First of all, I CANNOT believe it's been one year since I married this stud!
Ross and I started our relationship, SUPER long distance, and for us travelling is what brought us together, that, and photography. As our first anniversary, was approaching, we decided that a quick weekend travel away was in store. Normally, our go-to is Bali. We know the drill, and it's easy, but we decided to try somewhere new.
Last minute, on Thursday, night, I booked a bungalow for us at Drop-In Cafe and Inn, just outside Kuta, Lombok, and a couple of cheap tickets through Batik Air, a subsidiary of Lion Air, which has notoriously terrible service.
After an hour in traffic in Jakarta during Buka Puasa, or break-fast, and becoming seriously close to missing our flight, Ross and I got on OJEKs, and raced to Halim Perdanakusuma Airport. We had never been there, and didn't know what to expect. With less than 30min before our flight, the check-in staff allowed me to check us in, no questions asked (Ross hadn't arrived yet).
Surprisingly, our flight left right on-time, the cabin was SO much cleaner, than any Lion Air airplane we've been on, and we landed early! The stars were definitely aligned for Ross, and I.
It took a little circumnavigating for us to find Drop-In with our rather arrogant, and grouchy young driver, but if you've got google maps, it's exactly where the pin says it is, so just keep driving ;P
We couldn't have found a better place to stay! Drop-In was started by three women, about 4 years ago, and was initially just the cafe, but last year they built three bungalows, and hope to have another 3 open for use by August this year. We only met Solli & Mirjam, but they were awesome! Both surfers themselves, they had great recommendations for us about where to surf, about pricing, and when to go (Magic Seaweed is also helpful!)
They also arranged a scooter for us at 80,000rp, which is a bit more than you would pay in Bali and in Sengiggi (±50,000rp). We were glad we just sucked up our inner budget travellers because the time and effort it would have taken to find a bike was more than worth the 30,000rp, and you definitely need a bike or a driver to best make use of your time there!
At Solli & Mirjam's recommendation, we headed out to Inside Grupuk to surf right after our simple, but delicious, nutritious, and filling breakfast at the cafe. About a 10 min ride from Drop-In you will reach the Grupuk township and boat launch. There are a few board shops which offer board rentals at 50,000rp a board for a 2hr session, and boat transport which runs about 150,000rp for a 2hr session. There are also surf guides available but we didn't take one as the surf was pretty manageable, 4-6ft on the day went out.
Grupuk Inside is a right, but some of the locals told us when it's small further in, there is a left break. It seems also that depending on the tide, the surf can get pretty big (for me).
At 9-11ft last week, I was pretty sure our surf trip was going to end up with me suntanning on the beach. If any of you remember, I'm just coming out of my fear of the ocean, and didn't want to literally get in over my head. It turns out that the bottom is soft and kelpy, so there is no fear of getting cheese grated by reef during low tide, and the wave isn't super fast and strong, so you don't get held under for long (my biggest fear).
This was hands down the most fun I've had surfing in a long time. I rented a longboard and just had a blast. I didn't mind falling or getting hit by the waves. There was no current, so I didn't spend my entire day paddling to stay put. It was amazing!
The locals are a bit loud and rowdy, but the general vibe is so much more laid back and friendly that in Canggu. I accidentally got in the way of a gentleman on a pretty nice wave, and as I apologized profusely, he just said, "Don't worry! There're lots more waves coming!" I imagine, Bali might have been similar about 15-20 years ago, but it made our time there so stressfree.
Ross and I lunched at Drop-In, took a nap and went out again for an evening session.
We were simply famished after the second session and couldn't wait to get into Kuta for dinner. Kuta is definitely a lot more quiet than Senggigi, and Lombok has not nearly the selection of fine dining as you do in Bali but what you forgo in food, you receive in quality of experience; more deserted beaches, brighter stars, and less crowd.
We got in pretty late on Friday night and ate instant noodles on the steps of an Indomaret for dinner, but woke up to chickens, and cows, and aqua water, and white sand beaches.
As we were packing up Sunday after our final surf session, Ross and I made a pact to spend our anniversaries adventuring and to forgo gifts to make that happen. I imagine when we head back to the US, our weekend anniversary trip might be more along the lines of kayaking and hiking somewhere near our home, but for us, the time to step away from the craziness and sometimes monotony of our lives, and go on an adventure really build even further upon the pillars of our relationship. From learning to problem solve, letting go of expectation (eating PopMie during our "romantic" anniversary trip), spending quality time with each other, having fun, and being outside and active, is a wonderful reminder of why we fell in love in the first place.
So, Ross, cheers to you and me, and a lifetime more of #AdventuresofGandR, and of #everydayGandR.