pontoon off the coast of Gili Meno. Though we were not technically certified to dive in a confined space, the divemasters apparently judged our buoyancy skills sufficient to allow us inside. It was exhilarating to pop up in the air bubble and take out our regulators to shout at each other some 18 metres under water…
Back at the immigration office, I had to pay 355.000 rupiah and in exchange they took my fingerprints and told me to wait. An American girl was fined more than 500 dolllars for overstaying her visa. When she was waiting for her turn, she confided to me that she was going to get married to the angry looking youth with dreadlocks who was sitting barefoot in a corner next to her.After she had collected her documents, she laughed at me, when she passed me, and said they would go to Boston after the marriage. Fuck Boston, the uncouth aborigine said, and followed her on her wait out.
When my turn came, I was granted to stay another 30 days in the country.
Diving is very nice but it comes at an exorbitant cost and so, in the quest for an alternative pastime, I have taken a few surfing classes, which are far less ruinous to my budget.After some initial mishaps, I actually surfed and it was glorious to ride the waves.. Unfortunately, the paddling on the board caused bruises on my lower ribs and it became quite painful, so I am not sure if I can pursue this career…