Sempiak Villas, Selong Belanak, Lombok

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A stunning beauty!  A spot of rest, relaxation, enjoying the moment and a bit of pampering.

A beautiful spot literally one of the most profound places I have stayed so far on my journey, yes it was luxury which certainly helps me articulate some of the insights that came up on this part of the journey.  Esther and I had decided to take a few days and visit a luxury resort complete with beautiful bungalows nestled into the mountains, a pool, an open air yoga studio, a spa, bean bag chairs for lounging on the beach, umbrellas, and attendants at every turn.  This was a place where there was not a need/want that went unmet and most of the time it was anticipated before you even realized you had a need one. 

We stayed in a Bungalow nestled into the mountain for the first night surrounded in comfort and luxury.  A beautiful King sized bed with beautiful spotless bedding, a plethora of pillows, a bolster type pillow that made my heart sing.  Tea, a kettle, a mini bar full of drinks and snacks, a water cooler and a little deck to sit outside and watch the bay below.   

A beautiful pool a few meters down the pathway complete with lounge chairs with thick. lush cushions, an outdoor shower, a view of the beautiful bay and another couple of meters further down the path we would find an open air platform which we be the yoga studio I would visit for the next three mornings, we were fortunate enough to call this home for the one night.

The following day we moved to a bungalow on the lower side of the property.  Not currently being advertised as construction was happening on the pool right outside of our door.  It did not matter because we would not be spending any time in the room, this was all about the beach, the Ocean and the Spa.  

The bungalow came complete with a kitchen, a kettle (hallelujah) a large bedroom and a tidy little bathroom.  A short walk from the beachfront, reception and the restaurant, or if you preferred a buggy would be right along to pick you up and drive you wherever you wanted to go.

Opposite the bungalow was a small farm with horses, goats, deer, geese, and pheasants.  The deer all tethered to posts in the ground with a small allowance of room to roam, the goats penned up in a mid-sized wooden structure with allowance for them to put their heads through the gates and bahhhhhh at us each time we walked by.  Sad to see the animals tied and tethered.

The property was to be many hectares in total with rolling hills, Bungalows on the hillside, a farm, pools, yoga studio, restaurant all located on the most beautiful bay tucked away into the landscape. The owners owned the house on the hill, she was so humble.

We would move around the property by“buggy” which turns out be to a golf cart with a seat for two rear facing, we always grabbed the back seat, it reminded me of when we were children fighting over the rear facing seat.  All you have to do is tell someone you want to go somewhere and the buggy arrives, just like in cinderella.  I was beginning to feel like a princess.   Esther and I were about to experience something that we had not expected, the services were superior, these people knew your name, they knew which villa/bungalow you were staying in, even after we moved after the first night they knew our new location, they knew what we liked, they made conversation easily, they were there to ensure you knew you were well taken care of. 

Esther and I are both single independent women who are used to taking care of ourselves so this was a little slice of heaven.  We indulged in the spa services both days, everything in Indonesia is quite inexpensive, even staying at a luxury resort.   The spa was a beautiful, tranquil place decorated with dark wood and beautifully decorated cabana’s which were used for both massage and for guests to relax in after treatments.  Spa services were offered in a tiny hut at the beach a few meters set back from the Ocean with open wooden windows allowing the air flow to continuously move about the room while treatment was in progress.  I chose the Ocean bungalow for my 90 minute full body massage, as I walked up I was greeted by a local native of Lombok who told me right away that she loved her job.

I could tell immediately that the staff all seemed to be happy they were clearly treated well and taken care of by the owners of this stunning property.  I was surprised at the number of employees working around the resort, security guards, drivers, farm hands, construction workers, bell boys all standing by to take care of any need any of the guests might have.  They bell boys took care of the beach, the bean bag chairs, the lounge chairs, fetching food, drink, always close enough to ask for anything you might need in the moment.  They were always close by but not close enough to cause discomfort.

The restaurant had many many many servers to ensure each guest was treated with top-notch service, at each meal you would encounter at least 3, if not 4, servers taking orders, bringing food, clearing dished, brining bug fans, setting up lights.  They were quick to ensure that everything was taken care of right away although not to invasive.  At breakfast one morning Esther pulled out her fan and started fanning herself, within a minute someone had an electric fan and had it plugged in and set up allowing Esther to sit in comfort and not have to exert herself by moving the fan back and forth in front of her face.  We just looked at one another and smiled.

The restaurant decor something straight out of a magazine, white wash all over the walls, simple white wooden tables and chairs inside the restaurant, with light blue to accessorize the white wash interior.  A beautiful shell chandelier hung above the main part of the restaurant complete with outdoor lights to illuminate its beauty.   Six simple black light fixtures hung above the bar and rattan accessories were strategically placed, in the right spot, to add just the right touch.  Servers in uniforms neatly pressed and polished to give an air of sophistication to the already gleaming resort. 

