Not doing much at the moment

Trip Start May 30, 2005
Trip End Sep 30, 2006

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Wednesday, October 5, 2005

I was up early and away from Kuta at 6am, quite glad to be leaving under the circumstances. It'd take almost 12 hours to get to Gili Trawangan so I thought it best to start the day off by sleeping in the bus as best I could. That was until was rounded a corner sending my head thudding into the window, ok, enough sleep.

The journey was pretty good, especially the sections on the boat, a five hour ferry from Bali to Lombok was really relaxing, even though the sun was a touch hot and I had to dive for cover by mid day. It was quite amusing though watching other tourists hide under their sarongs in the windy conditions. This had the effect of looking like the invisible man whenever he wears clothes i.e. you can see the outline of the body, but not actually see any of the person underneath. Between Lombok and Gili Trawangan we had to venture onto a small boat that perhaps only carried 12 people at a time. The boat was small and the sea was rough. It kept pitching from side to side only keeping afloat due to the stabilising bars to each side and the fact that the driver knew what he was doing. Anyone towards the front of the boat got a good soaking, poor guys.

I found a nice quiet guest house staying in the same place as a Dutch girl that I'd met. This is when the days started merging into one in a true groundhog day fashion. I'd get up, have a Jaffle (toastie to me and you), sun bathe for a while. Snorkel for a bit. Meet Mar Lushe for lunch. Have a little walk and look round town. read or update diary. perhaps have another snorkel. Meet Mar Lushe for Dinner. Have a couple of drinks or watch a film. It was great.

I'd never snorkelled in such a great place before. You were able to walk in from the shoreline, hover over the sadly dead coral, watch the fish and then slowly drift down the coast line. All with minimal effort. I did spend one of my days on a snorkling trip, being taken round the other two Gili islands for a different waterscape. One of the places that we were taken to was a famous turtle area. It was quite deep and the turtles and really well camoflaged against the bottom. The locals on the boats were able to find the turtles for us and then point to where they were. They were amazing, just gliding around without and effort, they were a lot bigger than I was expecting. One of the turtle started heading to the surface, heading for some air. About 8 of us were on the surface just watching it come up towards us. The turtle's head broke through the surface, took a gulp and then just continued on it's way, completely oblivious to us. As it swam away I swam after it and then dived down to the same depth as it. I was able to swim alongside it was a short time, really cool when it turned its head to have a look at me. I then had to head back to the surface for a big gulp of air myself.

I had all manner of wildlife hanging around the guest house where I was staying. There was a cat that'd always turn up just as you were starting your breakfast. A couple of little black flies that'd buzz about your nose less than 1 centimeter away, which would make you go cross eyed as you looked at them. Even more annoyingly they'd try and climb up your nose if you gave them half a chance. Lastly I had a pet chicken that'd come round some afternoons. She'd scratch around in the bushes for a while then climb up onto my porch when I pretended not to look. If she was feeling brave then she'd take a wander into my room to see what was there. I tried to take a picture of her in there one day but I managed to spook her. Next thing she'd managed to get stuck in the mosquito net around my bed, I was starting to worry that I'd need to explain to the owner what happend to his bird, or perhaps bury the evidence under the cover of darkness. Fortunatly it got itself free and bolted for the door, not to come back into my room again!

The food was amazing here. They of course had an abundance of seafood and I took full advantage of it. I'd eat snapper one night, and then barracuda the next. Each for perhaps only 2 pounds. The main town was also geared up massively for tourism, being almost their only industry. There was an open air cinema where they showed pirated films each night on a big screen and all you had to do was to buy some food or a drink. They also had these strange huts, containing a TV and DVD player. This was the same deal except you were able to choose the film and lounge around as if it were your own living room. I loved it and managed to catch up on a few films that I've missed. Some I've not even heard of as they're only just out.

One of the bars even had a table football, those that know me from my Cheltenham days know that I love playing table football. It felt a bit strange at first but it didn't take long before I felt like I'd never taken that 4 month break from the field of dreams. I played a number of games, some singles, some doubles. I'd like to report that I managed to remain unbeaten during my time there, there were a few close calls including a 10-9 victory, but I managed it. Maybe I should stick to this rather than trying to play chess all the time!

It was a struggle to leave in the end, but it had to be done. I revised my plans so that instead of returning to Kuta I'd head to Ubud instead. This is more of a cultural part of Bali, an area that I was going to originally miss due to the desire to surf!
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