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I’m pretty sure most of us married folk remember when we realized our significant other was “the one”. I recall the moment when I did clearly. It struck me during a week in Lombok at a home-stay that cost $1.50 per night and culminated in a face-off with a giant scorpion. Here’s how it happened.
How it Began
It was 2009 and Lianne and I were ready to take the next step. By that I mean it was time to take a long trip together. The best way to learn about anyone is to travel with them, especially on an extended trip. We somehow both convinced our respective employers to allow us a 4-month leave of absence from our positions. Our journey started in Indonesia.
The Journey to Lombok
After a week or so in Bali we caught a ferry ride to Lombok. The plan was to catch up with some friends who had traveled that way a few days prior. The ride was supposed to be about 4 hours but there were mechanical problems that made it closer to 6. Our arrival at the port was just after sunset and coincided with the sounds of the island going into “Salat al-maghrib” which is the Muslim prayer just after sunset. After 10 minutes of haggling, we found a taxi driver to take us on the 1-hour trip to Kuta, Lombok. We had no set accommodation and no phone to contact our friends (I’m dating us, but smartphones weren’t everywhere like they are today).
We arrived in town and it was dark and quiet. To our dismay the first 7 or 8 places we tried to find a room were completely full. Some random guy on a motorbike pulled up. He said he heard we were looking for a place to stay and that he had a room in his house. We politely declined and did what you do in these situations…took our backpacks and my surfboard and went to the bar. As luck would have it, on our second Bintang, our friends showed up. They were at a family home-stay outside of town and were paying $2 per night which included pancakes and coffee for breakfast. Things were looking up!
The “Lombok Hilton”
We had another beer and then went to meet the home-stay hosts. There was one room left and it was even cheaper than the others at $1.50 per night and still included the breakfast. As we checked out the room, we quickly realized there were several reasons for this “value” price.
- The ground was concrete with dirt.
- The “bed” was basically yoga mats on the ground (Luckily, we had blowup neck pillows).
- There was no electricity so nighttime light was provided by candles.
- The “ensuite bathroom” was an outhouse connected to our room and it was made of stacked bricks with two holes in each one, so it was exposed to the outside world.
- The shower was a spigot with cold water and a bucket.
- The toilet was a hole in the ground right by the spigot.
Since we had found no other available options, we took the room. The next morning way before sunrise I was off to chase surf for several hours while Lianne checked out the local area. I got back in time for us to have some amazing banana pancakes and then we spent the afternoon motorbiking through the countryside and visiting secluded beaches.
The Scorpion Showdown
Later that evening, Lianne went to use the hole in the ground and take a “shower”. I heard a gasp before she calmly yet urgently stated that she needed me to come into the bathroom. I entered the dimly lit space and saw a naked Lianne and a massive (at least in my mind) scorpion in a standoff. The arachnid was mad and was in the attack position while flexing its tail. It also happened to be between her and the door to our room. I ran to grab a weapon and decided on a tennis shoe. “Hurry up!” she said from the other room. I came back in time to see the scorpion closing the gap with my beloved. I charged forward and smashed the encroaching intruder. “Are you okay?” I asked. Lianne responded, “Yes, now let me finish my bucket shower.”
Well, That Settles It…She’s the One
As I walked back into our concrete-floored room, it solidified in my mind that this was the woman I wanted to spend my life with (even though I had a very strong hunch about it before this incident). I was amazed at the cool, calm, and collected way that she handled the scorpion episode. Furthermore, she agreed to stay at the “Lombok Hilton” for another week AFTER the incident. The go with the flow, adventurous, positive attitude that Lianne brought to our time in Lombok and the rest of our journey really showed her true colors and are reasons that I still love her more than anything to this day!
Have you had a travel experience with someone that changed or reinforced your perception of them? Have you taken a trip with a significant other that went pear-shaped? What were your best or worst travel experiences with a partner? Let us know in the comments below!
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