The food was outstanding, each and every meal left me feeling absolutely satisfied and overfed.  Breakfast was included each morning offering a wide variety of choices, tea, fruit juice, yogurt, muesli, a fruit plate and then breakfast of your choice.  I had poached eggs on toast one morning it was absolutely amazing. 

Relatively less garbage washing up onto the shoreline than we experienced in Bali but the more I explored the more I could see the unsightly mess making its way to this pristine beach and oasis.  As I ventured into the Ocean for some fun boogie boarding I noticed more and more garbage making it way to the shores of Lombok threatening to ruin these lands.  On more than one occasion tourists were picking up the garbage floating around as they walked along the shore, I, myself to be one of those people hoping that my small effort might add to the effort of many others to rid this beauty of the only unsightly piece in this small oasis away from the rest of the world.  As I moved further along the beach away from the resorts and the tourists it became clearer and clearer as the massive beast, garbage, was taking over more and more of the landscape. 

Tiny hermit crabs scatter around your feet as you walk along the sandy beach, being careful of each and every step trying to ensure we don’t cause stress or destroy their amazingly articulate  patterns and homes they have created in the sand.  Tiny bubbles of sand creating a mosaic pattern creating their worlds both above and underneath. 

A plethora of fishing boats anchored off the shore day and night.  Many unsuccessful conversations with the locals to find out what they were bringing in with little evidence that anything was being brought to shore each day.  A few boats returning to the water at sunset most stayed in the water day and night.  One fisherman explained that they caught fish about the size of your thumb leaving me wondering what on earth you would do with a fish that small.  At night the boats illuminated their lights and turned the dark of the night into a seeming little city sitting out on the ocean just beyond the shore. 

The sun sets were stunning, amazing, gorgeous, incredible, magnificent, translucent, words cannot describe what my eyes have witnessed.  I get this overall sense of well-being watching the sun set, a bidding farewell to another day.  The sky lines light up in a magnitude of colours as the sun begins its decent, allowing me to reflect on the moments of the day, it reminds me to allow gratitude to fill every part of my being.  It allows me to sink into this moment and remember that nothing else matters but right now.  It fills me with a joy, a pleasure, an appreciation, an overwhelming sense of calm.  It reminds me that I can count on the simplicity and the consistency of the sun and the moon and all is well in my world.

I was filled with gratitude the entire stay.  I was so overwhelmed with the beautiful view, the incredible beach, the sound of my majestic ocean every moment of the day, the cleanliness, the services, the animals, the people.  Each hour I found myself relaxing a little more and a little more and a little more.  I couldn’t help but feel something in contrast at the very same time, travelling in this style was not my intention as I planned this journey.  

The contrast that I felt was one of entitlement, of extravagance, something from a long time ago.  This stop was a wonderful experience and I enjoyed every minute of it but it made me realize that I have settled into a very different way of being, while I did enjoy the lavish luxury of this resort and everything it had to offer it reminded me of another time.  As I journey through my life as a minimalist, as someone who is trying to live a non materialistic life,  living small.  I found myself seeing all the things that I wished I had the power to change, the wild dogs without owners coming into the restaurant hoping for a morsel of food, a drop of water, beat up and battered I wished I could solve all of their problems and take away their pain.  It pained me to see the dogs in such a state.  The first night I saved all my chicken from my meal and gave it to one of the dogs after my meal.   I realize that on one hand I am causing problems for the owners who do not want these mangy dogs hanging around but my heart wants to help, to give, to know that just for one night they don’t go to sleep with hunger ravaging their skinny bodies.  Seeing all the local people working so hard, being so kind, offering such great service knowing that they make less than what we would spend on a meal.  I couldn’t help feel a sense of guilt and again a wishing that I could make their lives easier somehow.

As I walked along the beach in the early morning I was greeted by one of the wild dogs, the same one I had fed a few night before, he greeted me by licking my hand and then gently biting my hand then my arm, at first I thought it was endearing.  He continued to gently bite at my arm, my hands, the back of my ankles, then he would grab onto my bag and gently tug it.  I gently but firmly told him no but he continued to bite me moving quickly from one body part to the other.  My voice grew louder and I tried to command the dog to stop, to back off, to leave me alone but he was insistent and continued biting me softly from one area to another, I felt like I was trying to swat away a pestering fly only this was a bigger version and he had teeth and we unpredictable.   I was getting scared.  I heard this little voice in the back of my head say  “walk toward the water” so I walked toward the water, as I entered the water he started to backed off and stopped biting me althoug still keeping in step with me.  As I continued to wade out deeper and deeper, he stopped and watched me walk away.   A wild dog is a wild dog no matter how much I wished it were different.  

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