Let’s get silly on the Gili’s

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
Trip End Feb 26, 2011

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Flag of Indonesia  , West Nusa Tenggara,
Wednesday, August 18, 2010

After a night of very interrupted sleep (between by aching ribs and people more childish than ourselves (do they exist) playing hide and seek between 3am and 5:30am) the alarm went off at 6am. We packed and left the place we have probably stayed at for the longest so far. The bus arrived at 06:30, a very nice luxury bus, pumping out happy hard core James Blunt tunes, that isn't being sarcastic, and we set off for the port town, Padang Bay, some 1.5 hours drive away. The bus ride was at times very hairy and as we have learnt over the last two days on the bike anything can be expected, in particular the point where our driver decided to swap carriageways to avoid traffic crossing over the central reservation into the dual carriageway with traffic coming at us head on. Two of the guys brought surf boards which nestled nicely above some unfortunate passengers heads.

When we arrived at the port town we were told to leave our bags which would be carried by the crew while we exchanged our paperwork with the ticket office inside. I desperately wanted to see what prices other people had paid and how much the agent was selling them for himself as it was his literature that dictated the price. Anyway as chaotic as ever in South East Asia our bags disappeared and we had no idea where the boat was or when it was leaving, the ticket exchange man didn’t want to exchange tickets as he had a peculiar system all of his own whereby he ran round on a walkie-talkie shouting at people ignoring the customers.

In the end we found the boat and our bags were just being loaded on. The boat had 4 x 200HP engines so with 800HP was probably one of the most powerful motorboats we have ever been on. It was however complete luxury with leather seats then banana jaffles were handed out. (Jaffles / toasted sandwiches here have the most random fillings, banana and strawberry jam is often one of the favourites oh and we have seen banana and cheese, hmmm one to avoid). The boat slowly eased away before putting down the power and we were quickly in a very rough sea. Water was leaking through the roof, people were being sick everywhere in bags and running out to the back. Some would come back in absolutely drenched and we attracted a bizarre fat man who kept staring at us both and smiling. The man in front was sick and the boat kept bouncing out of the water. It was very worrying but the crossing to Lombok only took about 1 hour 15 minutes. Lombok looked quite beautiful as we approached and was originally on our hit list as well. We then had about another 15 minutes past the other two Gili Islands before landing on Gili Trawangan.

The island on arriving was another beautiful paradise island but after a few conversations we thought it may actually hit our budget hard more than even Kuta. Stevie R had confirmed that it could get cheaper if we spent more getting away from tourism but I think we have adjusted to the life and accepted we have almost had to start moving towards our Aussie budget as opposed to our SE Asia budget. Unlike the many other occasions on almost deserted islands we have brought loads and loads of cash to ensure we don’t run out and have to leave before we are ready, only to find that since the publication of our guide books they have bloody cash machines (or that we can sponge off Rorie and Emer for a while). When we checked our bank account we were horrified at just how much we have spent in Indonesia already.  Arggghhhh, it is horrifying.

Anyway the island is gorgeous we had about a 1 hour march round in the midday sun before finding somewhere acceptable for the Ladies ever rising expectations (Erica edit:  Whoa there cowboy I was just comparing to what I had found in Kuta), while horrified at the first few places we have found a lovely inland cottage with a fan and mosquito net and a hammock in lovely gardens. It was about the cheapest place we found as well and we looked at a lot, lot, lot worse places. So for 200,000 Rupiah per night (about 14) I am well over budget but quite happy. The Lady however has expectations of luxury cottages, air conditioning and infinity pools (Hmmm, not quite that level – anyway you show yourself up even knowing what an infinity pool is!). The places here are so expensive I guess the days of cheap beach huts facing the sea are disappearing into luxury A frames with infinity pools for about 50 quid a night. Anyway I guess our lack of funds is developing into another rant again!!!

We had a good walk up the whole length of the island which was great but nowhere had accommodation for less than 400,000.  It had to happen at some point, hitting somewhere at total peak season, anyway we strolled for a few hours checking just how incomprehensible a 5 day boat trip to Komodo was again (again Stevie R also recommended getting over that way, if we could afford it) but at over 120 each it’s well above our means. (Have to say we are absolutely gutted about that but let me get him drunk and he might agree to go with me as this trip has a lot to do with nature right?).

Back to the island, most of our favourite places on our whole travels, (Mongolia, The Philippines, Myanmar etc) have had limitations of electricity, cash and vehicles and here all that there is is the occasional horse and cart kicking up the dust and people wandering in shorts and bikinis, it’s not too dissimilar to Glastonbury really but the price of booze is outrageous. Saying that, as I type this blog I’m sat on our third beer between us looking out across pure white sands and crystal clear turquoise waters from a covered pagoda type thing with a grass roof. I’m still hating doing the blog but in this setting I’ve done it in worse places. (Erica edit: I’ve told you I’ll take over at any time but people are probably very, very board of my bleatings). (Andrew Edit – mmmmm I have to get you to put your book down and do some of the work....)

Tonight is a big beach party so I expect the many magic mushroom shops on the island will be busy. Despite the heavy penalties for drug taking in Indonesia (30 years for smoking a joint) there are no police on the islands so only the island chiefs decide what can or cannot be sold, smoked, inhaled, snorted or injected. So far though all we have seen are the mushroom milkshake shops which are also all over Kuta. To be fair to the wacky kids of today we didn’t see anyone spaced out (apart from the obvious revellers still on their way home at 06:20 this morning). Not sure what tomorrow holds maybe some sun bathing but Eggsy thinks it’s too hot here without a pool darling... I think she may soon be an extra in Absolutely Fabulous, Ian / Kay if she carries on like this I’ll be looking for a serious contribution when I get back, anyway got to dash she needs her champagne topping up before I go and shuck the oysters for her pre dinner snack. (Hey now, that’s unfair, we are firmly on Bintang and even surf and turf is well out of our price range, we aren’t on Rorie and Emer’s 7 star budget.)
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