Operation Hotel Kilo

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The past few days have been an interesting time to be in Bali. Rumblings and tremors have increased in frequency. As ash clouds have begun to spread over Bali, our skies have turned white, and intense rains have caused flooding in streets and villages. Monkeys and other critters have migrated into areas where they aren’t usually seen (like our neighborhood), in an attempt to move farther away from the volcano, and airports on Bali shut down. I have not felt panicked at all, but I have been concerned about Emma’s asthma flaring up, and have been keeping close tabs on her. The three creatures that are home (Mycah, Aidan and Emma) and I were scheduled to fly to Hong Kong yesterday morning to spend a week with Danny, but the airport was closed. We rescheduled for today…just to wake up to cancelled flights once again, so we sat and discussed our options:
A – try rebook again for tomorrow and see what happens.
B – Just hang out in Bali, be prepared and take what comes.
C – Find a different way out

We could see that given the weather, the airport would most likely be closed for a few days so ‘A’ was pointless.
If the situation became really dangerous and Emma’s asthma was bad, we may reach a point of it being too late to leave – especially if the ash cloud closes airports on surrounding islands as well, so ‘B’ didn’t sound too smart.
So, with Danny’s encouragement we decided on ‘C’.

We arranged for a driver to pick us up and take us to the ferry dock which was an hour away in the direction of the erupting volcano. After waiting an hour for him, realizing he was MIA, we were eventually able to track down someone else to pick us up. We took our bags to the end of the driveway to wait for him, and after half an hour of him also not showing up, a van drove past, stopped and backed up, and asked if we needed a ride. We told him we need to be someplace an hour away, in a 45 minute time frame. He took It seriously and drove like Danny does, but he dropped us off at the wrong location and sped off back the way he’d come. It had been an interesting ride across because we had to get so much closer to erupting Agung in order to reach Padandbai where the ferry’s are. This is a poor photo but I took it as we sped past banana trees. You can see ash clouds billowing out of Mt Agung, totally covering the mountain with cloud then blowing to the left (west) in the photo. Perhaps our driver was a bit nervous and wanted to get back in a hurry.

We jumped onto the back of some scooters with our luggage, and were driven the rest of the way to the correct spot.

Each of us were given a special ‘Lombok’ sticker, since that was the island we were headed to, and waited half an hour before heading out. We were told that it was the last ferry out.

Fishing boats sat in perfect rows, anchored in the still, shallow water.

We chose to sit on the roof of the ferry, where we could feel the wind in our hair and the ocean spray on our skin.

Many others joined us on top, as we sat listening to music and enjoying the ride.

As we left Bali, all I could think about were Angel, Stanley and our many human friends who were still there. Just then I received a group text from a gentleman in our church who works for the airport. Seismic activity surrounding Agung was picking up the pace considerably.

I wanted to go back. To be there to help. It broke my heart.

I looked over at Mycah, then to the twins. I knew I was in the right place. Right now, my children’s safety is my concern, and I knew I would do what ever it would take to keep them safe.

Mycah and I noticed that just by chance, the twins were wearing matching colors. So we asked them to stand for a quick photo! They are so connected. Just in case I hadn’t mentioned it…I adore my 11 creatures.

We passed by some pretty scenery and gorgeous beaches – the kind that we used to anchor Tanda Malaika by.

Interesting sea stacks and tiny islands stood out in contrasting colors of rich chocolate browns and bright greens.

We finally reached Gili Island, where some exited and others boarded. The water was beautiful against the thick dark grey sky.

Continuing on, we reached Lombok.

We walked the pier until we reached yet another driver, who would take us farther in for about another two and a half hours. The island is so lush and sparsely populated compared to Bali.

Everything seemed to move at a much slower pace.

I chatted with the driver about Bali and Lombok, as well as his family, his one son whom he is so proud of, and of religion. We talked about how Lombok has many more muslim people on it that Bali, and we talked about Indonesian traditions and food. He asked what foods we liked and we mentioned some of our favorites – one of them being jagung bakar (grilled corn with a special hot sauce on it), and he stopped on the side of the ride by an old woman who was fanning a fire, and asked her to prepare some for us.

It was obvious she had done this so many times before, as she efficiently fanned the fire and roasted the corn. It was absolutely delicious!

From her little place on the side of the road, we could see Agung rising up behind a mountain range in the far distance…venting clouds of ash and steam just like before.

By the time we reached Kuta, which is half an hour from the airport, the sun was setting and we were hungry. We secured a motel room with a couple queen sized beds in it, arranged a ride to the airport in the morning, then set out for some Mexican food at a place that had caught the kids attention.

The burritos were delicious, and lucky for us, guacamole was in season! I took a photo of this on the menu…they must get some complaints when the guacamole trees aren’t producing!

Tonight we are snuggled down in warm beds. We are safe and tired. As I have been writing all 3 creatures have fallen asleep and Danny texted to say good night – that he was going to sleep too. I guess it’s my turn now. We have a long day ahead of us tomorrow, provided the Lombok airport stays open. The adventure continues!


2 thoughts on “Operation Hotel Kilo

    Andrea said:
    November 28, 2017 at 7:12 am

    I was watching sailing videos on YouTube and stumbled upon someone who was ‘visiting’ your boat, and I googled you and found your blog. I spent quite a lot of time reading yesterday. I am amazed by your resilience and optimism, and your courage to continue in the face of such heartbreak. I hope you and your family stay safe during this next journey.


      belindagovatos responded:
      November 29, 2017 at 11:27 pm

      Andrea, thank you so much for your note, it is wonderful to hear from you. We just arrived safely in Hong Kong. All is well. Now we’ll see what adventures we can go on here!


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