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The original world nomad "Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance." - Confucius.

Dichotomy on Lombok

INDONESIA | Monday, 14 July 2008 | Views [1216]

4am. Dark. Even the cocks are asleep.

"Yohawaaaw. Awwwwwwwaaaaaahhhhhhhhh. Yohawaaaw. Awwwwwwwaaaaaahhhhhhhhh." The wailing call to prayer goes on and on and on.

We have two enduring memories from Lombok of many years ago: as we ground up a steep hill on a motorbike, being chased by a very wild and very scary monkey with long teeth through which he hissed as he tried to bite us, and arriving sodden on the same motorbike in a village in the centre of the island late one evening. We were wet, cold and hungry. It was dark and there was nowhere to stay. A kindly school teacher took us into his home, gave us some food and allowed us to stay for the night. We were absolutely knackered and despite still being hungry, fell very soundly asleep.

4am. Dark. "Yohawaaaw. Awwwwwwwaaaaaahhhhhhhhh. Yohawaaaw. Awwwwwwwaaaaaahhhhhhhhh." The call of the local mosque next door. It went on and on and on until dawn, when the cocks take over. There is certainly no tranquil dawn on a muslim island.

Fast forward almost 20 years. Travelling briefly on Lombok with our two children to see what has changed and indulging in a little luxury 5 star accommodation because the Australian dollar is so strong right now it feels like now or never.

4am. Dark. Even the cocks are asleep.

"Yohawaaaw. Awwwwwwwaaaaaahhhhhhhhh. Yohawaaaw. Awwwwwwwaaaaaahhhhhhhhh." The call of the local mosque next door. It went on and on and on until dawn, when the cocks take over.

You have to be joking.

Touring the central parts of the island again, this time by car, almost every village seemed to have a new mosque under construction. We must have seen perhaps 30 in the space of a few hours so there must be hundreds being built on the island. And not just any mosque. Not the sort of mosques that have been built here for decades and fit with the local villages, but huge, grand, enormous concrete mosques obviously funded by someone. Does anyone know? A quick search of Google doesn't seem to uncover who is behind them all. Lots of women now cover themselves with full headscarves; none that we remember from 20 years ago.

Down on the beach front at Mangsit some of the places are undeniably gorgeous, but the incongruity of white western women in skimpy bikini's wandering along the beach past the local mosque set just back from the beach and being oggled by the local men.

You can't help but wonder about the future of tourism on such an island, and feel a clash of cultures is and accident just waiting to happen.

Tags: adhan, lombok, mosque, sleep deprevation, wailing

 

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