Motorbikes, tire walls & pole spears…OH MY! 🏍⚓️🏝🐟🌶

 

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Lacy: The temperature feels like it has risen in the past few days, or rather the combination of the intense humidity and constant mid to upper 80’s. That being said, the trip to Alas was a steamy one on Sunday. This time we rented a motorbike from Suji for the low low price of 100,000 Rp, or $7.50 USD. We took our normal boat ride to the harbor at 9am and then hopped on for 125CC’s of fun! Rob and I both love bikes (he use to semi-professionally race them in 1985. I was 2!😆) so we were both very excited for the ride into Alas. I was so relieved to see we had helmets, but sorry dad, no gear.

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This was the first time EVER that I rode in sandals, a skirt and t-shirt. I am usually the one that insists Rob puts on gear. I felt comfortable though knowing Rob was in charge. The wind felt great as we cruised along the coast of Sumbawa towards the market. I had an unobstructed view of the rice fields, huge mountains and the jungle that surrounds us. Following Suji, who had Teri on the back, we took his lead on giving the goats and cows in the road a wide berth. There were many as we traveled. We were in heaven as this was reinforcing our already brewing idea of getting a motorbike when we leave Kenawa as a means to explore. Alas was hot! Our first stop was a small Bakso stand on the side of the road where Rob and I quickly devoured our first tastes of the local chicken meatball soup. We got the “complete special” that included all the varieties and it cost $1.05. Seriously! I treated myself to an iced green tea – this is the first ice I have had since we landed in Indonesia and it was glorious on this hot morning. The Bakso was just as delicious as we hoped it would be and we will definitely be indulging in more on our upcoming travels.

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Look, ice!! And I’m halfway through my Bakso Ayam Goreng (chicken meatball soup with noodle).

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It has a little bit of everything in here using much of the chicken in a variety of meatballs –  yum!

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A few tables lined the food cart

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Bakso cart

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Following Suji & Teri

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We bought a 1/2 kilo of these bad boys 🌶 🌶🌶

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My tummy is full and happy 💚❤️

From there we navigated the market buying chilies, assorted vegetables, a mortar, fruit, spices, beef (sadly they had no goat today), coffee and eggs. I had an unusual experience in the market that left me with the distinct realization that we, the white people, are the attraction. I heard someone say “hey princess” somewhere near me as I was looking for cauliflower, but ignored it. Then there was a strong patting on my upper arm as someone was trying to get my attention. Again, I ignored. That was followed by someone aggressively grabbing my elbow, digging their fingers into me hard so that they could take a photo with me. I was stunned. She had her camera directed at us so I smiled hoping she would go away. One photo was not enough. Her grip tightened as she took a second and then I moved away quickly. Indonesian culture is all about “saving face.” Public outbursts of anger are strongly frowned upon. Keeping ones composure and dignity are key. I was startled, not scared. I asked Suji if this was normal – to be grabbed like that. He said it wasn’t but that they see tourists happy going around and want a photo. This was more aggressive than normal. That experience coupled with the many many local people that come by our house every day simply to take photos with us, not the house, certainly leaves me feeling that we are just as much an attraction as anything else. It’s kind of weird to be honest, but we are foreigners. We look strange & talk strange so this in one thing we need to conscious of. It’s impossible to blend in. That experience aside, the morning was really hot, but great. We got everything we needed, rode back to the harbor and and at 1pm hopped back on the boat to Kenawa. I joked with Rob that we would get home and turn the AC on to cool off, but that was more a pipe dream than anything else.

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My personal chef seasoned the new mortar and prepared a delicious peanut sauce for the beef

Rob: One other item I was able to locate at the market was a good sharpening stone. I really needed it, not for my little pocket knife, but for the interchangeable tips of my pole spear. One which has been hammered flat nosed and the other having 2 of the 5 barb tips completely broken off slamming into volcanic rock versus our dinner. I’ve had visions of providing fish for myself and Lacy as a part of our diet since before we even left the US. The male species “hunter” gene activated by just stepping onto a deserted island or maybe it was some Tom Hanks-esque Cast Away movie-like effect that engaged it. Either way, you haven’t seen a triumphant photo of me and a Tuna quite yet. I had to wait a week for the spear to arrive on Kenawa because I was dumb and left it at our hotel on Moyo Island after its successful navigation all along our trek to Indonesia. Luck and the kindness of island transportation got it to me. I’ve spent the better part of a week learning to get some power into my shot, but my aim has more improvement to come. Even a bad hour of spear fishing is a great hour of snorkeling. 99% of the fish here are beautiful tropical fish of every shape and hue. 1% are a striped snapper or baby tuna that come into the shallows for their own lunch. I’ve found a rocky drop off on the point of the island where each of these fish visit at high tide but this has lead to the near misses and blunted tips. Today Lacy and I swam further out than before. At high tide, we went over the sand / coral bar that creates the bathtub reef effect of the island just in front of our home. The water gets cooler and the sunlight can only reach down so far along the wall that drops straight off about 100 yards offshore. The live coral formations are now extremely colorful and range from fans, to mushrooms, flattops and brains. The variety and size of fish increases along the top edge of the underwater ridge as well. I’m convinced that a large curious green, blue, pink and orange Parrot Fish who followed us along for 1/2 of our swim today warned away all of the sport / dinner fish. I’ll sharpen my spear tip again tomorrow and Y’all check back in again to find out if the Tuna or Daddie Gizmo is victorious.

