Sunday, 26 May 2013

Nasi Kandar & Fake Malaysians

I was having a catch up with my friends. 

Soon enough the conversation turned to makan.

And I discovered that my Malaysian friend is not really Malaysian after all. 

Friend: Oh, I had the best food the other day. 

Me: Oh ya?

Friend: Nasi Kandar.


Friend: My first time ever, it's soooo delicious. 

Me: :O

Friend:  So much of food! :)

Me: :O

Friend: You know, they mix the curries an' all, 6, 8, different curries? So delicious! 

Me: OMG, I know?!?!?! I eat nasi kandar EVERY DAY?! 

Friend: :)

Me: How was that your first time? How have you never eaten it before? It's like…everywhere? 

Friend: I don't know. I've never had it before

[borrowed from ...thanks ;) ]

Me: In the mamak shop? Never?

Friend: Nope. 

Me: How is that even possible??

And she's Indian. 

How IS that possible?

Thursday, 23 May 2013

The Gili Islands: Bicycles and Flash Lights

Another cycling adventure!

We went for a sunset dinner - on the beach, overlooking a distant Bali. 

It was too beautiful. 

Colourful skies. 

White sand. 

Ibiza-lounge chill out music. 

Coconuts & delicious food. 

Fire dancing. 


Then we had to go home. 

By now, this underpopulated half of the island was pitch black. 

Totally dark. 

We started to cycle and I happened to look up. 

The stars were INCREDIBLE!

[i didn't even try to take a picture.]


10 thousand more than I've ever seen. 

Imagine the most starry sky you've seen - then throw glitter into that picture. 

Me: Chap….

I had to stop.

Me: Look at the stars...

Friend: Keep moving!



It was a little scary. 

Then suddenly out of the darkness came the blinding lights of a (literally) rampaging horse-drawn carriage.

Nearly killed us.

We shriek and dive to the side of the road as the horse and it's massive, bouncing load narrowly miss swiping us off the planet. 

Friend: O.O

Me: O.O

We don't wanna die and we are a bit invisible.

Friend: Right chap, lets do this.  

Cycling-in-the-dark continues. 

We soon cross paths with a cyclist riding in the opposite direction. 

He has a torch which he generously shines on the ground between us and we do not crash. 


Cyclist: [mumble, mumble]…flashlight. 

How nice!

Us: Thank you!! :D

Cyclist: No, I said YOU NEED TO GET a flashlight. 



Thursday, 16 May 2013

The Gili Islands: Drugs and Bicycles

It's after dinner and we're making our way back to our room. 

We hired cute bicycles which is way more fun than walking. 

We dismount [good word]  to browse in a few shops along the way.

After one shop, as we're climbing back on, there's a happy looking guy sitting on the wall outside.

In heavily accented English, 

Drugs Guy: Wacky Backy?

Friend: ...What's he saying?

She thinks it's Bahasa. 

Drugs Guy: Weed?

It's English. 

Friend: OH. 

Me: Hahahahaa

Drugs Guy: Shrooms?

Me: Not today…

[ticket to the moon?]

Drugs Guy: Maybe today you try, no need to pay. 

Me: No. It's ok. 

Drugs Guy: Where you from? England or English?



Friend: Too many shrooms…

We start to cycle away.

Drugs Guy: You from Burnley?

Us: :O


I don't know if this was just a coincidence that some guy wasn't looking where he was going or if the MIND BLOWING randomness of an Indonesian drug dealer knowing that the totally insignificant town of Burnley exists was too much hilarity, but at that exact moment, my friend had a head on collision with another cyclist. 

I simply watched and cried with laughter. 

Although it was almost an genuine problem, as her bike chain came off. 

: /

Broken bike.

We were rescued by super-lovely massage ladies who rushed to help and, with the assistance of a passing local boy, got the chain back on. 

Such fun. 

Who needs drugs?

Thursday, 2 May 2013

The Gili Islands: Shake Down at Bangsal

We arrived at the tiny Lombok airport and began the taxi-hunt. 

The car counter offers us our first deal.

Guy: 800 000rph for taxi and boat. 

Me: Ish, mahal! How about just the taxi?

Our FLIGHT was only 350 000.


Guy: Just taxi is 300 000.

Me: How far is it?

Guy: Two hours drive. Very far.

Me: Hmm. And the boat? How long it the boat trip?

Guy: 25 minutes if using public boat, 10 minutes if using fast boat.

I do a speedy calculation. 

Me: Wait…so you're saying it's 500 000...for a 10 minute boat ride?

Slightly sarcastic tone.

His friend at the counter cant help himself. He snorts a laugh and giggles at his wide talking buddy…who, busted, cracks a cheeky smile. 


After much back & forth, we get the taxi for 200 000 and decide to risk negotiating the boat for ourselves. 

He writes us a receipt.

Guy: Name please, for the driver.

Me: Claire.

He writes down, Ms Clain. 

Me: No, it's Claire.

He looks at me like…ya, that's what I wrote. 


Me: Ok, nevermind...

We stroll out of the airport and are met by a small cluster of enthusiastic taxi drivers, all shouting for our attention. 

But the loudest, waving his hands madly like a steering wheel, is this guy, 



Taxi Man spends the first 20 minutes of the trip trying to sell us an expensive boat ride with his own Captain. 

We already don't trust Lombok. 

Us: No. Really. Thanks. We'll take the public boat. 

At 25 000 versus 150 000, that seems logical. 

We finally arrive at the jetty.

Unload from the car. 

Instantly surrounded by a cloud of wild looking Boat Men.

The taxi driver is in cahoots and lets them carry on.

Mad Luna: Ok we take your bags, 150, go now. 

Me: …No.

They 100% ignore me.


Three guys grab our bags urgently, hoist them onto their shoulders and turn towards the beach.

Not good.

Me: Tak. Tak!

Still ignoring me?!?!?

Oh wait. 

This isn't Malaysia. 


They immediately drop the bags, deflated, and disperse. 


My friend and I walk off triumphantly to go buy the real, cheap tickets. 

But the leader of the gang trails us and our success is short lived... 

We buy the public boat tickets. 

But Mad Luna (we later discover his name is Luna. He is mad.) takes hold of them. 

Mad Luna: Now you must wait. 

The girl at the counter rolls her eyes at him. 

But she does confirm that there's only 9 people on the boat right now and we must wait for at least 25 or 30 people to get on before it will leave. 

We want beach. 


So we agree to pay the Mad Luna 50 000 for both of us to go now. 

He enthusiastically agrees and pockets the money in a flash. 

Mad Luna: Ok, just wait here for a while. 

He takes us back outside and sits down.

After getting the boring questions out of the way - where are you from, how long are you staying, he pauses. 

He touches my friend's curly, half-Carribean hair. 

Mad Luna: Look like spaghetti noodle hair. 

Friend: :O

Me: :O

Mad Luna: *giggles* Ya, look like noodle!


Incredibly offensive…arguably racist, if you come from England, the home of Political Correctness.

And therefore also hilarious. 

Mad Luna: Like me! Also spaghetti noodle!

He pulls at his own big, curly hair, still giggling. 


Mad Luna: I like you noodle. So cute.

He said, patting her head. 

He proceeded to spend the next 10 or 15 minutes talking rubbish whilst we laughed in shock and deflected his occasional advances. 

Finally he hustled us into a boat with about 30 other people and lots of island supplies. 

The public boat.

[worth it]