Snow and Surf?
Having met so many people along my travels from all across the world I decided to ask a few of them to write me a blog about their experiences in a country they had travelled to. This month it is Julie, originally from the UK but living the dream; living six months in Indonesia and six months in Switzerland each year. Here’s what she thinks is important when living on two continents!
By Julie Pilcher
Every morning in Lombok I wake up to the screech of monkeys battling against the local dogs around my grass hut in the jungle surrounds. Getting out of bed I gaze out the window to see crystal clear water lapping at the white sandy beaches below me with mount Rinjani, the Mother of Lombok, poking out above the clouds……..and think to myself: Lombok, I love you.
However, this may not always be the case. The level of political corruption, the slow pace of life and remote location can make me miss my winter home in Switzerland, where clear regulations are in place to leave no confusion or worry that you may have to pay off a random police officer for something you did not do.
Furthermore, in Switzerland: public transport works like clockwork; when somebody tells you “I will be there at 5pm” they arrive at 5pm, not two hours later; you can pop into the shop and buy your favourite chocolate bar, or essential sanitary items, not having to stumble across dusty, rocky roads for two hours with a small probability that you will find exactly what you are looking for; you know that when a stranger speaks to you they are not trying to sell you something or rip you off; everywhere you look is clean with no litter left to destroy the beautiful surrounding environment; and last but certainly not least… when you order cheese not only do you get real Swiss cheese but also you get beautiful melted cheese in a pot with soft French bread to dip in!
So now you must be thinking, why would I love Lombok? It’s simple…I love the people. On occasions they may just see you as a “white person with money”, but this is natural given the environment they grow up in. With many Westerners coming in and not thinking twice about spending, on a one-night stay in Lombok, what the locals earn in two months. This perception of a white person being extremely wealthy really came to light for me when I was asked to attend a local Indonesian wedding. It transpired that when I arrived that my friend and myself were actually bridesmaids. Neither of us really knew the bride very well, in fact her own sister was not involved in the wedding. The sad reason that we were bridesmaids was to make it appear that the bride’s village was wealthy.
But it is the smiley, happy, warm people that make working in Lombok a real pleasure. They are happy regardless of how much money they have, which can be a real relief after working with people in Switzerland who have more money than I could ever dream of.
Regardless, I love both Lombok and Switzerland for their own stunningly beautiful surroundings, people and lifestyle.
To conclude, my advice to anyone going to Indonesia or any developing country is to just simply relax and be patient… things will take a lot longer to be completed and so just sit back and grab a large Bintang (Indonesian beer)!
Credit: Julie Pilcher
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