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Mark Moxon's Travel Writing

Indonesia: Ampenan

Once I'd decided to head east from Bali to the neighbouring island of Lombok, it all fell into place; in the end, I managed to get from Ubud into the thick of Lombok in just two days, which struck me as pretty reasonable. I left Ubud on a Wednesday morning, jumping on a couple of bemos that took me across Bali to the port of Padangbai on the east coast. On the way I shared the inside of a tiny van with 22 other people, and even had a little kid throw up on my backpack, which was a nice touch. Still, I count myself lucky; the breakneck driver didn't hit anything, I didn't have anything stolen, and I got the feeling back in my legs and bottom within about half an hour of arriving in Padangbai.

Peaceful Ampenan

Soon I was wandering around Ampenan, trying to fit my map to the roads themselves. The concept of road signs is apparently alien to the Indonesians, and after walking around for half an hour with no success, I collared a passing horse cart and asked him to take me to the Hotel Zahir. These wonderful little constructions, called dokars if they have two wheels and andongs if they have four, are a pleasant way to get around; the cart is tiny, seating four at a push, and the donkey trots along the road, crapping when it feels like it and adding to an atmosphere that is already explosive enough. The cost is the same as your average bemo, except you tend to bargain more with a dokar, knocking him down from his initially ridiculous offer to something that's only about four times the price the locals will pay... and it all adds up to a heap of fun.