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Indonesia: Lombok- Climbing Rinjani

January 2, 2012

After our time on the Gili Islands, we travelled to the mainland of the province of Lombok for a waterfall hike, volcano trek, and a week on the beaches surfing and exploring in the south. A few photos are pictured in the blog but for more captioned photos, check out the facebook albums here:

Indonesia- Lombok: http://on.fb.me/tjm5ay

Indonesia- Bali: http://on.fb.me/trKHm9

The remaining posts on this blog are a few notes and ideas on the culture and experience of travelling in Indonesia.

The Rinjani trek was a spectacular three-day and two-night experience. From lush, rolling hills, to thick rainforest, bold rock faces, volcano views, hot springs, and mischievous monkeys, it was a memorable experience.

Outside of the physical beauty, one of the special parts of the trip was discussions and connections with the local people. It’s not the first time I’ve encountered a culture that seemed a lot more at peace and experiencing genuine happiness than the cultural environment I experience in Canada/Vancouver.

There were many people who found us tourists very odd. They didn’t understand why we work so hard every day and often live for our vacations. Most local people we met in Indonesia work long hours. They said they build holiday into their day. The pace is slow enough to allow for that. Doesn’t that make sense? To me, this really says something about living in the moment and not for future hopes and expectations of joy.

Something else I found interesting (although much sadder than their living in the moment) is that almost everyone smokes cigarettes. Many Muslims don’t touch alcohol because of religious beliefs, but they are addicted to smoking. Chatting with our Indonesian guide before hiking Rinjani, we talked about this issue. He said that he’s tried to quit, without success, and that people here smoke because they’re stupid. We were horrified that this is what he thought. James talked to him about the control that tobacco companies have in countries like Indonesia, causing unrelenting and subconscious promotion. Not only are cigarettes dirt cheap here (forget about taxes), the advertisement is incessant, and billboards are EVERYWHERE. They are on storefront signs, on sidewalk flags, and on banners tied to trees that are strung above roads. How can health promotion and tobacco cessation be fostered in these circumstances?

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