Lombok: supposed to NOT be on a lockdown, but …

Lombok, the island next to Bali in Indonesia, where your Assistant Chief Editor is living at the moment, is NOT supposed to be on lockdown. The instructions were just ‘to be careful’.

However, with the ban on the visa-free entry of tourists to Indonesia in all practicality the Tourist Industry has been dealt a fatal blow.  I saw a list of 55 Lombok hotels that have closed down.  I am not sure how many actually are still open. On ‘my’ Mangsit Beach near Senggigi, West Lombok, three hotels have closed. Two theoretically are still open. In one I met just a British man with his new Indonesian wife and family, nine in all, who were stuck here. They came to Lombok for the wedding. The groom is working in Singapore and cannot return there due to the virus. He is looking to rent a villa for a month, because he feels the hotel will close soon (and the rent of a villa for 9 persons may be cheaper than the hotel).

The one and only Mall in the capital city Mataram has been closed – at the moment for one week – for ‘desinfectation’.

As there are few ‘stuck’ tourists many restaurants have closed too (although not ‘ordered’ to do so)

In other words hundreds if not thousands of workers are out of a job. Most of them without a salary. One restaurant owner mentioned to us that she is handing out bags of rice to the staff, that she has to let go, because she cannot afford to pay them a salary.  !!!     The same will be happening all around.

And yes, my hairdresser has closed too.  He has not been ordered to close, but customers are not turning up. Or may be the owner of the saloon does not want to expose his staff?   (Will be interesting to see the hairstyles of the world’s population if the lock-down continues…).  (May be all of a sudden a lot of old ladies will have original gray hair?) (just wondering).

Yes, we read about Corona Corona Corona all the time. But little is said about the experience of the common people.  The hotel and restaurant staff, the beach traders. In Indonesia most of them have a motorcycle with monthly instalment payments. The Government has ordered that the sellers must accept delays in payments, let’s see how that works.

BEACHES IN LOMBOK are lonely these days. Even in ‘good days’ they are not over-crowded, but now deserted. Just me and my son…


Categories: The Muslim Times

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