I could sense that Lombok is a dangerous place as soon as I arrived. The inhabitants of Bali’s dirtier cousin stare at you with angry eyes, yell and swear. And this morning all my suspicions were proven to be true, as I found out just how bad this shining emerald island can be.
No, I wasn’t attacked, but I met someone who was, and found out just how close I’d gone to becoming a victim myself.
I caught a bus to the airport with a young lass who was fleeing Kuta after her and a friend were attacked by machete-wielding maniacs yesterday arvo. They’d scootered to Mawun Beach, spent the day swimming, and scootered back. Halfway home, a couple of deranged bandits came after them on bikes, trying to rip their backpacks off. When the girls stopped, the pieces of shit came after them with their knives, jabbering like fucking gronks, grabbing at them, and generally acting like pork chops. When the girls wouldn’t hand over their things, one of the thugs lashed out with his blade, tearing one of his victims apart and sending blood spraying everywhere.
Thankfully, she wasn’t killed, and both girls got away. The one who was cut got out of town as soon as possible. Her friend left today, vowing never to return.
I’d walked right past where they were attacked just a day before. I walked through by myself, taking happy snaps on my camera like a dickhead, without a care in the world. I knew people were yelling and swearing at me as I went, but I had no idea just how close I was to being torn apart by the pocerty-stricken arseholes. I went very close to walking back along that road alone, as the sun went down, but was too tired and accepted a lift instead. If I hadn’t, would I have been robbed, or worse? It’s very likely.
I’ve since found out that the outskirts of Kuta are a playground for crims with small dicks and big blades, who pray on carefree tourists. People are regularly getting held up, torn off their bikes, or horribly mutilated, all for a few dollars.
It’s sad, because the landscapes of Lombok are truly beautiful, but it’s just not worth the risk to go there. And with having to constantly fend off beggars, dodge motorbikes, run from dogs and put up with scumbags swearing at you (not to mention listening to South American knob-ends kissing each other), it’s not a relaxing holiday destination, either. It’s more like Mount Druitt with sand.
As I write this, I’m sitting in my room in Jakarta in my undies (form an orderly line, ladies). This place is batshit crazy, surprising, frightening and awesome. There are sections that look identical to Sydney sitting next to the worst slums in existence, and the whole joint smells a bit like a toilet. There are cars and people everywhere, pollution chokes the streets, and there’s almost nothing to indicate this place is in Indonesia – it’s just a global city, and it could be anywhere.
After having my first hot shower in three weeks, and using soap for the first time in as long (oi, ladies! No pushing in!) I ventured out to have a little look at the place just as the sun was setting. Streets run in all directions and all were crawling with traffic. It was such an epic mindfuck after nearly a month of hanging out in villages and on beaches that I couldn’t really take it, and instead grabbed myself a couple of beers and headed back here to watch Bob’s Burgers. That’s not a euphemism for staring longingly at some bloke’s arse, it’s the name of a show.
From what I’ve seen so far, Jakarta isn’t a pretty city (although, from the air, it was surprisingly modern), but I’m gunna have more fun than Rolph Harris in a preschool exploring it. I’ll get a good sleep and just head out into the streets to see what I can find. What’s the worst that can happen?
And for the final word, I’m handing it over to Norman, a small child who I met on the plane today. Take it away, Norm!