“Daddaddaddad! Guess what’s outside!”
My dad looked at me groggily from his pillow. “Whaaaaat?”
It was Christmas day and, like any respectable kid, I woke my dad up with abundant enthusiasm, irritatingly timed to sunrise.
Over the last three days, my dad and I had fallen in love with Kuta, Lombok and its friendly locals. But, monsoon rains prevented us from exploring the island and cabin fever was wearing me down. Luckily for all parties, the clouds finally parted on Christmas morning
With perhaps overzealous intensity, (me standing outside the bathroom shouting at my dad to pull it together because at any moment, the sun was going to disappear forever and his alleged need for a shower was going to ruin Christmas) we put on our bathing suits, rented a scooter, and armed ourselves with a hand drawn map to go check out the beaches surrounding Kuta.
— and I made my dad stop so I could snap a quick picture of a passing pack of wild monkeys. Apparently, my dad is not a monkey fan:
“I hate monkeys.”
“Get back on the scooter.”
After forty minutes, we arrived at Selong Belanak beach. The shore was full of actual Indonesian people swimming, grilling, and listening to music. Pretty much every beach I’d been to in Southeast Asia had been packed with Westerners, and the only locals were the ones serving drinks. I was elated at the change.
They seemed to find us equally novel. Several of the kids asked to take pictures with me, and even squealed at hearing I was from America.
After an hour of me taking pictures of everyone and everyone taking pictures of us, we decided to wrap up our 15-minutes of fame and head back to town for lunch.
Parts of the road were flooded from the eons of rain, and, naturally, just as we passed through a pile of mud mixed with cow poop, my dad lost control of the scooter and we wiped out. [dastardly mud/poop pile pictured below]
Our entire left sides were immediately covered in wet poo-dirt. My dad’s knee bled horrifically and my elbow had a deep scrape.
We headed back to the hotel and washed out our wounds. Still desperate not to waste a moment of the fickle sun, we hastily smattered Neosporin on the scrapes and headed out to the next beach, just south of Kuta.
Seger beach is a half-moon bay of white sand and unbelievable turquoise water. We pulled up chairs at one of the tables on the beach (swimming in the stinging salt water was now definitely out of the question) and ordered local Bintang beers.
At that point, one of the waiters commented on my dad’s rather brutal looking injury.
“Scooter accident.” He said, shaking his head knowingly. He offered to treat my dad’s cut with natural medicine, pointing to the forest.
I was shocked when my dad, the man who clings to a bottle of Clorox like a life preserver, relented and held up his knee for inspection.
This elicited more than a few rather unmanly yelps from my dad, but after thirty minutes, my dad was smiling and saying that his knee actually felt better. He spent the rest of the day bragging to anyone in earshot about the miracles of local medicine.
[Note: Four days later we had to go to the emergency room in Singapore because his knee was disastrously infected. While I’m super proud of my dad for going local, I actually wouldn’t recommend letting strangers pour sap into your open wound.]
Despite my dad’s injury (and my now total skepticism of his driving abilities) we spent the rest of Christmas exploring Lombok’s coastline.
Recipe for an Indonesian Christmas (in case you’d like to make one yourself):
6 wild monkeys
12 photos with strangers
a dash of road rash
Bake at 85 degrees for 12 hours.