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Prep

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Before

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Just about 1/2 the wall uncovered exposing the pounded tires behind

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Yesterday, Monday, we began another project. The original material that was used on the lower half of the east and west walls inside both homes has not withstood the humidity here. Some things were an experiment here in this environment, and it’s apparent that we need to devise another way to cover the rammed earth tires that lay beneath the crumbling walls. We won’t be able to remove the current material, let the walls breathe below and redo the plaster all in the remaining time we have left (less than 2 weeks 😔). Our main goal is to remove the paint and organic material on both walls so that the next group can apply the finishing touch. I set up tarps to block our bed from all the dirt that would be flying around and we got to work. Half the wall came down in a few hours time exposing the beautiful tire work behind it which, personally, I like to see.

After enjoying another beautiful sunset we settled in for the evening and felt fortunate that a close storm was blowing cooler air into the house this evening. Time seems to be going to fast here and we are enjoying every moment of this experience.

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Me & Lenda (7 years old), Mama’s granddaughter, in front of Mama Kenawa’s shop.  Her mother left for Malaysia to be a domestic worker so she comes to the island often to be with her grandmother. She is a real cutie and I admittedly have a soft spot for though we can hardly communicate.  I was sad when she went back to school this week.

 

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This morning, after some Turkish coffee and dragonfruit, we set off on our snorkel date. We swam out to the shelf near the house, where it becomes deep, and explored the mauve & blue coral and bigger fish for 90 minutes as the current slowly pulled us down the shore. I had been to the shelf by myself before, but wouldn’t allow myself to go any farther towards the deep end alone so I was happy that we went together today as I felt much safer. Not being able to see the bottom of the floor made me a little fearful, but I have been doing stuff that scares me my whole life. And then I conquer it and move on. I really want to learn to dive this summer and go even deeper and see more!!

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We were blessed with another cool evening with rain tonight. Yesterday and today, the tide has been unusually high and very very low. We have never seen as much coral exposed as is in this photo. 

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The joys of having a fisherman at your doorstep 🦑

In the world of two foodies and a bonafide chef (Rob is a classically trained French chef from L’Ecole Escoffier in Paris), our morning started off beautifully. I was up earlier and approached a fisherman who was in front of the house asking, “Beli ikan?” Buy a fish? He presented me with his catch – four fresh squid. I asked him to hold on a minute while I grabbed my Suami/husband from inside. Rob rolled out of bed, put some shorts on and quickly came back home with four live squid that he purchased for $50,000rp or $3.75 USD.

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Step 1: clean them

 

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Step 1: break them down

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Clearly, a bargain. We were both so excited. We hadn’t had squid yet since we arrived in Indonesia. Rob began breaking them down, setting aside the tentacles and 2 of the steaks cut into strips to batter & fry with salt and pepper.  We immediately fried that fresh meat and it was SO GOOD! I can’t rave enough about how fresh and delicious it tasted for breakfast!!!

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Step 4: fry

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Step 5: ENJOY!

The other 2 steaks were braised for several hours with ginger, chili, shallot, soy and garlic and made a delicious dinner over rice.  Operation squid was a success and we hope to repeat it.

We have already dubbed tomorrow, “day of the goat” since we plan on getting 1 kilo when  we head to Alas market in the morning to prepare 2 separate ways for lunch & dinner.

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The 🦑 braise begins

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🦑+🍺=😊

I forgot to add a few photos last night from our sunset view on the pier. It was quite beautiful 💓🌅

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There are trees on the southeast side of the island. None line our northern shore

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Then & Now… April 13, 2017 & 2018

Happy Friday the 13th everyone!

