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Nihiwatu means “pounding stone,” and the name is most appropriate. Topping Conde Nast ‘s list of top ten resorts of 2006 the resort’s most famous feature is the surf, which relentlessly pounds the shore of this remote island. Aussies love the place, shunning the tamer and more commercialized beaches of Bali, for the more austere surroundings of Sumba -if they can afford it! (see review at http://www.concierge.com/cntraveler/articles/detail?articleId=10419&pageNumber=1 )

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We loved it too (although we agonized somewhat over the expense), especially as we got a free upgrade to the villa overlooking the beach. We even tried the surf, Pam on a boogie board, Steve on a full-sized surf board. Pam got the better ride, delightedly screaming all the way in, to the cheers of the onlooking crowd. Steve got tumbled endlessly until, exhausted, he had to give up without once getting to his feet.

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Several bruised ribs later, we contented ourselves for the rest of the week watching the Aussies effortlessly tame the waves, which curl left along the beach, and looking for shells and turtles at the water’s edge. We took an overland trek through the hills and rice paddies of Sumba to another beach where the waves were more manageable, where we had a picnic in the shade of a grotto overlooking the shore with our new friends Brian and Claire from Oxford.

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Friends were easy to find at a resort where only ten couples are allowed at a time. Suppers were leisurely affairs, graced with laughter and stories, excellent food and attentive service from a kind and friendly staff. Beautiful surroundings, great food, new friends, laughter and sunshine: what else do you need for a great vacation?

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