After a long hot winter, the Easter break couldn’t have come at a better time. Many may think that life in Indonesia is followed by one sunny day after another but the truth is, it’s only gloriously sunny in the mornings, for six months of the year the afternoons consist of torrential rain, thunder and fork lightning. So this is the time of year that the weather brightens up a little, and while the thunderstorms still come, they are less frequent and push on further into the afternoon, making the days longer, just like home really.
And just like home all schools, except for the Australian ones, are closed for a two week break which coincides with Easter. There was a time when the tiger roared that this stretch of time would be passed in Portugal or Disneyland (US, of course, no half measures when it comes to spending carelessly here), but as the tiger grew weary and broke, the two weeks was spent at home with a 3 night all-in family getaway in Killarney being the highlight.
Three days of kids clubs, indoor swimming pools and warm white wine in the room, where you end up sleeping on the pull out beds while the kids rest in the divan. Three mornings of waking up in what appears to be a kiddy hostel, beds and bodies strewn everywhere, no privacy and minnie mouse swimsuits drip drying over the bath. Three mornings of hectic family breakfasts, where you urge the kids to fill up on breakfast in the hope that they’ve developed camel-like capabilities and keep going until dinner, but no chance, sausage and eggs are left untouched and two hours later you’re forking out hard earned dough for an overcooked pizza. The drive there and back is always the same, an argument over packing the boot, toilet stops and ice-cream in the car and bingo, you’ve just had a minibreak in Ireland and the Eu. 169 all-in cost now seems like small change compared to what you actually spent.
Of course the weekend wouldn’t be complete without the post mortem with friends, whereby you claim that you could nearly have had a week in Spain for the same price. Well, here in Indonesia there are no such worries because Killarney is miles away and for the past five years a break at Easter was laughable, and the idea of having the disposable income for a minibreak glimmered like a mirage in the desert sands of Doha and Abu Dhabi.
However, when you’re living on the island of Java in between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean just down a bit from the Bay of Bengal and right next door to Australia, it does seems a shame not to visit. However, it transpired that the thumb size distance on the map is actually an eight hour flight, and so it would be like saying, it seems a shame to live in Carrigaline and not visit New York.
The search continued, where was Killarney in Indonesia?. Following several verbal inquiries it appeared that Bali was indeed the Killarney of Indonesia and c. 100% of all expats living in Jakarta visit Bali either on a regular or at very least once during their expatriation.
Only a hop away and for the cost of a train ride in Ireland, Bali was indeed the number one destination for Jakarta expats to holiday. It looked affordable, it seemed reasonable but I had been in Killarney before and knew how this played out. Investigating all avenues, it was decided, we would visit Lombok, a remote island next door to Bali, all the charm without the Australians, sorry, I mean commercialism. You could say the Dingle of Indonesia.
Flights less than eighty euros, (possibly equivalent to the price of petrol from Cork to Dingle), bed and breakfast for less than 179 for three nights and the website promised mosquito nets along with ‘hot water shower’ and ‘conventional flush toilet’, there was no mention of electricity but being an optimist I’m packing my hairdyer.
So bags packed ready for Lombok, Minnie mouse swimsuits, mosquito repellent and Motillium all packed we head off for Dingle in Indonesia.