Lacy: This same date last year, as we had hiked nearly 400 miles through the Southern California desert’s Pacific Crest Trail, we  certainly could not have anticipated that one year later we would be almost half way around the world and enjoying a 26 day stay on one of Indonesia’s most beautiful and cherished islands.  Trading in the crunch of dirt and sand under our hiking shoes for the feel of sand between our toes and salt water on our lips as we snorkel. Moving out of our 50×80 tent and into an island Earthship. Leaving behind our gloves and jackets for bathing suits and sunscreen. Yes, we brought our hiking poles as we intend to conquer some Indonesian elevation this summer!

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We had already come a long way from the way the Mexican border in 30 days

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About to enjoy the thoughtful gift of coffee that our dear friends sent us in a hiking care package.

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We hiked out of Wrightwood that morning and enjoyed a rare campfire that evening since we came upon a secluded and empty campground.

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Rob’s hair was starting to get long then. In a year’s time it is to his grown to his shoulders. He sure was having fun with the fire that night.

Ever since we embarked on our journey from Dallas to California to begin the Pacific Crest Trail on March 13, 2017 we mark the 13th of every single month and note how long it’s been since we started this adventure together. Today is THIRTEEN months! WOW! During those months we hiked 800+ miles of the PCT (I have hiked well over 1,000 between all our travels), climbed Mt. Whitney, road tripped across the country covering California, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, up to the NE and enjoyed every single season along the way to its fullest by being in the right location at the right time. Spring blooms in the Anzo Borego Desert, summer time from Lake Tahoe to New Mexico, experiencing the leaves turn colors and drop in Hunter, NY and finally the magnificent winter wonderland that followed in those same mountains.  Opening ourselves up to different places and experiences & following what we felt drawn to along the way directed us to Taos, New Mexico where we fell in love with the Earthship design, it’s promise of sustainability, respect of the environment,  and just downright sensibility. Pursuing that knowledge and attending the month long academy program in November gave us the opportunity to maintain and improve the very Earthship we woke up in this morning on the tiny island of Kenawa.

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Rob and I snorkeling off Mandiki

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Three very happy people

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And so here we are, feeling unbelievably fortunate and blessed for where we have been and WHERE WE ARE. Our day today was so special that all 3 of us, Rob, Teri and myself, all commented that we feel like we are kings and living in paradise. The morning started with a 9am boat ride towards Mandiki, also known as Stone Island. It’s not far, but it took us across the west side of Kenawa which we had not previously traveled. We were able to get a closer look at the surrounding islands we have viewed for the last week and a half as Suji helped us learn their names: Pasarang, Belang and yes, we are staring right at Lombok and Rinjani.

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Suji & Rob

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Heading out for the day

That huge mountain is indeed the second highest volcano in the country at 12,000+ ft that we will climb this summer. It’s so big and magnificent rising out of the sea even this far away. It would take an hour and a half to get there in the boat we were in, 2 hours by public ferry. We were all on cloud nine surveying the islands around us from a different view and we hadn’t even completed the 20 minute road to Mandiki yet. Mandiki is basically just the top of a mountain sticking out of the ocean. You wouldn’t get on the tiny thing with one wind blown tree crowning the top, but the snorkeling surrounding it was spectacular.

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Mandiki through the boat

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Chia pet

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This water!

Rob thinks this tree on top makes it look like a chia pet! Suji dropped us off close by the island so we could take in the coral and bigger fish and just hung out as we enjoyed. I have been a little fish myself here in Indonesia and love being in the water. I’m infatuated with the snorkeling here. Every day is better than the last. I see bigger and different fish each time I go out. Today, the ocean floor was littered with clusters of my blue starfish friends. Very different. I must have seen several dozen. The biggest change here was the force of the current. It was very strong compared to “our island.” I had difficultly swimming against it or staying in one place (which miraculously is never an issue on Kenawa and I can soak in any one image as long as I desire). But the current wasn’t any bother because Suji and his brother just slowly followed us along as we moved with it so we would never be far from the boat if we needed a break. I looked up once and I was the only one in the water still. Rob and Teri were relaxing in the boat but I was far from done. I hung on to the outrigger with my face under the water in the deeper parts feeling the water course over my body as the boat moved to a better part to take in the underwater world. I must have snorkeled there for over an hour before climbing in the boat and giving the OK to start our trip back home. I rode on the front of the boat on the way home taking photos, soaking in the morning sun, the view and loving life. It kind of reminded me of being on the boat we chartered for several days when we were in Hawaii for our honeymoon. Great memories. No question I’m going to look back on this month with a smile in my heart. Right after we pulled onto shore by the house the 3 of us prepared to snorkel even more. It was only 11 and the sun was still raking in through the sea beautifully. Teri went in front of the house and Rob and I walked down the island to hop in at the tip where it’s deeper, the fish bigger and the coral a little different than out in front of our Earthship. Pole spear in hand, Rob tried to get our dinner. I let him know I was going to let the current carry me the 1/2 mile back home. What a difference the current is here. I actually had to help swim part of the way back because it wasn’t strong enough to take me back in less than an hour. Ha! We are so spoiled here. I love it!!! I saw a couple of fish on my float back home that I made a note to tell Rob about.

