Heaven, but spoilt by local touts

Trip Start Oct 03, 2009
Trip End Feb 28, 2010

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Where I stayed
Sandy Cottages

Flag of Indonesia  , Nusa Tenggara Barat,
Monday, February 1, 2010

I decided to retrace my steps back to Bali via the Gilli islands as I could not get to Komodo and beyond. Someone had told me about these islanda and they sounded nice place to relax before I went back to Malacca for the Chinese New year.

Before leaving Senaru I went to the village and was an old woman hand-weaving sarongs and other pieces. A sagong took her a month to manke on her loom. This was the most primitive that I had seen on my travels.She was sat on the ground with the loom in front of there. She passed the cotton back and forth from hand to hand which was so slow, but the quality of what she produced was very good. There was a small shpo behind where sat and I bought some things for me to take with me. they were a bit expensive and I didn't haggle to hard as I felt sorry for her.

The bemo that had brought me to Senaru came and picked me up to take me back to Bayan. The boats that go the islands leave from here. The closest is Gilli Air, the next one is Gilli Meno and lastly Gilli Trawangan. It only takes about 20 mins to go from one to the other.

At the harbour the official ticket office had no boats leaving soon. They had to wait until there were 20 passengers. I could charter a boat for 10 but that seemed excessive. So I wandered to where some of the boats were moored and I was immediately beseiged by a number of younng lads offering to sell me a ticket. the prices started at 10 but quickly dropped when I showed not interest. This pressure selling continued and I found it quite irritating as I could not shake them off. 

In desperation I went to the food hut and odrered nassi goring - rice with different curries. I knew that they would not bother me whilst i was eating. The food was wrapped in greaseproof paper, but no spoon. So I rinced my right  hand with my drinking water and tucked in. Its not easy if you have not tried it. One thing travelling in these parts teaches you is ot be versatile - chopsticks or fingers.
I noticed one of the boats filling up with people and their goods. There was also a Swiss man there who had a bar on the island and, much to the dismay of the touts, he negotiated directly with the boat owner for me to also go across with him for about 20p. The lesson for me was to  avoid the touts and go straight to the owners. 

We had to take our shoes off as we had to wade a short distance to the boat which by now was loaded with sacks and boxes and we had to clamber over these and find somewhere to sit. The trip to Gilli Air didn't take long. The Swiss man had chartered another boat to take boxes of beer across to his bar for the party he was planning that evening. Clearly if you are local there is complete trust beween them because at the jetty a horse and cart would meet the beer shipment and the driver would deliver it to the bar without any supervision. 

Anyhow our boat docked and I was surprised to see how small Gill Air was. There are no cars here and it only takes an hour to walk the whole island. All tourist accommodation is along the sandy road that follows the shore. In the centre of the island are the houses and shops where the local people live. Transport is either by bicycle or small horse and cart. this is their taxi service. 

I decided to walk anong the road and eventually came to Sandy Cottages that the Swiss chap had recommended, and got myself one of the little cottages not far from the shore.  This was going to be home for the next couple of days.      
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