Bali to Komodo, October 1999
page 7 of 9
(Click any photo throughout to see a larger version)
Lombok is the island just east of Bali, similar in size and climate but very different in fauna. The great naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace, most famous for developing the theory of natural selection concurrently but independently from Charles Darwin, noticed that the bird life in particular was sharply different between Bali and Lombok. On Bali and westward, the bird life was similar to that of Asia, whereas on Lombok and eastward, the bird life was much more similar to that of Australia. This region is now sometimes called Wallacea in his honor, and the line that divides Bali and Lombok (and, further north, Borneo and Sulawesi), is called the Wallace Line. Nowadays we can explain this faunal difference with the concepts of plate tectonics and continental drift, but Wallace had to rely on his own keen observational and deductive skills to notice what no one had noticed before.

Did I mention that my wife loves mangoes? That's her completely obscured in the shadows.

Like most of Indonesia, Lombok is primarily Muslim, but it does have a significant Hindu population as well. We happened to be in town right when the local Hindu temple was having a procession and celebration. A long foot parade of colorfully-dressed Hindu women, men, and children carried their decorative offerings past us. Most were wearing traditional clothing, but a few had on western T-shirts along with their sarongs. One young woman was carrying three Sprite bottles on a tray as her offering.
We visited the pottery-making village of Masbagik. Fields of rice, peanuts, and other crops surrounded the village buildings. I believe these women were harvesting peanuts.
This Masbagik woman is stoking the fires of her pottery-baking kiln.
We also visited the village of Tetebatu, in the foothills of the large volcano Mount Rinjani that dominates the northeastern portion of Lombok. Here are some village residences behind the hotel where we ate lunch.
My wife Monica is president of a dog and cat rescue group, and all dogs the world over seem to know about it. This charming fellow, actually quite well-groomed and fed, came over to our group and walked straight to Monica. Then she sat down, donned the I'm-a-poor-starving-pathetic-dog look, and started gently pawing at Monica's legs.

Next: Komodo and Rinca