Sugar and spice... and too much rice - Over the last four days, we've moped-ed (mo-peed?) from Sengiggi on the West coast of Lombok to Kuta Lombok (far nicer than Kuta Bali with Lombok's hottest surf spots and deserted beaches) and across to the South West peninsular, known as Lombok's Caribbean. We've sea-kayaked, sunbathed, done the best snorkelling of our lives in amongst shoals of giant bumphead parrot fish, read lots, walked around islands, eaten some delicious Catches of the Day, shot some pool and had lots of Bintang time.
This "break" in between adventures has given us plenty of time to think about what we'd start to write in a 'Guide to Couples Travelling Together', largely based on the differences between 'sugar and spice' girls and 'rats' tails' boys:
1. The boy drinks and eats more. Which costs more. Logic follows that the girl must be allowed to spend her extra money on massages or sarongs without reproach.
2. The girl must try everything that the boy does once. Whether that's sport fishing, drift diving or eating banana pancake.
3. If the girl doesn't like it after trying it once, the boy must never make her try it again. Banana pancakes with hidden banana are still banana pancakes, and papaya that looks like melon is still papaya, you know.
4. You must not leave the other person alone with a weirdo. In particular, the boy must not decide to "go to the bar to get the bill" when he really means "have another drink at the bar while laughing at the girl trying to feign interest in the weirdo's chat".
5. The boy must only mention his beard or anything to do with the progress of its growth, for example "Has it grown any more?" or "Do you think I should trim it?" once daily. See photos for your own update on its growth.
6. Likewise, the girl must only mention her suntan and its golden development once daily. See photos for your own update on its development.
7. The boy and girl must not get competitive about the aforementioned suntans, nor how many mossie, bed bug or sandfly bites they have.
8. The boy must realise that a moped is not designed for long-distance trips for two people and a heavy rucksack. The girl must remember to bring some sort of goalkeeping padded pants for the occasion. Or even better, the boy and girl will agree to splash out on two mopeds, even if it costs an extra $3 a day.
9. The boy and girl must play at least one game at every pool table they see and must have a beer at the same time. The girl must concentrate, even if there's a good film on in the background, and the boy must not instigate the seven-ball rule as this is inappropriate in a public Indonesian place.
10. The boy must remember that Bruce and Frederick Forsyth are two different people, and should not fear reading books by the latter.
11. The girl should remember that reading eight books in three weeks is probably overkill, and should remember she is travelling with a boy, not Jilly Cooper.
12. The girl must remember that her super-power of automatically falling asleep as soon as she gets on any form of transport isn't always a good thing. See no. 8.
13. The boy must not add in extra chillis to the girl's fish curry when she is distracted by the sweet little local girls. Nor tell her that the traditional Sasak 'pillow' cakes bought on the side of the road don't contain banana, when he knows they are called 'banana pillows' for a reason.
14. 5pm is always Bintang time.
It's currently 456pm so we're off. Dem's the rules.