Thursday, February 02, 2006

Jakarta to Lombok

Scenic overlook of the south coast of Lombok. Notice all the breaks.

There are a lot of dogs in Lombok. On the hour long drive from the airport in Mataran to Kuta, I counted 52. I began my count a little more than half way into the trip because I was so impressed by how many dogs I was seeing. So the actual count of dogs that one might see on any given night driving from the capital to the south coast is around 100. These are not cuddly little lap dogs or romp about lab types – they are street dogs – scruffy, gnarly, skittish, tough and hungry. And they take the street thing very seriously. Several times, no, every time we came across a dog it was in the street and did not relinquish its real estate until the last possible moment. One time we actually lost in a heart stopping game of chicken as the dog in the street that we were baring down upon had found a particularly precious road kill and refused to budge from its claim. We were forced to swerve out of the way to avoid hitting the determined pup. I am not sure why Lombok has such a large population of dogs – Jakarta has very few – thus the silly amount of street cats.

I am reading How Soccer Explains the World a book that uses soccer as an analogy for globalization. Consider English soccer. Before the Premier League came into its own most English teams were made up of players from England with maybe some Scotts and a Welshman now and then. The advertisements adorning the field and the team kit were for English banks, lager and such. Winning the first division league title or the FA cup was the primary goal. This is no longer the case. Take Chelsea, the English Premiere League champs for example. The team roster includes a few Brits but primarily consists of players from all over the world including not only Europeans but several Africans and a few South Americans. The coach is Portuguese and the owner is a Russian oil magnate. Samsung, a Korean multinational giant, is the primary sponsor or at least the company that won the bidding war for the rights to the Chelsea jersey. In recent years Siemens (German) and Fly Emirates (United Arab Emirates) have adorned the Chelsea Blue. They play in a number of international tournaments like the Champions league and possibly the FIFA club world Championship.

This weekend I experienced another interesting example of globalization in the sports world – surfing in Lombok. I, an American from the US, staying at the Novotel, part of the French hotel giant Accor Group was picked up early in the morning by a surf guide and driver from Lombok, Indonesia driving a Japanese SUV. We drove to a small fishing village where we hopped on a small Lombok style fishing boat and after about a twenty minute boat ride arrived at the break called Grupuk. Here I was at a surf spot off the south coast of Lombok, an island barely known outside of Indonesia feeling pretty adventurous and Endless Summerish until I noticed the twenty Japanese guys bobbing up and down in the lineup. I was wearing a Dahui brand rash/sun guard made in Hawaii, and Quicksilver shorts from the US both purchased in Bali. Unfortunately I had left my board behind in Jakarta, an Australian board which I bought in south Java. But the board I was using truly represented the globalization of surfing - it was called a McBoard and had a big McDonald’s style “M” in the logo.

Another funny thing about surfing; if you don’t do it that often, you find out that all sorts of unexpected body parts are used because they hurt a lot the next day. It makes sense that your neck, shoulders, upper arms, would hurt from the paddling and that your stomach might be sore from rubbing on the board. But I forgot about my mouth hurting after not surfing for a while. Mouth? Indeed. When paddling for a wave I push down on the front of the board with my chin to force the board down. My chin has not been used as a speed boosting device for quite some time so the muscles in my jaw are rather sore. Sure do learn a lot of stuff from surfing – economic trends, anatomy ….

Lombok is advertised as the way Bali was 30 years ago. It is incredibly beautiful and has some of the most amazing beaches I have ever seen. Not to say Bali is not wonderful but certain parts of it are getting rather intense. Lombok is changing. Our driver today pointed out where the new international airport is to be built. Today it is rice fields, in a few years it will be bringing tourists from the world to discover Lombok. This is the idea – will it become Bali in 30 years time? Time will tell – and is that a good thing? Our driver certainly seemed to think so – he wants to make money. So consider checking out Lombok – just don’t get too intense.

Emmerson sporting the Gilligan look. This is the view from a new restaurant/hang out place. The owner(s)/operator(s) is/are Australian with a pretty nice piece of real estate. I can't recall the name but will post it later on. Worth checking out.
One of the many incredible beaches in Lombok - empty.


javajive said...

Still can't believe I have yet to see Lombok. The beach looks absolutely amazing.

dare said...

hey dud, i like your blog,
plz keep blog

Anonymous said...

What a heavenly scene!

Ratih S. Jatmiko said...

You have such beatiful pictures and interesting posts! Keep blogging, okay? Don't stop. Thanks for sharing (I haven't been to Lombok myself) 'n warm regards for your lovely family.