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Looking so white again with this sunscreen…but protected!  I wore this SPF shirt today also to protect my back just to take a break from sunscreen with so much time in the water

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Rob taking a photo of me taking a selfie on way home

Today was a great all over work out with the amount of swimming I did. A little work on the cisterns rounded out our day. We watched the sunset off the pier while enjoying a Bintang, looked at the dark sky and the bright stars that filled at while hugging and saying happy Friday the 13th, 13 months of excitement.

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Coming home and about to jump in this water and snorkel some more

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Home sweet home

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Backside of our island looking lush

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I have so much more I could say like how special the sky is at night here with the millions of stars I can see without light pollution, how I enjoyed watching the sunset again this evening while cleaning up the worlds trash off this beach or that the new Florence and the Machine single came onto today to just be the cherry on my sundae, but I’ll end on this note…

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Mandiki with Rinjani I’m the background for a little perspective

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Rob looks funny with the the wind blowing his shirt here 💘

Whether we are hiking through the mountains in Southern California or living in this magical snorkel paradise in SE Asia I am blessed because to have my best friend with me. The people you are with ALWAYS make the experience. And I am one lucky girl to have found this man to share all this with. Today was a great day!

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Rob: In the later part of the afternoon today a group came by the Earthship. We are getting used to this, so it seemed kinda’ normal. They all introduced themselves, we shook hands and I invited them in for a look around. They were very inquisitive, but in a manner different from regular tourists. They were really eager to chat and I was so proud to help them learn more about why these homes were built here of tires and bottles.  It was done by so many volunteers for them and their country to try to literally and figuratively turn the tide from recyclable material floating around in the ocean to building something sustainable and beautiful. I quickly leaned that it was a teacher from Lombok who had brought a handful of his best students specifically to visit the Earthships on Kenawa. We talked about the water collection, solar power and sewage processing systems in more detail than normal. They spoke a lot amongst themselves in excited tones and seemed to be genuinely impressed and inspired. They excused themselves quickly after taking a few pictures and I wished that they had more time to stay and talk. It was so rewarding to help them see something new – a really great part of a near perfect day.

 

To Alas market we will go…

 

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We were all smiles…

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…on the boat ride (Suji pictured picking us up in front of the house)…

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…to the harbor to head to Alas!

Alas Market by Rob

At 8am friend/coordinator Suji and our boat arrived to take us to Alas and the market. Alas is a small town about 30 minutes drive from Poto Tano Harbor which is also just a 10-15 minute boat ride from where we live in Kenawa Island. I had asked Suji to help us get a car for the trip as the communication was a bit hard to work through about motorbikes. I wasn’t sure if we would have our own or if we would both be clinging to the back of a scooter with a 13 year old kid at the controls. It’s a common sight to see a family of three or four, 2 live chickens and groceries zipping along well over every intended limit of the motorbike. The car was great and truly needed as we also bought some larger items we needed to work on the Earthship house. I later found out that we would get our own motorbike next time, thus relieving some of my stress. This got us thinking about renting or buying a small motorcycle to continue our trek after our time on Kenawa.

The locals roads are filled with horse carriages, motorbikes and small buses.

Ok. Back to the market itself. Being the tallest, whitest person anywhere I go, I hear “Hello Mister” often. I always reward the polite and just “Hello” calls with a genuine smile and happy wave that have always been returned, so far, with smiles twice as big as mine. Our first stop in the sprawling market area were the fresh produce stalls. They are clustered together in a warren of buildings and open areas mostly covered by low tarps or thatched roofs. Each purveyor has their own area and selection.

Lots of locally farmed vegetables, next to an almost identical group of veggies except you can also get eggs, next to one with only spices and next to another with just chilis, but 12 different kinds. Rows of stalls with clothes and housewares were separated from the meat and fish area. Some fish were beautifully fresh and some were definitely yesterday’s catch. “City” chickens with white breast meat are a small farmed version of what you would see in the States and “Village” chickens are an even smaller wilder breed that can live roaming free eating anything and everything.

