After a few days in the rainy interior of Bali, we were all excited to get back to some sunshine and blue skies. We took a fast boat from Sanur on Bali to the tiny island of Nusa Lembongan where we'd booked in 2 nights at the Pendana Guest House based on a staunch recommendation from our buddy Morgan, who had visited the place during his run as points leader on the Pro Leisure Tour back in 2010.
I'll admit I was a little nervous during the ride up to Pendana from the place the ferry had dropped us. We were in the back of a truck, holding on for dear life as the driver sped through the windy roads, clipping tree branches with the roof of the truck. This sort of 'exciting' transport is business as usual for G and I by now, but not so for my folks. Good thing they are troopers...they weren't even phased.
Finally we arrived and after the final 50 meter shlep with all our bags all my nerves disapated. Pendana is a small hotel perched on a hill with only 9 great little villas which is awesome because it means there aren't too many people to share the 2 infinity pools that overlook the beach, ocean and Bali in the distance. In a word, the place is spectacular.
We wasted no time in changing into swimming atire and giving the pool a test dive before settling into the lounge chairs for a nice, relaxed "sit by a pool and do nothing" session. It was perfectly blue skies and with this view, it's the things dreams are made of.
When a grumble in our stomachs aroused us from our state of Nirvana we cruised up and had a great lunch and a few cold beverages in the shade overlooking the second pool. Props to the kitchen staff at Pendana, all the food was great and the Bintangs extra cold.
As the afternoon wore on and evening approached we decided we'd take a little jaunt down the hill to check the beach and see what else was happening on Nusa Lembongan. The walk to the main part of the island is interesting; parts of it are on the beach, parts of it are paved, parts are trail through woods... we just kept walking until eventually we found the strip. Soon after, we settled on a nice looking spot for Happy Hour and then because we couldn't be bothered to look for anything else, we decided to eat there for dinner. We ordered pizza and a few other little things, most notably a 'Banana Leaf Salad' all of which was good. After, we went back and forth about whether to walk back or take a cab. After a little investigation we realized that, as it's a really small island, there are no 'taxis'. The only motorized vehicles available were the omnipresent motorscooter...troopers as they are, Mom and Dad weren't quite up for a spin through the hills on the back of them yet, so we walked it instead. Luckily we'd brought our headlamps as the path, tricky enough to follow in the day time, was pitch black with no lights anywhere. As we walked off, the waiter at the restaurant wished us good luck and offered us some advice; look out for the ghosts! Thanks for that! Needless to say, we made it back with no incidents and no paranormal encounters.
The next day we didn't get into too much except for pool time until about 2 pm...in fact the most stressful thing about the morning was the 10 steps we had to walk up to get to the dining room for breakfast and lunch. At 2 we walked back down to the beach and met the boat driver we'd arranged a snorkel/island tour with. The boat was a tiny little thing, more of a rustic fishing boat feel then luxury yacht, that is for sure. It didn't matter our digs though because the scenery we saw both above and below the sea was amazing. We stopped at 3 snorkel sites; 1 off the Mangrove Forest, another called Buskit Bay, and the last; the aptly named Crystal Bay. Each was more spectacular then the last; crystal clear water, teeming with fish and full of beautiful, healthy looking coral. Better yet, we had them entirely to ourselves save for a few fishermen and a group of local kids swimming at one beach we didn't see another soul. It was great. After our last snorkel session, we completed the circumnavigation of Nusa Lembongan and it's sister island Nusa Ceningan by cruising along the South coast and back to the West side just as the sun began to set. We made our way up to the pools in time for a dip and cold Bintang while watching the sunset and then capped off the day with another great dinner prepared by Pendana's kitchen. This, my friends, is living!!
(One side note: G lined up a massage for after the snorkel tour. It had all the makings of an epic session; masseuse coming to Pendana to massage in the cabana by the pool, over looking the ocean and the setting sun. Problem is the chick was terrible. G had to ask her to stop hurting her a number of times, including asking her to stop pulling her hair out of her head during the head massage portion. Don't even get G started on the face massage portion of the experience; let's just say if I hit her like that I would be arrested (well, maybe not in Croatia). When it was all over G was left with tears in her eyes and clumps of hair in her hands. Not stoked!!)
We were a little sad to have to pack up that next morning; but we had a 10:30 ferry over to Lombok and so had to get up and moving. Before breakfast Mom, Dad and I took a little walk down to Mushroom Beach. It was tricky, but we found our way in the end...we bought an "iced coffee" from the café on the beach. Literally a spoon full of instant coffee crystals, condensed milk, sugar, water, ice; blended and served in a plastic bag with a straw sticking out of it. I'd love to see the look on a yuppie's face who was given that when ordering their "iced, non-fat, soy, sugar-free, vanilla, frapa-latte". Gotta love developing nations!! It may not be gourmet, but they keep it real. For the record, the coffee was awful.
We got back to Pendana in time for one last breakfast looking out at their spectacular view before saying goodbye and loading our bags into the truck and heading back down to the ferry to cruise over to Lombok.
Pendana Guesthouse, Ladies and Gentlemen, it's THE place to be on Lembongan!