Saturday, November 26, 2016

Trouble in Paradise!

Don and Sheila were our crew from Darwin to Lombok.
Sheila completed her circumnavigation there and left us for
some fun in Indonesia before returning to work in Germany.
The World ARC fleet had a scheduled Start to Christmas Island and Cocos Keeling, two Australian islands in the Indian Ocean. I say “had” because we were not part of it! We were abandoned by the fleet as they headed out of the Gili Gede anchorage early Sunday morning!

We had attended the Skippers’ Briefing on Saturday and asked if anyone had a spare oil pressure switch for a Fischer Panda generator with a Kubota engine. Into the Blue said they had a used one for a Kawasaki engine that we could have. Since we had a mechanic coming on Sunday, we stayed behind to wait for him.

The water taxi was the best way to go ashore.
Needless to say, it was lonely in the harbor
the fleet. Odysseus, the boat with the engine failure that was towed 350 miles by Katarina, was still there waiting for the mechanic, too. The mechanic arrived midday and installed the part. Then it happened!

The generator wouldn’t start at all. Before it was just the feed water pump that wouldn’t start due to low oil pressure. Or so we thought! Now we weren’t sure what was the real problem. Dennis asked a local sailor to take a look and Nigel thought it was a solenoid problem. There was a loose wire that had sparked when Dennis touched it.

Sailors helping sailors! Diagnosing the generator issue.
Of course, the mechanic had to go to Odysseus to diagnose their engine problem. He said he would come back in the morning. NOT! Unfortunately, there was a death in his family so he did not come back. He has to drive two hours from Mataram to get to Gili Gede. So we sweltered in 100 degrees and sun – with an occasional squall – for the whole day and most of the next day.

He never did come back! He only went to Odysseus to drop off an invoice and collect money so he could order their parts. He said he would come over to us, but did not.
This is how we refuel when there is no marina.
In the meantime, we had begun trying to source the parts from Australia with the hope that Hugh with Rally Control could bring them from Sydney. Even though the fleet left us behind, the World ARC was very helpful in trying to assist.

We hoped the parts could meet us in Cocos Keeling. The main issue is that we cannot run the water maker (desalinator). We had enough water and juice on board for keeping us hydrated. The issue is the need to protect the membranes of the water maker and we can’t backflush or make water without the generator working properly.

Sometimes friends drop by ... or swim over!
Now let’s add a little more drama to the situation! Dennis was having what our Van Ni friends call “running stomach” and sleeping all of the time that he was not seated in the head. Actually, we all had a touch of it, but I blamed it on the spicy food we had eaten on several occasions. Remember: Lombok means chili pepper.

Don and I were fine after 24 hours, but not the Captain. It started on Sunday and by Tuesday he needed to see a doctor. The trip to a doctor entailed a dinghy ride to the mainland, then a 1.5 hour taxi ride to the hospital and then the return trip. It took him all afternoon and he returned to the boat at sunset.

He described the experience to us: the hospital was very modern and there were several non-natives there with stomach issues. They drew blood and ran tests to find that he had an intestinal infection. The doctor gave him some medications and sent him home.

He said the hospital had modern equipment and facilities, but the staff did not wash their hands between patients and they did not change the linens on the examination tables between patients! Yikes! I wonder what else he picked up there? He returned to the boat to eat a little something since he hadn’t eaten in two days and was weak and lightheaded. Then back to bed.
The World ARC Yellow Shirts and locals took good care of us.

This was our track on YB Tracker. No we did not cut
across the land. The tracker sends a signal every six
hours so it missed us going through the Lombok channel.
We would wait another day for the mechanic (who never showed or called) and for the Captain to regain some strength. Then we would fill the tanks with bottled water we purchased and head off to catch the fleet.

Monday, November 21, 2016

A Day of Arts and Crafts

Having been a fiber artist for years, I was looking forward to visiting some of the villages where native crafts are done. I was disappointed that we did not have time to go over to Bali as I wanted to find some batik fabrics. However, Dennis arranged a private tour for us to go to several villages with a driver and a guide. They knew what we wanted to see and took us everywhere in an all day adventure.

