Bali volcano: What it’s like to be stranded on holiday by Mount Agung

At slightest we had a foreknowledge to book a hotel directly conflicting Mount Agung.


I’m on Mangsit beach, on a western seashore of Lombok, a lumpy island usually to a easterly of Bali. We arrived on Friday to blue skies, palms burning immature with sleet and dull roads (everyone else was in Bali, or on a 18-30 celebration isle Gili Trawangan).

And on even emptier Mangsit beach usually north of review city Senggigi, we’ve got a front-row chair opposite a Bali Sea to a usually uncover that matters in Indonesia right now: Mount Agung’s eruption.

On Friday, it was business as usual. We raced happily along Lombok’s decayed seashore highway on a scooter, interlude for skewers of duck satay and bottles of Bintang drink during downbeat restaurants. we put a frangipani behind my ear and Instagrammed a sunset. 

Saturday, it started to rain. After reading online reports, we realised it was charcoal rain: Agung was floating fume to a easterly and dousing Lombok’s collateral Mataram. But a continue was terrible, and clouds vaporous Agung roughly completely.

By Sunday, a WhatsApps and emails from family and friends about a vicinity to a volcano started. Agung had started to fume black plumes of fume and charcoal into a high cone, blending with a white-grey clouds. The whole sky looked dark. We went out for cooking on a beach, yet a atmosphere felt thick and oily. The moon was dusky and ringed by a complicated rope of ashy fog. The atmosphere looked brighter around Agung, yet we couldn’t see either it looked like orange lava. Our garments smelled like timber smoke.

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Monday, today, right now. We woke adult to indiscriminate cancellations of flights from Bali’s Denpasar airport, from that we were ostensible to be drifting home to Hong Kong really early Tuesday morning. The airfield is due to open, we’re told, during 7am Tuesday morning. Given that Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Authority says a incomparable Agung tear is “imminent”, we’re not hopeful.

And so we attempted to book an increasingly treacherous array of joining flights around Lombok airport, a tiny general terminal. The airfield was sealed on Sunday as a charcoal blew eastwards, yet tentatively reopened progressing on Monday (today) – supposedly. I’ve checked their departures/arrivals moody standing each 30 mins or so and all – bar a handful of flights from a really punchy airline called Batik Air – is cancelled. One domestic moody we attempted to lane regulating Flight Radar even returned a standing “unknown”.

And so we’re stranded during a hotel in Lombok, not meaningful either a breeze will blow a volcanic charcoal particles so dangerous to aeroplane engines towards us, divided from Denpasar, or will cloak Bali and Lombok wholly until Christmas. Plus, we’re still a two-hour vessel tour divided from Bali’s Padang Bai vessel pier – and uncertain about either to go behind to Bali, or stay on Lombok. The cost of flights – which, frustratingly, we can still book from Lombok airport, yet they’re expected to be cancelled during some indicate a subsequent day – are stratospheric. we asked my hotel’s front table how prolonged it took to get a vessel to Jakarta: The answer was 5 days and excitable laughter.

And so we’re waiting, alongside some other clearly unfrazzled couples in a hotel, to see what a subsequent pierce is. My father had a massage, we answered some emails, cleared my underwear in a hotel penetrate and asked about some-more hit lens fluid. we waited to hear either an overpriced moody to Macau around Jakarta would be confirmed. (It’s looking expected that a approach home competence indeed finish adult being a vessel to a Indonesian capital.)

But right now, my really chi chi boutique hotel is putting on an Indonesian “market” dinner with some out-of-tune folk song to accompany. It’s happy hour and I’m essay this with an icy potion of Bintang beside me. There’s a accessible grill grill adult a beach and a nightly party – ashy, spewing Agung – doesn’t uncover most pointer of stopping.

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