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Giz is a hit everywhere he goes and naturally brought many smiles and giggles to the Alas market 

We passed on the fresh meat this time but know that we will carefully select some goat on our next visit. I don’t know if the Goat Butcher understood me when I told her that I’ll be back next week but I hope her shop is still in the same place. We did stock up on more veggies, eggs, soy sauce and instant coffee. More coconut biscuits, which are our afternoon or bedtime treat. A different type of egg noodle to try and some curry paste rounded out the vegetable market spree.

I also have a new favorite fruit that I could eat everyday. We were making our way around the market and back out on the road when we came across a fruit vendor selling a rainbow of unfamiliar shapes and colors from the back of her little mini truck. Snake Fruit or locally, Salak, is fantastic. It has a hard brown snake like skin over a medium firm white fruit that tastes just like strawberries. Crunchy, slightly juicy, strawberries. Awesome. We need to find her again so I can try several others I looked up on my phone afterwards.

Lacy skipped breakfast knowing we would be eating at the market. We had noticed several roadside vendors on our fast pass through Alas on our way to the Island last week. Last week… amazing that we’ve already been here a week. Brunch was already planned around something hot, grilled and decidedly non vegetarian! Across from the vegetable market our sights became fixated on a particular cart creating a wafting of animal fat smoke from a little wood fired grill that also had a small shady place behind it.

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Full and interior views of the Warung (cart) from the other side of street.  We happily ate tucked away in the shade. 

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A belly full of goat makes for happy walking 

Warung Kambing carts are a type of cart that sells grilled goat satays. There can be 3 of the exact same type lined up side by side waiting for the lunch crowd. We ordered the one and only house special and it came hot and grilled with a spicy peanut sauce and side of rice. We missed getting the brothy soup made from the bones that Suji also ordered to go with everything, but I won’t skip it next time. Very, very satisfying. And… at 20,000 Rupiah or about $1.50 US, it was a delicious bargain.

One very important reason that we chose to go to this market was to search for a “salad bowl”. Specifically a stainless steel bowl that was 60cm wide. We knew it would be hard to find, not having the luxury of wandering around in a cavernous restaurant supply warehouse in some major US city. In Earthship building, these have become a go-to to cover the top of the water cisterns. As the roof slope and shape gather every drop of rainwater possible, it is channeled through broken coral stone to slow it down and let sediment fall out. It then needs a sunlight blocking method to run into the cisterns. Stainless steel bowls with strategically drilled holes and layers of loose stone or coral are the perfect way to catch water without silt or sediment while protecting the precious water stored from sunlight and algae. We were lucky to find giant cloches that would normally be used to cover food from flies here during outdoor meals. They already had the tiny holes drilled and are exactly the same size as the 60cm opening of the cisterns. I guess I know what home improvements we will be working on for the next few days. 🙂

After enjoying one of the best snorkeling afternoons yet we enjoyed yet another great view of the fishing boats from our front porch as we relaxed after the market.

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The hobbit house

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View down on the hobbit houses from the top of the hill

The Earthships attract quite a bit of attention on the island with their unique shape and bottle work that glows in the sun. Boats arrive almost daily with small to large groups that wander the tiny island and pass our homes on the way to climb the single hill and take in the 360 view of the surrounding islands.  They would attract a certain amount of attention anywhere they reside due to their unique shape and obvious use of materials you wouldn’t typically see used in the construction of a home (tires, glass bottles, cans…), but since these are 2 of the only structures on the island and certainly the only 2 Earthships in all of Indonesia they get “oohs” and “aaahs” from every passerby as well as the obligatory photo or 3.

Left: bottle work in WC  Right: in shower room

 

The sunrise illuminates the southern wall creating a beautiful frame for the ocean between.

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And yes, they call it the “hobbit house.”  When we are home we invite the visitors into the home to experience the interior and explain how these are entirely autonomous buildings without the need to be hooked up to any sort of existing infrastructure. Electricity is provided from the sun and stored in batteries, water is harvested from the rain (we are at the tail end of the rainy season) & stored in 2 large cisterns and filtered through a series of pumps.  The tires create a structure that is stronger and more durable than typical homes and can withstand hurricanes and earthquakes. Various humitarian relief projects have been completed or are currently underway let by the pioneer, Michael Reynolds, to bring this concept to areas in need. We attended the Academy with a group of students from Puerto Rico who are now leading such an effort back home in conjunction with Earthship Biotecture. The results are amazing as it takes the debris from a storm that ravished the area and provides a home that can withstand yet another upcoming hurricane season without having to be fearful that there homes will be destroyed.