We had visited the pottery village of Banyumulek and its retail store with the WARC on our tour. Some of the people made pottery with the village ladies while the rest of us watched. It was fun watching the children watch us! As for the children, they are sweet and love to have their photos taken. Unfortunately, my blonde hair scares some of them. The adults say they think I am a ghost!

On the way to the pottery village, we rode in horse carts. Obviously, we are much taller than the locals so it was hard to sit up without hitting our heads. While a little uncomfortable, it was a fun experience. Unfortunately, the big pots I liked would not fit on the boat! We like to leave a little money with the locals so we bought a couple of small items.

The World ARC does a nice job of showing us the culture and people of the various countries through the tours and events they plan for us. It makes it easy to just get off the boat and into a bus. No planning, no hassles! I like it!

We continued to walk through the village and meet people. Of course, they were all trying to sell us little handmade souvenirs, but I have tried not to come home with a bunch of stuff! At the far end of the village, the bus was waiting to take us to the Pottery Cooperative store where they sell everything under the sun made of their red clay.

Cute kids in the weaving village.
On our own, we spent a day with a driver and our guide Alik. We went first to Mataram to find the capacitor for the feed water pump. Success!

The next stop was the ikat weaving village. This is what I wanted to see. We were told that in this village if a village woman does not know how to weave, she cannot marry! So the girls learn to weave from the age of ten.

Winding a warp
I was disappointed that I did not see them using the warp dyed technic, but the pieces I bought are of that type. Since the retail shop is a cooperative, there is a great variety of colors, patterns, sizes and style from which to choose. The are done by different artists so each piece is a little unique.

First we walked through the village and visited the homes where the weavers were working on back strap looms. One pair of ladies were winding a warp for a new project. They use very fine yarns. I never had the patience for that. Better to buy than fight the process. Besides, I donated by whole weaving studio to Wayne State University's Fiber Department when we sold our house.

I can't imagine sitting on the ground in this position everyday. I can't even sit like that, at all!
It amazed me that so much of this fiber art is still woven on back strap looms. Of course, there is a lot of machine woven fabrics that look like they were handwoven on the market. They are the less expensive ones. I doubt that these women are paid much for their finished pieces. They send them to the cooperative store to be sold. No one attempted to sell directly to us. Of course, we were with a guide during the village tour.

Apparently, the men do the warp dyed ikat
weaving, but none were working when
we were touring the village.

From there we went to a traditional village where 27 families continue to live as they have for centuries. Although they have electricity and mobile phones now, their housing and lifestyle is the traditional type. It is somewhat like the Amish communities in the USA.

These are hollowed out pumpkins (or as we would call them,
gourds) that were used to carry rice or water.
Our guide's sister married into this village and lives there. They still store their rice in a rice house like the one pictured here. It is on stilts to keep it dry and allow air to flow underneath. It also keeps animals out of it.

All natural materials are used to build the houses.
They somehow enter through the little door at the top to fill it and retrieve rice. I don't know how they get to the rice at the bottom unless there is another door underneath. It wasn't that far off the ground.

The houses are built up on clay slabs to keep the water out. The walls and roofs are all natural materials and have to be replaced from time to time.

An old way to catch rain water with a
modern touch!

The family barn

I found it interesting that they do not put their cattle out to graze in the fields. Instead, they cut the food and bring it to the cattle.

The community center

A typical cook stove
And, of course, a gift shop on the way out of the village!

Our guide, Alik, didn’t know what batik was. He thought it was ikat. Since a friend of ours had been at the batik gallery the previous day, I knew we were near it. Finally, he found a source that directed us to the right place. It was fascinating to watch the young girls working with the hot wax to create patterns. We bought an interesting art piece. Now I need a wall on which to hang it!

In batik, you apply hot wax to block out areas from the dye. After the first dip into the dye, the fabric is dried. Then you block out additional design areas and tip it into the next dye bath. This process is continued as many times as necessary to get the patterns. If you see white on a piece of batik, the wax was kept in place until all dying was completed. It is a long process that requires patience!

