No cars, no motorbikes. I love the soft jingle of the horse and cart as it makes its way behind you. So festive in its colourful head dress or banners, its driver usually sporting a football jersey of a team they likely have no idea about. Workers on bicycles are like acrobats the way they sit on stacks of timber, hold large buckets or boxes on one knee or hover cargo in front of them, all peddling to island time, a soft rhythm of resourcefulnes.
Aimlessly walking the narrow streets, the scenes change as frequently as the weather in a typical Melbourne day. A group of goats stand mindlessly on a rubbish hill, with roosters crowing around them keeping them inline as if they think they are sheep dogs. Endless signs for diving and drinking specials line the east side of the island enticing party goers to spend their money and create the garbage that lines the street in the early morning for pick up. The west side of the island boasts the calmer, slower flow with swings in the water and beach chairs lining the beautiful clear blue water. Surrounding the base of the one and only hill, small huts line curved tree lined streets like cubby houses lifted off the ground in case of flooding.
There’s an island walk you start to take on, to avoid puddles and mud. A slow, concentrated, strategic walk, like a giraffe scared to get its ballet shoes wet. Once you start to notice your new walk it’s hard not to laugh at yourself. The mud sticks on the back of your legs as if you just stepped out of a cement mixer.
The sunsets on the west of the island create strong blues, oranges and pinks. As the day comes to a close, it highlights the things I have conquered, Mount Batar, closing a chapter on what has been done. The sunrise in the east, bathes Mount Ranjani on Lombok highlighting its outline almost in mocking reverence for the mountain I want to climb.
The best restaurant in town knows my name and my favourite deserts. I go early and take up a huge bungalow seat fit for a large group. The staff don’t mind so I don’t mind. It’s island logic, first come first served as long as you like, “no problem”.
Accommodations advertise in misspelt signs, wifi and hot showers but both rarely exist. The mozzies here are rampant and with the occasional rain fall I can’t keep them from eating at me, despite my poisonous bug spray. Maybe it’s just poisonous to me with how much I spray to keep them at bay.
Tourists flock to the beach where the swings can be found that bombard Instagram feeds #blessed. What is not seen in the photos is people actually enjoying the seat, taking time to take in the sunset. They line up, look relaxed and ‘in their bliss’ then move on for the next person and their photo. On my sunrise run, I stop at the swings. Dangling my feet in the water, I sit and sway forwards and backwards. I watch the fish swimming and spot starfish. Island slumber means I get to enjoy the beach alone, enjoy the swing alone and soak up the moment everyone ingenuinely creates to share with the world rather than themselves.
There’s no schedule, no where I need to be. I’m set on a twelve hour pendulum swinging from sunset to sunrise. Anything other than that is eating, sleeping or writing.
My island time is perfect. So slow. So relaxed. Time feels to have stopped here. What day is it? When is my ferry? I’ll check tomorrow, is it tomorrow? Or the day after? Just one more sunset to soak up….