A Scratch for the Itch: Day 26

Saturday morning. No other insects have appeared in my room overnight, thankfully.

Although it is the weekend I continue working on my proofreading assignment throughout the morning while sitting in the hotel’s restaurant. Although I plugged my phone into my power bank last night, when I got up this morning it had not charged. I’m hoping there is no issue with it after yesterday’s episode with the waterproof case. I plug it into the wall, and when I get back to the room it is almost fully charged, thank goodness.

It’s approaching lunch time, and I have barely moved so I need to get out and walk around. First, I find a laundry service as I figure that getting clothes done now will give me enough clean clothes for the rest of the trip. I wander around and look for laundry service signs. I’ve seen several in the interior of the island, but not really near the hotel. I find a restaurant and guest house that has a sign. As I’m wondering where I have to go in, a worker comes out. He tells me the price – 25,000 per kilo – and I say I’ll go and get my stuff. When I come back he motions to me to sit down with a couple of other workers. They ask me about smoking weed. Do I do it? Do I want to know where to get some? He pulls out a big bag from his pocket and flashes it around, but I politely decline and ask when I can collect my stuff. He tells me to come back tomorrow lunch time.

I don’t have much of a plan as I make my way east from the boat station and up the coast. I’ve got my swimming gear with me so I might take a dip. I think about snorkeling again as I pass by the places renting gear. I’ll probably end up doing that.

I keep walking. It’s not that busy again today. A lot of the boats to Lombok or Bali appear to leave in the morning and then some return in the afternoon, so it’s usually quite quiet around lunch time. It is hot though, as there are many stretches of the path that are not covered in shade.

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I get to the north east point of the island and pass by the Gili Air resort. There are lots of people sitting on the stretch of sand outside it, but it’s far too sunny for me. I keep walking.

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Soon I come to Scratch. As it’s lunchtime I decide to drop in and try the beef rendang since I didn’t have it the other day. I can also use the Wi-Fi there as I know the login credentials. I sit myself down at the corner table again. There’s a strong wind blowing through the restaurant and the napkins on the table flap and flutter onto and across the floor. The waiter puts the laminated menu down on the table and it immediately gets lifted by the wind and flies across to the table next to me.

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I persevere anyway. Not long after a boat arrives which is loaded with the bar’s drinks order. It’s funny to think how the only way to get supplies to the island is by boat. I use the Wi-Fi on the phone. I notice that the home button is not vibrating like it should – the iPhone 7 Plus has a vibration motor beneath the button which simulates a click when you press it – but otherwise the phone is working okay. I do see what looks like a small patch of water in the top left of the screen when I tilt it down. To be safe, I turn on the Assistive Touch feature, which places a virtual home button on the screen.

A message comes through on WhatsApp. It is Neo. He was thinking to come over to Gili Air for the afternoon. Would I want to meet up? Why not, I think. I’ve basically spent the last few days wandering around on my own.

The beef rendang is nice, but not quite what I was expecting. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. I still enjoy it, though in the wind it goes cold quite quickly. Neo thinks he might be there by 4 pm. It’s around 1.30 now. I get out my book and despite the wind I am able to read it no problem. I stay for a couple of hours, enjoying the atmosphere – they play good music here – and having a coffee and then a chocolate dessert.

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I make my way down to the boat station when Neo says he’s on the boat. It’s about a 20-minute crossing from the port of Bangsal over on Lombok, and he’s there when I get there. Since sunset is approaching we make our way up to the west coast and get a Bintang as the sunset begins. It is still hot and there is not much wind on this side of the island.

Once again the sunset is gorgeous. There are a lot of clouds tonight, but the water is just as still and flat and stunning to look at. Pictures really don’t do it justice. Sunset watching has become one of my most favourite things to do and it is definitely the one routine part of my day now.

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We try a place called the Mexican Kitchen for dinner. I have been past a few times but not in. I’ve found the paintings of Frida Kahlo on the blinds quite appealing. The food is okay – I get chicken enchiladas – and a Latin woman who I presume is the owner moves about and asks if everything is okay but seems totally pissed off with most of the tables as she is doing so. I wonder if we have done something wrong, but I see an angry-sounding notice next to the bar saying they don’t split bills and they don’t allow customers to bring birthday cakes in because the restaurant sells cakes and customers should buy one from there, so maybe it’s just her way.

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Neo gets a boat back and I decide to keep walking around the beach. I find a spot near the Gili Air resort that is quite sandy and looks nice to sit down on. I am just amazed by the sheer number of starts in the sky. It’s such a wonderful sight, especially as it’s so rare to see more than one or two stars in Seoul due to the amount of buildings and light pollution there.

I pull out my phone to check the time. Something’s wrong. The screen has gone black and there are some odd red and green lines flickering across it. I have a mild panic – if my phone really is dead, what am I going to do? But then I rationalise that it’s only a phone and it can be replaced. I’m going to leave it off for a day or two and see what happens.

I head back to the hotel and stop for a coffee at Breadelicious. It’s about 10 pm now and I’m starting to feel sleepy. I’m quite happy to have an early night, though when I get back to the hotel I sit outside on the porch for a few minutes and see a roach crawling near the step up to the path.

I have another mild panic and I quickly get my bug spray and reapply a generous coating to the steps and around the door frame before I fall asleep.

 

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