By the time we made it to Kuta Lombok, we were exhausted. We'd travelled for 28 hours across thousands of kilometres, the equator and a time zone. We nearly missed our first flight because our shared taxi from Toba left late. We ran into the airport literally fifteen minutes before the flight left, expecting to be refused... thankfully Indonesian airlines are much kinder about these things than their Canadian counterparts.
Then our connecting flight from Jakarta to Bali was denied landing, so we had to wait for two hours back on south Java. It was the end of the ASEAN conference and we think it was someone important leaving, possibly Barrack Obama. When we DID land, it was 2 am, so after searching in vain for a hotel, we took a taxi to the ferry port an hour away and caught the 4 am ferry to Lombok.
There were wide, cushioned benches for the four hour crossing - I've never slept so deeply in a public (and dirty) place!
We took a shuttle to Kuta Lombok, found a room easily and collapsed onto the bed.
Kuta, in fact southern Lombok in general, is gorgeous. The coast is a series of curved bays with white sand linings, guarded by steep, green hills. The waves sweep in unhindered from the Indian Ocean, crashing against dark, craggy rocks at the mouth of each bay.
We spent a fantastic day touring around in the hills to the west of Kuta on a rented scooter, ogling the beaches and drinking in the peace of the coastal back roads. Between beach turn-offs, it's just tiny villages and wallowing water buffaloes.
We took advantage of the surf situation and signed up for a lesson - the waves are huge and we'd never surfed a reef break, so we were nervous of going without an expert.
What I learned: reef breaks and big waves are hard! I caught a few waves and stood up comfortably, but mostly I got tossed around by the waves. The second half, after a rejuvenating cookie break on our little fishing boat, was much more successful.
Tragically, although the surfing went well, I got the worst sunburn ever. Ever. It hurts thinking about it!