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Senaru to Semalun and to Kuta Lombok beach. Stage six  

It was an easy down hill ride from Senaru through rice paddy fields, and what is the familiar Islamic architecture of the region that I happened to chance upon the ‘Saifana organic farm’. This tiny farm with rambling gardens is set just far enough from the Senaru village trekking precinct to escape the hyper climbing atmosphere yet close enough to begin the trek.

I decided to stay a day at the farm and take a look at the villages, which included what was dubbed ‘the Hindu village’ (contrasted with Muslim villages). A peculiar feature of this village was the many small shrines doted throughout the sparsely populated area. Its sustainability depends primarily on plantations of teak and tobacco, as well as fruit and vegetable crops. The farm was set on the eastern side of Ranjini, although the poor road access made it a challenge to traverse. Dwellings were constructed from traditional materials, although in stark contrast was a recently constructed small solar farm which supplied essential power to the people.

At the end of the dirt track there appeared a clear view of the volcanic crater rim that ominously hovered above the cultivated region below, leaving remnant rainforest clinging on at the base of the mountain. There is talk of the location being the second official route up to the crater rim and summit of Rinjani which would make it attractive for development.

The region also has its weavers who create intricately designed patterns on cotton cloth by a complicated process that at involved a large timber hand loom. Each cloth thread was stretched and positioned before being locked into place.

The next morning I was dropped off at the Sembalun. This pass of 1900 meters is set within the cluster of mountains surrounding Ranjini volcano. Given it was all down hill, the ride was exhilarating, with monkeys, tropical forest, and fresh mountain air, along with hikers, and brush cutters. Eventually the decent made way into small villages like Sapit that had large banana plantations and bamboo groves, though the further the ride progressed so to the scene gradually transformed into a rambling sprawl of urban development, amplified voices from central religious locations, and the increasing pulse of motorcycles and trucks.

Villages are generally separated through hills and agricultural land. When I did stop for some refreshments it became a source of some interest. However there were two cafes of interest within this non-tourist zone that suggested a grass roots democratic voice. They were the ‘Rasta cafe situated at Jalan Raya Labuhan road 46 km from Kuta beach, and the ‘Base camp cafe’ situated along Jalan Terara Sikur road, 31 km from Kuta beach. The cafes gave a cosmopolitan feel that mirrored Kuta beach Lombok that emanates that sense of international good will through what is a form of grass roots diplomacy based on the voice of consumerism.

 

Rice being planted below Senaru

 

Saifana organic farm

Road to Hindu village

Solar farm at the Hindu village

Traditional style dwellings in the region

Hindu shrine within the village

Cultivation at the base of Rinjani

Perspective from the village

Weaver at work

Painter of the volcano and waterfall

Waterfall at the base of Rinjani

Ride down Sembalun

workers cut regrowth

Short stretch of just jungle

The ride through villages

Between villages rice plantation activity

Themed cafe in a village

Base camp cafe

   
     
     
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