Now we're talking. Don't get me wrong, traveling in first world countries is comfortable, easy and amazing. But developing countries can be a thousand times more interesting and eye opening for me. Not to mention 90% cheaper.
We stayed in Kuta, Bali our first night in Indonesia. While a dip in the quaint Indonesian style hotel pool (much nicer than the backpacker with bunks joints with shared bathrooms that we've become accustomed to) and a $1 beer at the swim up bar was a breath of fresh air, we didn't find much in the town center of Kuta.
Hopped on a plane the next day to the island of Lombok. Luckily the flight was only 20 minutes bc we all looked at eachother with a nervous grin when pieces of the plane (frames above heads where the A/C lights are) popped out upon the pressure of take off. I've never experienced such a speed upon landing a plane, but the plane did arrive in one piece.
As it's off season (the restaurants and hotels are pretty much empty), we booked a luxury villa outside the town of Senggigi online at a deep discount. Still, we didn't expect the true luxury that we've had for the past 3 nights. I highly recommend Puri Mas Boutique Resort & Spa to anyone who finds themselves here in Lombok. Once I can post photos, you'll see what I mean. The service is 5-star, and the "welcome drink" alone [fruit of the gods blended in a fresh pineapple adorned with flowers of the gods] found us in heavenly paradise.
After go go go, activity after activity, we've finally slowed our pace to hours lounging on the raised poolside bed underneath a thatched roof, walks on the beach hanging with schoolkids, and cheap Bintang pilsner. Cheap delicious food, even at the fancy hotel. Best fruit crepe breakfast i've ever tasted. Walks down roads viewing people as they live, not just for tourists. Families riding on mopeds. Scary driving - taxis beep to signal passing cars & mopeds & bikes, but we get a little too close for comfort [good thing they're not wearing ipods]. Nothing like the driving in Vietnam or India though. And no traffic.
Muslim prayer calls heard daily. Slow internet. We're going on 2 dives tomorrow, weather permitting. It's been storming for weeks (off season for a reason).
After the Gili islands for a few days we hope to head to Sumatra upon many recommendations. But, taking it day by day, as one does here. Nice way to live.