Welcoming visitors

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Yesterday, as Rob, Teri and myself cooked dinner on the veranda to the sound of the tide coming in and the sunset creating a pink sky, we were greeted by a large international group that had just arrived to the island. Barefoot and in bathing suits, approximately 20 people walked the shore in front of the house. We waved and welcomed them all in so that we could explain what it was they were marveling at. A young girl said this was something she was  very interested in. I explained the Academy that we had attended to her and wrote some information down for her to follow up on. As the boats typically arrive around 5 so that the passengers can climb the hill and enjoy the sunset view, they soon left to do that just that.

Views from the hill…

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View towards Sumbawa with clear ocean below

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Ferries running back and forth from Poto Tano Harbor

We were pleased that the captain, a local Indonesian from Lombok named Omar, stayed behind to chat while we prepared our meal. He explained that his large boat typically takes 20-40 people at a time for 3-4 days around various islands. They provide all accommodations and food for the entirety of the trip for the equivalent of $120 USD. Yep, things are crazy inexpensive here. Rob and I are thinking of hopping on one of these tours as our exit off the island on the 28th and landing on another island.  This particular boat is going to Moyo next. Omar spoke perfect English and invited us to stay at his home in Lombok when we get there as he lives right on the water and is one hour from the Rinjani trek we plan to do while here. Rinjani is the second highest active volcano in the country at 12,000+ ft elevation. One of the tourists we met tonight said he climbed it and it was an incredibly steep and difficult hike, even with porters. He was glad he did it and would never do it again. Sign me up. I’m itching for a climb that kicks my ass.  We took Omar’s number and may have him pick us up from our island at the the end of the month and stay at his place before climbing. It’s great to soak in all this information from the comfort of our veranda as people visit and pass by.  As this group descended the hill and walked back down the shore to board their boat and eat dinner we were told, “We thank you for what you are doing. The whole world thanks you.”  Those words brought a smile to all 3 of our faces because we all passionately believe in the sustainability of these homes and the importance of living in this manner.

Working in the sun

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Hardly feels like work when you are surrounded by this view

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Completing the repairs for the screen on a sand sifter. I look like a local in this SPF 50 infinity scarf I’m wearing to protect my face, hair and neck from the sun. Rob has a similar SPF bandana tucked into his hat.

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Teri opts for a local sun hat similar to what they use in China

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Repairing roof leaks

Indonesia’s numerous islands straddle both sides of the equator so not surprisingly the sun is very intense here. We knew it would be and came prepared with SPF protective clothing and lots of reef safe sunscreen. The temperature is between 80-87 degrees F with humidity at 75-85% daily. It’s hot and sticky. Thankfully, we have the ocean to cool off in and the much desired afternoon cloud cover that rolls in. The monsoon season has passed, but we are still getting occasional afternoon/evening showers that we love. It cools the day off and brings a breeze. Eventually the humidity comes back through, but we are sleeping just fine with a light sheet over us. The heat limits how much work we do outside in the middle of the day, but the snorkeling is perfect with the cloudless sky and sun shining through to illuminate the fish at this time. We have been diligent about sun protection and happy to report no sunburns have occurred. Hoping it stays that way!

 

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Relaxing in the shade with Teri after yet another lovely snorkeling date 🐠💘☀️

Completing my second cup of coffee as I finish this post and about to take a skinny dip in the ocean to smart my day. Wishing everyone a week filled with curiousity, gratitude and fulfillment.

Much love, Lacy XX

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I’m not as pale as this photo portrays! 😮 This reef safe sunscreen I brought leaves a white coat on my skin but seems to be working well 😉….we did see actual whitening soaps in the market yesterday. More on that in the next post about traveling to Alas to shop 🌴🌸🌈

How big, how blue, how beautiful

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Home sweet home

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Yep, Rob got glasses before we came so he could see all this scenery better!

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A view from our island to another

Our first five days on Kenawa have gone by quickly. When we pulled up to the island on Monday I think both mine and Rob’s jaws dropped at the site of the Earthships and the clear water ten steps from the door of the closest one. We were greeted by Mama & Papa Kenawa who are the only 2 actual residents of this 32 acre island. With their help, and Suji’s, we unboarded both houses and began exploring our new home sweet home.

