Surprisingly enough, when the other shoe drops it sounds less like a THUD and more like a THWAAAAAACK .
Preparing for my move abroad was really pretty easy. My house and car sold quickly, I managed to get rid of all my stuff (some of which I wish I’d kept…. Oh, how I miss you, salad spinner ) and in general, things just sort of fell into place rather easily. Too easily.
The first major hassle here in Indo was/is my residency visa, aka KITAS. I was told it would only take 5 weeks and it was started in October. I still don’t have it. Something about a “manpower outage in Jakarta” (WTF?) That means I have made 3 trips to Kuala Lumpur for visa “runs”. Now, I like KL, however, my infatuation with her is waning. Every visa run costs me between 500-1000 bucks. Not an inconsequential amount of money during slow season. But it’s a nice city with good food, movie theatres and an Ikea. When I go I usually load up on stuff I can’t get on Gili T or Mataram, so I usually return with2 backpacks stuffed with olives, salami, cheese and Ikea tea lights.
One such run ended with me covered in mud and another left me sans one Iphone 4S. More on the mud in a bit…..
In addition to my visa carfuffles, getting my cargo here has been a bit of a hassle. See, when you move to Indonesia you are entitled to one shipment of goods duty free. But in order to get the duty free status you must have a KITAS…. See where I’m going here? So I can either A.) pay duty B.) pay storage until I get my KITAS. Hmmmmm neither one is very appealing. Have I mentioned it’s slow season AND my pool pump died?
Yeah, yeah, I know… hard to feel sorry for the chick living on a tropical island
Back to the mud. There is one flight daily to Mataram from KL. It arrives at noon, which gives me plenty of time to get to the harbor before the last boat to the island between 4-430. Thinking I had plenty of time, I had Wayhu, my driver make some stops so I could run some errands. Then we hit traffic, then there was road construction on the mountain pass. We arrived in Bangsal harbor at just 4 pm to be told “Harbor closed. Big waves” So we rush to the small harbor just north of Bangsal hoping to catch the last boat. And if I miss it, I am stranded in Senggigi for the night. There are worse places to be stuck, but I really just want to be home.
Problem is, this particular harbor is located off a long, narrow, stretch of road which is difficult to navigate in dry season and in the wet, well, it is just impossible.
We see an Ojek (motor cycle taxi) coming towards us, and he apparently tells Wahyu that cars are not making it through and if I want to reach the harbor, I must go by motorbike. ( I have my suspicions and think wayhu, who is now my former driver, simply doesn’t want to get his car muddy) But I get out and & my 30 kilos of luggage and I hop onto the motorbike and we get about 20 meters when…… yep, you guessed it… we tip over into about a foot of mud. I am covered. My hair, my bags, my clothes, my new leather flip flops….. everything. Wayhu sees this, makes a big show of feeling bad and offers to drive me all the way… as long as I get in the trunk so I don’t sully his car. Yep. I rode in the boot.
I get to the harbor and I get the usual crap from the touts, “boats finished, you must pay to charter…. Blah blah blah” I am in no mood for their banter. I tell them in my best Bahasa Indonesia, “Saya bukan tourist, saya tinggal di sini” ( I am not a tourist, I live here) I want to add asshole to the end, but haven’t gotten that far in my bahasa.
The waves are indeed big. It is a feat to get on the boat with my crap. I have to time my step with the waves and my bags are so heavy they are throwing me off balance. I am sure one mis-timed second & I will go ass over tea kettle into the sea, but I don’t & I hoist myself on board & then see the tourists on the boat are a little green in the gills and grabbing life vests. I think, well, if we capsize at least I’ll be clean.
I settled in for the bumpy and damp ride home to Gili T, looked out onto the sea and thought, This island, this country will not defeat me and despite the mud and never ending frustrations, I am still the luckiest woman I know.