A morning’s winter break in Lombok

With fingers brittle from coldness and ears frosted by wind, my thoughts turned to the place I’d be spending the morning: Lombok.

Imagining the warmth of the hot Indonesian sun on my face and the taste of chilies, coconut, garlic and lime on my tongue, I was momentarily transported to the tropics.

But I was only playing dank, winter mind-games with myself.

I was actually headed to a neighborhood of Utrecht called ‘Lombok.’ A place that I suppose acquired its name from the Indonesian island, as this Dutch neighborhood was established shortly after the ‘1894 Dutch Intervention’ which brought tropical Lombok under the control of the Dutch East India Company.

While I actually found little hint of Indonesia in Utrecht’s Lombok, I did find lots of shops owned and operated by folks of Middle Eastern origin selling heaps of gorgeous, fresh and inexpensive produce.

Lombok Utrecht produce _ expatlingo.com

Just gazing at the color raised my body temperature several degrees.

I bought bags of fruits and vegetables, ogled the spices and dry goods, filled my belly with a spinach and cheese börek, and was happily required to use Dutch to buy beef from a halal butcher who spoke no English.

In short: It was sort-of, kind-of like a mini-holiday abroad without the sun, sea or sand.

In truth: I’m clinging to anything that will help me make it through the bleakness of my first Dutch winter. See my posts glorifying snert or beaming about cycling through the rain for further evidence.

22 responses to “A morning’s winter break in Lombok

  1. Awww…I’m sorry you’re having a tough time with the winter. To make you feel better, Seattle’s not much better though more mild. I’m wintering in Arizona right now…and will not tell you what the temps were like yesterday or the day before. Ummm….

    • Wintering in Arizona: you’re a traitor to your PNW people.

      Here in Utrecht: spring flowers have started peeping their heads out of the grass and temperatures have risen to 5 C, so things are looking up (-ish).

  2. If that’s the “Lombok,” then I wonder what “Jakarta” would be like…have you tried a lot of Indonesian food since you’ve been in the Netherlands?

    At least for Hong Kong, if Lombok became Sai Wan, then Jakarta would take the form of the 5th floor of Chungking Mansions at 3am;)

    • I haven’t tried as much as I should have, but I did get a hot tip about a place from a recent Indonesian immigrant that I need to check out.

      (If Lombok is in Utrecht, then I’m guessing the local Chungking Mansions equivalent of Jakarta must be in Den Haag.)

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