I left my heart in Kuta, Lombok

I spent a week in Southern Lombok after the hike. Kuta, Lombok not to be confused with Kuta, Bali. I fell even more in love with Indonesia. The sun always shinning, the waves always crashing, the beaches are beautiful, the people are beautiful, the food is wonderful, and the vibe, the energy plays my heart strings. 
The girls and I at Mawun Beach

Swinging life away at Tanjung Aan Beach, Lombok
Kuta, Lombok is a surfers town. All the locals surf, the waves are great, the beaches are pretty empty and it has minimal tourists. Which comes with minimal amenities for tourists. This means that most of the locals are incredibly warm and generous, always smiling, always happy to just be alive. Their energy is one of a kind and its contagious. They have the total surfer vibe to them, catch some waves, hang loose, the whole hang ten. I spent a lot of time with a girl I met there from Switzerland, we had so much fun together she even convinced me to try out surfing for a day as she was doing a surf school that week. I did it, I loved it, but it was incredibly hard. I only managed to ride a couple waves out but drank a lot of salt water and got tossed around by a lot of big waves. I almost enjoyed getting pummelled by huge waves more than the surfing :). At one point I wanted to give up but my surf instructor Joe wouldn’t let me. He said “You just gotta keep tryin man, you cant give up.” This coming from a local that killed the waves haha, poor guy was probably so bored watching me. My arms were dead after two 3 hour sessions in one day. I will definitely be back to take lessons one day and master the surf! 
I am the second one, I did get up and ride a few waves!
I was pretty proud to say I surfed, and swam in the Indian Ocean!!
Kuta Beach, Lombok, Indonesia
I spent quiet a bit of time with the locals there as they all spoke good English which made conversations much easier. I learned a bit of the language while there as well. Tirama Kasih is Thank you, Suk Sumo is Thank you in balinese, Suma Suma is your welcome. Good Morning is Salamat Pagi, Good Night is Salamat malam.  In Kuta you have to rent a motor bike to get to any of the good beaches, which was very much worth having. As it does have a lot of Warangs (cafes) you can walk too and some shopping, the biggest attraction is the beaches and to get there a bike is required, they don’t have many taxi’s so there is not many other options. That’s the difference in being in a touristy town and non-touristy- or one of the differences. Something else I discovered while spending time down here, children are everywhere selling bracelets and sarongs, and whatever else they conjour up. They can be very sweet, their English is excellent, but they are also incredibly pushy. It hurt my heart to eventually have to just ignore them to get them to go away. I mean these were young girls and boys that were very smart and stuck selling stuff to tourists. I have noticed in the little bit I have traveled that as a tourists, especially from a western country, I just look like a big dollar sign to most locals. Kuta just began seeing tourists about 7 years ago and is a safe haven from the madness of Bali. The hope is it does not eventually turn out like Bali. This is why the influx of liter in the waters and streets. They burn all their trash because they do not have a system for disposal. More tourists means more stores, food, and garbage and no means to get rid of it except burning it. Anyways, one can put pieces together on how some locals do not like tourists because we come and destroy their land, we invade on their natural beautiful places, and behave like we are entitled. On the other hand, tourist do provide income for many locals and we open up a connection between cultures and experiences. This is just my thoughts really, as I have become more observant in the different areas and places I go. I fell in love with Kuta, Lombok and the people- I don’t know if I could say that enough. I do know I will be back to Indonesia for much longer than 3 weeks. 
A woman from the Sasak Village. She was 100 years old, still spinning thread and maintaining a beautiful spirit.

We also spent a few hours visiting the Sasak Village which lies north of Kuta. It was incredibly eye opening to learn and see how they live their daily lives and the traditions they continue to practice. Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world and at least three times a day you can hear them singing prayer from the mosque’s. The Sasak village is built from dung and clay molded into huts where they live, raise their children and create the beautiful sarongs and assorted jewlrey. 

A hut in the Sasak Village, this one particular is for drying rice. 
These steps, as well as the floors of all the huts are made with cow dung and clay.

It was interesting to learn that they are all related and come from one family. They marry within the family and begin marriage and starting families as young as 14 for the women and 17 for the boys. 

A young man and his beautiful baby girl

One of the beautiful women in the village, she was actually very smiley I just happen to catch her off guard.

Her beauty and her smile displays such a positive spirit, hiding any struggles and pain.

It is tradition to present the womens family with a cow or buffalo as an exchange for her hand in marriage. Another traditon is to kidknap the woman. I had to consciously prevent myself from making faces or asking judgemental questions while being explained this. It is rude and inappropriate for me to begin judging or making judgemental statements towards their traditonal way of living. This is how they have lived for hundreds of years and is completely normal to them. Just as if they visited America and were taken back by how we live our lives. It is so beautiful to have the opportunity to learn and experience such foreign beliefs and values. Neither is right or wrong, simply just different. I often wondered if the women were happy, as well as the men. Is this how they truly want to live or is it staying true to their beliefs that continues the lifestyle? This is a question you can ask in any culture, even America of course. But the freedom I have to travel, experience, and be myself continuing to grow and learn about diverse cultures, its a freedom many do not have the opportunity to do. Not because of money, but due to the values and the consistency of those that came before them. This culture appears to struggle with changing old patterns and to try to break free could result in punishment or being ostracized from their families. I found myself very thankful to have the opportunity to learn about the culture and change my way of thinking right in that moment to an open mind rather than a judgemental mind. We see the world the way in which we choose to see it, we perceive the world based on our experiences, to have the ability to allow my sights to expand and my perception to alter enriches my soul and touches my heart.

From the tops of the rocks overlooking the beauty of the Indian Ocean
Blissfully Yours,

Oh this guy snuck up on me while trying to take a selfie and stole my water bottle, he almost got my bag. He came out of no where! I was high up on these rocks that had no trees or anything. 
“See no evil”

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