As visa runs go this one looked easy peasy. To navigate the circuitous path through Malaysian bureaucracy we’ll hire a car and driver to take us to Mataram, the capital of Lombok, about an hour and a half away.

We expect to see more evidence of earthquake damage, then up into the mountains for alto buena vista photos, to the west side of the island, where we are promised mechanics and boat parts, some local sights and the Immigration Office where, with any luck at all, we can dress up pretty like we own the joint and renew our visas.

Our driver arrived first thing in the morning and in company with the crew of Erie Spirit we were on our way.

“How is your family?”

“They’re ok, thank god.”

“And your house?”

“Finished.” It’s getting to be more than I can take.

Leaving Medana Bay we found more damage but in a more or less random hit or miss fashion.

In the mountains the only signs of the earthquakes were hastily patched road surfaces to bridge the gap where the roadway no longer matched the level of where it was before the quake. Disconcerting, but nowhere near the devastation of the quake zone.

Mark found a sympathetic mechanic who puzzled out how to repair the problem with his in-mast furler system.

This huge mosque had only slight damage, or is it just a maintenance problem?

Our driver found another temple featuring the ever popular Island Temple in a Large Lake motif.

Of course this would have been even nicer if they hadn’t followed us around asking for more money.

Turns out that before one enters the Immigration building of visa renewal, the guards insist on proper respectable traditional clothing.

The guards would not take no for an answer. Personally I feel that I haven’t got the legs for this kind of look anymore but what the hell. They insisted. I think of it as a when-in-Rome kind of thing. 

All things considered the visa renewal went surprisingly smoothly.

The last stop on the way back home was a deli rumored to have blue cheese, unheard of in Indonesia, and our driver knew right away which place we were talking about. We were impressed right off the bat but as I wandered over to the deli counter, I bent over and could not believe my disbelieving eyes. I know it’s impossible but that looks like apple pie.

“Is that apple pie?”

“Why yes, that’s apple pie.”

“You couldn’t make it á la mode could you?”

“Why yes, we make all our ice cream right in house!”

I tell you, dear Escapees, it was a religious experience. I even think the second piece was better than the first.

You know how the way back home always seems to go quicker? This outing was no exception, tempered by what we knew was waiting for us back in Medana Bay, that feeling of impotence in the face of an overwhelming task while aware of the privilege of knowing we can sail away from this seemingly impossible situation.

As soon as we get back we’ll pitch in again at the school build. Kimi and Trevor and the rest of the core crew continue to put in long days and are starting to look the worse for wear. I don’t know how they do it.

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