 

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Mama and Pap Kenawa helping taking the boards down  I promise, Rob is not worried – just caught him at a weird time

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Volcanic rock 

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View from the front door 😊

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View from our house to the right

Rob and I took the house closest to the ocean since it has a king size bed and Teri took Earthship 2 just a few steps farther back. The bottle work in the houses is really the main feature (I promise to take photos for next post). Each morning that I wake up all I need to do is open my eyes and I can see all the beautiful glass bottles lit up with the ocean in between. That’s how close we are. I hear the tide rolling in when I wake up in the middle of the night, watch the sky turn orange across the water if I wake early enough and all without moving at all. All the doors are screen to allow the wind to flow through the house and leaves the view unobstructed.

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View towards the hill on the left of the house

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Main entrance to the island 🌴🌸

We spent our arrival day cleaning the house, settling in and discovering what was already here for us to use. The batteries that charge from solar power were drained in Teri’s house, but we charged them over the next day and got them back up and running. There is plenty of work for us to do this month, but not without ample time to enjoy this island each day as well. The water is so clear and remarkably stunning. Our living room is on the front veranda where we spend most of our time. That’s also where we make all of our meals. Mama Kenawa has a shop a two minute walk along the shore where we can always grab a meal
or a mildly cool beer, but so far we have been making our own meals. We all know Rob loves to cook and we stocked up on noodles, rice, vegetables, lots of hot chilis and other assorted items before arriving. The food is very very inexpensive here.

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The front area is our living room/kitchen

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Giz is Rob’s sous chef

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My hair was sweating on this one

146CEB7E-C7C9-480B-9B13-F905262A3DABEvery evening he begins his relaxation time of cooking and I’m the happy recipient! We even had a little baby tuna one evening that was so fresh and delicious. My favorite part of the island so far is the snorkeling! I’m in love. Every day we have a “snorkeling date.” This morning I couldn’t wait and rolled out of bed, into my swimsuit (which isn’t always required- the first day we snorkeled naked) and off to see my beloved fish. By far, I see more zebra fish than anything else. Schools of them! But there are so many different and brightly colored fish and I see different ones every day. What makes me smile most are the HUGE bright blue star fish. They are a foot long across and just splay out on the coral for me to see. I will become brave enough to use my waterproof phone case and take photos to share. I would love to share what I am seeing. Mostly our days consist of a bit of work (today we began to repair a roof leak on Teri’s house), snorkeling, admiring the shells and coral, cooking, chatting with visitors to the island, reading and watching stunning sunsets. Island life is nice. It’s relaxed.

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Since the island is so small we easily walked around it in 45 minutes on our first morning here. Magnificent views surround each part. I especially love the mountains on the surrounding island. I truly am a mountain girl at heart. Upon climbing the one hill on the island to watch the sunset last night we counted 13 distinct islands that we can see surrounding us. And when we look down I can see the green and blue ocean beckoning me to explore it underneath. Today we did just that and chose a new piece of shore to snorkel from. We plan to snorkel around the entire island discovering each new piece of coral reef it has to offer. Today’s adventure was just what I needed. The water was deeper, the coral larger with huge mushroom fans and the fish bigger. Rob plans to come back and use his pole spear to catch these bigger ones for dinner one evening. The cherry on top though was that we swam all the way to the tip of the island and then had to decide how to get back to our place – swim or climb the steep cliffside of the back of the hill. Naturally, we chose to climb the cliff-face which was a little precarious (my dad would say “be careful and don’t make worry!” just like he did when I climbed a mountain by myself this winter and came back covered in cuts and bruises because I recklessly went up farther on the ice than I should have). From shore line to hilltop today. It was spectacular and yes, we saw 2 more big blue starfish.

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I got this photo online, but I had to show you how special these are! Love!

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Rob wants a pet 🤣

As I finish writing this, the daily rain just stopped (usually happens for 30 minutes towards the end of each day as the rainy season ends), the air is cooling and a full rainbow just faded. Rob is cutting shallots and preparing dinner while the tide recedes. I didn’t see the starlings tonight like I normally do at dusk, but I’m sure our morning dragonflies will welcome us tomorrow.💓🌸☀️D7AE1CB3-611A-4A2F-9ACB-832D1FE3B7E3.jpeg

Kickin’ It Moyo style 🌴

Palau Moyo (Moyo Island)

We planned a little break for ourselves when we landed in Indonesia before heading to Kenawa. Bali, Lombok and Sumbawa are all larger islands with a developed tourism infrastructure. Keeping with our theme of being out on the edges, I found a small, simple, brand new resort on an island nearby. It is run by an Italian couple assisted by a truly local staff. Mauro & Valentina were gracious hosts, Sri cooked us spicy meals, Freddy helped explain the flora & fauna and the rest of the staff let us just relax and enjoy our jet lag in a beautiful setting.

