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The next morning the mosque woke me at 4.30am, and, either I went back to sleep, or the litany only lasted five minutes. The former is the more probable.

 

Our car turned up. Helen had negotiated a price of Rp 225,000, plus petrol. The bloke driving said that he wasn't the driver, so we stopped up the street and collected the driver, who informed us that his experience included driving in Saudi Arabia. Another bloke, cigarette in hand, looked like he was going to join us in the back seat. He proceeded to climb in the back, but we made it clear that we were not running a taxi service, and declined his "offer" of company. We collected some supplies, got petrol and changed drivers.

 

Just before the town of Empang, we encountered trucks, people and decorated water buffaloes lining the road. Inquiries revealed that we had stumbled across buffalo "races" - two buffaloes are yoked together, and the "rider" hangs on to a wooden triangle, hooked on to the yoke. "Control" is via a crop; if the buffaloes veer to the left, the buffalo on the left gets welted with the crop in an attempt to get it to push the other one back on course. The "race" was done one at a time, through a 100m simulated rice padi. We watched four attempts, and none made it the whole length.

 

After we passed through Empang, the rest of the drive took us up above the coast, past some beautiful bays, and it took us less than an hour to reach Dompu. We looked at virtually all the hotels in town, except the one opposite the mosque, and ended up at the Wisma Samada. The air-conditioned rooms were inside, with the blaring TV in the corridor outside permeating the entire building. We negotiated to have it turned down. The bathrooms contained a Western-style toilet and a mandi.

 

It was drizzling when we walked up into the town in the early afternoon. Most places were closed, and we ended up back at the closest Rumah Makan to the hotel, the Jawa Timur, for a passable nasi goreng. We had a wander around the market.

 

We bought some jeruk (mandarins) and some sprite, and made ourselves arak attacks on the hotel "patio". Two young blokes, friends of someone at the hotel, arrived, and one wanted to practise his English. His name was Alif, but his Australian sister-in-law had dubbed him "Spunky". Spunky promised to turn up the next morning with his uncle's bemo, to take us to Lakey.

 

For dinner, we walked up to the Rumah Makan Rinjani, opposite the mosque. The nasi goreng (again) was quite nice.

 

There had been an influx of Indonesian guests back at the Wisma Samada, and they had the TV cranked up. We asked them to turn it down so we could go to sleep.

 

I slept quite well. Breakfast (mercifully) wasn't included. We delved into our bag of snacks out on the patio. Spunky arrived with two friends, his uncle and a bemo at 8am, and offered to drive us to Lakey for Rp 70,000 (~A$14). They headed off to do some market runs, promising to return at 10.30am.

 

Helen and I walked up the street, and found the proper food and clothing market. Just about everyone was very friendly. We ended up at the R.M. Rinjani for coffee, and ate some muesli bars that Helen had brought. Just beside the Rinjani, Helen noticed a small building with a corrugated iron roof, and unidentifiable bits of animal drying on it. Not quite what Tennessee Williams had in mind. We also saw plenty of rice drying in front yards.

 

Spunky, a driver, and a "conductor" (presumably for the return trip) got us to Lakey in about 45 minutes. We went to the Aman Giti Hotel, and booked a nice room with cable TV and AC for RP 180,000, down from Rp 280,000. We had lunch in the restaurant, and then went to the beach for a while. It was rocky underfoot, but the water was warm and clear. We showered at the hotel and then walked south along the beach. We had a beer and shandy (for Helen) at the Fatmah restaurant. It poured just after we began the short walk back, so we took shelter in a bale with two blokes from Lombok. Another three blokes joined us.

 

It was still drizzling, but clearing back at the Aman Giti. A drink on the beach was ruled out, so we sat in a bale in the garden and drank our last bottle of wine. We walked back to the Fatmah and ordered pizzas. After an hour, we asked where they were, and were told "soon". Twenty minutes later we asked again, and a different young man was very unhelpful. I had had enough, so we explained that we would pay for our drinks, that we didn't want the pizzas, and why that was. We returned to the Aman Giti and had a late tea there. We were the only customers in the restaurant at 9pm.

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