The slow boat to the gili's

Trip Start Aug 09, 2010
Trip End Feb 01, 2012

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The ocean and rice paddies

Flag of Indonesia  , West Nusa Tenggara,
Monday, October 17, 2011

There are many ways to get to the Gili islands – our next destination. We were tempted to go with the easiest, fastest and therefore most expensive option but felt like we'd be cheating in some way. So instead we went for the slowest and cheapest route which turned into a mini-adventure in itself.

The first leg of the journey required us to spend the night in a place called Padangbai, a small seaside town where most ferries to Lombok depart from. We found a great restaurant that served homemade chicken cordon bleu and were instantly transported to the eighties with the first divine bite. We went to the Perama ticket office and were offered a combination ticket for a ferry ride, a bus ride and a boat ride which would eventually get us to the Gili islands.

Early the next morning we walked to the ferry where we chatted to other travellers and discovered that we’d paid a third extra for our ticket because we’d bought it from the official ticket office. Damn! Still at a tenner for a 7 hour journey we couldn’t really complain that much.

After a pleasant 4 hour journey on a huge ferry we reached Lombok and got on the bus for the next leg of our journey. Whilst this part of the trip was meant to take a couple of hours, we kept making random stops in various ticket offices where people would do their best to sell us a return ticket. It meant the journey took twice as long which was quite frustrating. When we got to the final harbour the last guy to try got pretty pissed off at our refusal to buy a ticket from him and decided to pay us back. He asked to see our final boat ticket and held on to it as he took us to the boat that would take us to the Gili islands. Not knowing that we were being scammed we let him leave, assuming that he’d shown the boatmen the ticket. When we tried to get on the boat, the boatmen refused to let us on without our ticket even though they knew full well that the guy who’d just taken us to them had our tickets. It was probably a scam that earnt everyone a few extra Rupiah.

When our refusals to pay extra money didn’t work, the ever-calm Paul (who hasn’t raised his voice once in the 15 months of dealing with local scammers) in true God Father style threatened to wait for the guy overnight and slit his throat the next morning. I don’t know if it was the actual threat or the chillingly quiet way it was delivered but we were quickly ushered onto the boat with no more mention of the missing ticket.

The final leg was quite eventful, what with nearly capsizing twice and having a giant cockroach running up my leg I was having heart palpitations by the time we made it to Gili Meno.

Whatever the cost, cheating or not, we would be going back to Bali the fast way!

Love Karen & Paul xxx 
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