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Kicking back in the pool as soon as we arrived

46B164AE-6EAA-417B-9881-E3CFBB47394B.jpegSpicy noodles and Bintang beer for breakfast. A walk along the beach, dip in their cool refreshing pool and hours sitting on the end of their boat jetty just staring down into the clear water at all the colorful tropical fish was a perfect way to recover from the preceding planes, cars and boats. I could remember the names for some of the fish and the others I just pointed out to Lacy by color and shape like, “see the yellow square one??”

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The beginning of the walk to the village

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Very interesting trees on Moyo

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Usually, Lacy is the first one up and adventurous. On our second full day there, she was the one who slept in late so I ventured out. A 40 minute walk took me along the coast and through a nearby village. A left turn at a stream took me up into the jungle and along a winding path to arrive at a small waterfall. The walk along the coast was an exercise in emotions. A path between an amazing jungle, naturally cultivated banana groves and small gardens also showed me the world’s plastic bottles, bags and trash that wash up and collect among the picturesque mangroves and driftwood. The colorful fish swim in colorful plastic twice a day as high tide shuffles it all around. The village was another test of my emotions. I’ve never really walked through an area where houses and trash seemed intertwined and people slept out in the open under rusting tin shed roofs. Skinny little chickens ran from me, more goats dared me to pass than ran away and the town dogs came to sniff and see who I was. The thing is, everybody smiled. Every child was dressed neatly, some in school uniforms. They all waved and said “Hello”. I think I waved at every person in town. Twice. I then headed onto more of a jungle path. It wound me through huge trees with even larger leaves, trees with ribbon like roots that stuck up out of the ground, trees with spikes and what looked like little apples growing, vines, ferns, moss and almost nothing that felt familiar. Mr. Hobbit? Are you there? The waterfall was more like a cascading series of pools than a true waterfall. Pretty and soothing like waterfalls are, but I found myself still staring at the trees. A few had monkeys in them that stared back at me. On my way back I came across the largest lizard I’ve ever seen at about 6+ feet long and solid black. After we scared the shit out of each other, it ran off with an incredibly loud thumping from every footstep / pawstep it took. On my second trip through the little village, 3 young girls waved like before but after I passed them, the giggles came out. They whizzed by me on a scooter a minute later and set up to wave and giggle again. I’d forgotten about Gizmo being in his typical ride along spot on my daypack. He’s always waving so I guess we all made each other smile more than a day’s worth by 10am.

Early the following day, it was time to catch the public boat back to Sumbawa. We left the Blue EmOcean resort that has been created over the last several years by a great young couple but just recently open to the public. 6 rooms, a small restaurant and a tranquil pool have been built in what was wild coastal jungle on a quiet coral beach. I really hope we find our way back there sometime.

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Freddy is awesome. He told us the names of trees we were curious about, gave us both beautiful rings he hollowed from shells and shared a wealth of knowledge 

The loud clacking and crackle of the old marine diesel engine made me and the chickens, already onboard the boat, jump as it fired up. Everyone else seemed little fazed, so I sat with Lacy on the middle platform under the tarp shade of a typical small Indonesian boat for the 2 hour trip. The tarp was actually an up-cycled tarp sign that formerly covered a billboard likely somewhere in Bali. The slow ride just let us take in more of the island scenery as we cruised along, spotting jumping tuna being chased by a pod of dolphin. We called our previous driver, Herman, when we arrived. After a little negotiation, he agreed to take us to the port on the other side of the island 2 hours drive away. Not that it was physically all that far away but with the roads full of small scooters, big scooters, small motorcycles, micro vans, work trucks, horse carriages and a few cows, we were glad to have an expert navigator. We stopped in the town of Alas along the way to stock up for the time on Kenawa. 10 kilos of rice was at the top of the list. Sugar, noodles, lots and lots of vegetables including cabbage, carrots, shallots, tomatoes, garlic, some serious chilis, oil, sweet canned milk and some coconut cookies as a treat.

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Boarding our 3rd boat of the trip so far. This one is only 10 minutes to Kenawa from Poto Tano

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Lacy, Teri and Suji on way to Kenawa

We met Teri and Suji in the port. Teri is from China and will be the caretaker of the second Earthship on the island with us. Suji is a local who has worked with previous people from Earthship Biotecture. Another spicy lunch in port and we boarded another little runabout boat with outboard pontoons for the short trip over to Earthship Island / Kenawa. We could see the island’s recognizable shape from the road nearing the port so we knew it wouldn’t be long. My heart was already racing.

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First glimpse of the island as we approach by boat 🚣‍♀️

Rob