Gili Meno

Trip Start Oct 20, 2009
Trip End Apr 01, 2011

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Flag of Indonesia  , West Nusa Tenggara,
Friday, November 26, 2010

Gili Meno

Staggering of the boat in pure pain from every muscle in our bodies, we literally kissed the ground as we landed on the beach of Gili Trawangan, knowing we were safe from having to walk anymore and at last, our feet would touch flat, even ground, instead of uneven rocks and roots. We were back in paradise. We then staggered off to our respective rooms and got some well earned rest.

Marie and I left Gili Trawangan in the morning, still with every muscle aching and in large amounts of pain. We said goodbye to the girls and floated off across the sea, to Gili Meno which was about 400 metres away, across the crystal blue waters.

Upon our arrival we booked into a bamboo bungalow and went to explore this new island, quickly discovering that there really wasn't much here. There are a couple of small shops and a small droplet of restaurants and that’s pretty much it. We couldn’t find any kind of centre to activities as everything was pretty spread out, which while being nice, was hard to immerse ourselves in.

The next day we found a turtle sanctuary with baby turtles, helping them to become strong enough before being released into the wild to help their numbers.  After a fair amount of searching, we managed to find a path into the sea, avoiding the rocks and coral until we were at least deep enough to don our snorkelling masks and start swimming. The View underwater was truly amazing, presenting us with far more coral than Gili T and a huge amount of amazingly coloured fish. The sights were so stunning that I decided to buy an underwater camera and go back in to collect a few underwater pictures. During this next swim I found two Sea Turtles and followed each one for a while trying to touch them but I never actually quite managed to achieve it, being always just one inch away. They move very slowly underwater, but so gracefully and just ever so slightly faster than me.

Deciding to check out the coral on the other side of the island, we began what turned into a bit of a nightmare hike around the southern edge of the island and up the west coast. The sun was ridiculously hot and we still ached severely from the insane Rinjani trip. Marie’s feet were covered in blisters, so she was having to walk barefoot over the boiling sand, making this little peaceful walk turn into something short of a nightmare. The distance we walked was unusually far, we were way too hot and there was nowhere we could access the deeper water, without walking over a field of sharp coral. Eventually we gave up and begun the huge walk back again. Having to force ourselves to push onwards through the baking heat and uneven coral covered sands, we were having Rinjani flashbacks, the same feeling of just having to push onwards through the heat and the pain.

Making our way back eventually, we boarded the afternoon boat and begun our journey over to Gili Air after a day and a night on Gili Meno, to complete the Hat-Trick of visiting all three islands. I was extremely happy to go back to my favourite Gili and Marie was eager to see what I had been raving about for so long. So under the cooling afternoon sun, we sailed over the sparkling turquoise seas to the final slice of paradise, before re-joining the civilised world once again.

Gili Air

Checking back into the Bamboo Bungalows I had stayed in before, I said hello again to the guys that ran them and then we went over to my favourite restaurant on the island for some amazingly tasty and cheap local food. We decided that, rather than hike around the island as initially planned, due to the gruelling Rinjani climb and the unexpectedly harsh and uncomfortable hike around Gili Meno, that we would use these couple of days to do exactly what the Gili Islands are made for.... doing nothing. We expended as little energy as possible, got as much rest as we could, absorbed as much hammock time as we could and chilled on the beach as much as possible, soaking up the laid back vibe of this amazing place. As it turned out, this was the best thing we could have done.

It would appear that Gili Air is the "Just Right" bowl of porridge which lured Goldilocks into her doom.  Gili Trawangan has almost too much going on, being a lot bigger and a lot more commercial with constant parties pumping out music and a street full of drunken tourists. Gili Meno on the other hand, has not enough going on. No hub, no heart, no centre of activity and as we found out, half the island is out of bounds for swimming or snorkelling. Gili Air however, is just right. While all three Islands are a perfect slice of Paradise, Gili Air is a perfect balance of nothingness and somethingness. A perfect atmosphere and a perfect balance of desert island isolation mixed with just enough modern conveniences to feel comfortable. Although after three weeks of salt water showers, i was definitely looking forward to a freshwater shower and finally feeling clean again.

I spent my last day in paradise, in the only way which seemed fit, by having a beer on a sun lounger on the beach under the blazing sunshine. It was a beautiful day, so peaceful and relaxing, giving me a perfect final memory of one of the nicest places on this planet that I have ever been. Goodbye Gili Islands, you have given me so much and I will always remember the three weeks of near perfection which I have spent here.

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