After spending three days with only myself and pretty much in absolute silence, I found myself on a scooter in Praya with four people. Two adults and two kids; absolutely no biggie here in Indonesia!
I met Hidayat from “Trawangan Riders Community Lombok” and his family through a motorcycle friend from Java and I promised I would pop by and say “salam alaikum” when I am in Lombok. Over some traditional bakso (meatball noodle soup) we shared stories, getting to know each other.
The two little girls Raya and Alika won my heart straight away. Their word for “auntie” is Tante, the same word as in German. My eyes sparkled when they called me “Tante Aileen”. It was very unexpected and so incredibly cute hearing Indonesian children using a word that I know only as a German one. Somewhat incongruous as it didn’t match my perception of a foreign language, to be named in such a gorgeously familiar way.
Hidayat and his beautiful pregnant wife Desi kindly offered me the mattress on their floor in the central living area. When I woke up in the morning it felt like the whole village had gathered in front of our door to come and meet the stranger. It was such a delightful way to spend the morning, just hanging out on the house terrace, drinking tea and finally getting to know some locals on this beautiful island.
Our day continued not very different from how it would look like without me being around. We went to the local market, cooked and had lunch together, the neighbor climbed a palm tree to get us down some young coconuts for their delicious and healthy water and smashed a laundry rack when dropping them to the ground. It was taken with a smile and not much attention to the damage… (I was just glad my bike was parked out of reach). Ibu from next door dried her rice in the drive way in the sun and the kids played in the garden around the bikes, laughing and giggling.
I felt happy and honoured to be allowed and invited to stay and be part of the traditional family life as well as being around for the upcoming traditional Islamic event “Lebaran Ketupat”, which for we spent the afternoon making so called “Ketupats”. They are diamond-shaped containers made of plaited coconut or palm leaves with steamed rice cooked inside. It is served as the main dish during the celebration. In an expression of gratitude for completing the Ramadhan fasting month, Muslims across the country are gathering on Monday to celebrate Lebaran Ketupat, which is held to commemorate the conclusion of an extra six days of fasting following Idul Fitri. “Lebaran Topat” is celebrated in some regions in Indonesia, but in Lombok, especially West Lombok, it is special because it is well-preserved. My wonderful hosts were planning to visit their folks in the north of the island and asked me to come along.
Praya, in central Lombok, is known as a rather rough place and not necessarily very safe. Interestingly enough I have been warned not to go or stay there and it was the first city I ended up in. Well, I didn’t sense any threatening or tense vibes and as it is always my intention to travel with my intuition as compass, I would stay as long as it felt right. I didn’t even think about that I should be worrying about my motorbike as long as it parked in the garden, but I learnt that Hidayat always parked his scooter in the kitchen at night time, where the door was too narrow to get my bike through. So basically out of rubbish we built a cover that would hide my bike at nighttime.
I slept well and without concern, yet was I happy to see my bike still being there in the morning, waiting to be ridden to Tanjung for “Lebaran Topat”…