On the way back to the boat, we stopped at several of their beautiful beaches and we saw a wedding procession along the road in one little village. The bride and groom each walk under an umbrella, but at opposite ends of the procession. Interesting!

Crab tracks in the sand

The bride doesn't look too happy!
All in all, it was a very busy day filled with many adventures. We were exhausted and definitely thought the tour company had done a fabulous job of showing us the island and what we wanted to see. Plus we got to buy the part we needed!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

A New Country: A New Culture

Local market

Indonesia is primarily a Muslim country where some of the women wear the head scarves and many do not. They follow a more relaxed form of Islam, only praying three times a day instead of five. We try to dress discretely while trying to stay cool. We are less than 500 miles south of the equator so it is hot! My golfing pals know how I dislike the heat!

The people of Lombok are not as strict in their religion as in other areas, but we do hear the call to prayer at all hours of the day and night. Fortunately, we are anchored off a small island (known as a “Gili”) so it comes wafting over the water which is easier to take than being on land near the loud speakers. Due to religious holidays, we heard a lot of messages over the loud speakers that reach throughout the villages.
There are many mosques throughout the main island of Lombok, just like all of the various churches in America. We visited the unique Hindu temple “Lingsar” that was built in 1714 and rebuilt in 1878 and is still pretty much intact.

What is unique about it is that four religions worship there: Muslim, Hindu, Buddhists and Catholics (which probably means Christians in general). What a fine example of Peace on Earth!

Amazing ancient carvings are everywhere.
At the site of the Holy Water fountains.

There are four flowing pipes of Holy Water: one for each of the four religions all flowing from the same source. The practice is to cup your hands and take a small drink and wipe your face with the rest of the water at each of the four. This shows unity. It was also refreshing and since it was raining, no one cared that they were getting wet.

We gals having fun in the rain!
Locals praying at the mosque
The guides all tell us that Lombok means “chili pepper.” They do not eat pork as they do on many islands including their nearby neighbor Bali. Chicken, fish, rice and vegetables are the main fare here.

The food has been very tasty and not as hot as I feared, since I am a “mild minus” kind of gal! I love the peanut sauce and a sweet soy sauce, but anything red is too hot for me! When at the market, I bought a few of the local brands of sauces that I may not find back home.

We are at the ATM to get local currency so we can buy
our SIM and data cards as we are eager for Internet time
Speaking of heat, it is hot here! The grass is even too hot for bare feet. The teak deck is a scorcher! And we have to take our shoes off before entering any structure so we end up on hot cement or stones. OUCH!

For the first stop on our World ARC group tour, we were taken to a traditional daily market about 2 km from where we landed on the mainland. Some villages have daily or weekly markets.

Our Palomino horse cart. A blonde for a blonde!
Like all markets, it is good to get there early for a good selection. There were some interesting things as usual. The Lombok people don’t mind having their picture taken; in fact, they like it and will pose. I always try to get the more natural shot, but did oblige a few of them. However, I thought the markets in the South Pacific islands were much cleaner and had more variety.

Want lunch? Here is a street vendor's cart.
On our WARC tour, we visited the capital city of Mataram and the old mosque. Since we had a huge downpour during the afternoon, the bus stopped at a pearl store and the big mall. It gave us places to go without getting wet. Let’s just say that the pearl store had a good day!

I am the lucky owner of a large gold pearl. Gold pearls are only found in this area. Happy Birthday to me! Or Happy Anniversary to us?

Sweet curious little faces everywhere.

The children are delightful - and curious about blonde hair.
The WARC family table for lunch!
We had lunch of a typical Sasak food “Ayam Taliwang” at the iconic Taliwang Raja Restaurant, which was very good. The restaurant was open -air and had a beautiful Japanese type garden at the entrance. Lunch was wonderful and the presentation quite simple by beautiful. The WARC does a nice job of finding cultural experiences for us.

It was a wonderful meal of things we had never had before.

Our new Indonesian daughter! What's one more?

We were taken to the big (and I think, only Mall to shop, check out the supermarket and buy phone cards. The young woman who helped us called us "American Mama and Papa" and wanted her picture taken with us. I guess we were a novelty to her!