Saturday, June 2, 2012

indonesia - lombok - gili trawangan 2012

Gili Trawangan 2012


The plane was delayed 5 hours in Maumere Flores to Denpasar, Bali. They did not charge me for my surfboard as compensation. My foot was sore. Five hours was a test of my endurance so I stayed in a VIP lounge. Beige walls, beige lounges and chairs, beige curtains…one person’s heaven is another person’s hell.
I finally arrived at Denpasar and Nyoman was there to pick me up and take me to the Grand Kumala hotel. I spent the rest of the day wandering around in small doses as I couldn’t walk for too long. By the evening, I thought I needed to be somewhere easy, pretty, flat, bike hire, good food… Gili Trawangan! I booked a ticket and pick up for the following morning. I then rang around and eventually found accommodation at Quiet Water Park Hotel in Gili Trawangan.  I spent the rest of the evening, sitting on the beach, drinking cocktails and eating. It was then back for some pain killers and sleep. Too easy!
In the morning all was going to plan…picked up on time, comfortable drive, boarded the Gili cat for Gili Trawangan, smooth ride, no problems on arrival and someone from the hotel met me halfway and carried my gear. Too easy!



I settled into the room. It had fan, aircon, comfortable bed, frig and tv. I arranged a bike for the week at 30 000 rupiah per day. I was the only person in the hotel, though a couple stayed there for a night a few days later. Too easy!
 he owner was a pleasant lady in her fifties came from Lombok mainland. She spoke no English but I managed to find out that her husband had passed away, she had two children (both at university), she lived in a small hut at the back of the village while on GT, she liked to go dancing and went to the all night parties. Generally, it was a nice place to stay.
I spent a lot of time on the bike and walked only short distances. My foot liked that! Snorkelling was an okay activity as well as I wasn’t putting any weight on my foot. So I spent a lot of time swimming and snorkelling. Most days I’d snorkelled for a while north of the pier and just off the beach and drift along with the current. The coral was okay and there were fish.  While snorkelling, one had to keep regular vigilance for boats motoring to shore. They seemed to be unaware that people were snorkelling.
The bike was the best part of the stay. I cycled around and through the island a few times, sometimes leisurely and once to see how fast I could do it.
I met lots of people, which is a big part of the fun.
Lots of big and small adventures happened so I’ll relive a few that stick in my mind the most.
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I went on a snorkelling trip around the islands for the day. It was pretty good and enjoyable. There were nice people on the boat and everyone was in a good mood. While we were snorkelling at Gili Air. A lady on our boat noticed that a guy from another boat was in trouble. I noticed that he seemed very exhausted and was being dragged along and over the reef by the swift current. There were two people helping but they were making no headway. No one form the other boat was doing anything. The crew were watching but doing nothing.

 I put on my snorkel gear and swam over to the guy. His helpers were looking tired too. I told them to swim back to their boat as soon it would be three people needing rescue. The guy was incoherent, big and exhausted. It took awhile but I managed to get him close enough to his boat so they could throw him a rope and pull him in the rest of the way. Good deed for the day done!
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The guesthouse was quiet but straight opposite was another guesthouse. There was one lady staying there from Lombok. I met her one morning while about to go on a bike ride. She wasn’t a tourist and didn’t live on the island but she was here working on the island. ‘Oh, are you working in one of the restaurants?’
‘Not really’
 ‘One of the shops?’
‘Not really’
 ‘What do you do?’
‘You know… with a coy smile.  
To be honest I was baffled. Why would I know?’ No. I don’t know’. She did a few hand gestures and I said, ‘ah. I know. Sorry, I’m going for a bike ride.’
She must have had good hearing or I’m very noisy as every morning she was there to meet me the moment I stepped out the hotel. She was persistent to say the least. I just kept ‘acting’ thick. Anyway, on my last morning she dressed up quite nicely and joined me to share a pot of tea. She told me her story.
 She lived on Lombok mainland, her husband had left her (she was glad as he use to hit her), she had a young daughter who was being looked after by her mother , she missed her daughter a great deal, she worked the bars and parties for work and when she had enough money she returns home. She was an interesting and nice person. I didn’t envy her work but one must do what one must do.
Still being persistent her final words centred on cleaning my house in Australia and ‘you know’.


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While cycling around, I noticed the signs for ‘magic mushrooms’. I felt that it would be good for my foot so I tried it for medicinal purposes. I went back to my room slightly paranoid of the upcoming effects! About 20 minutes later, I started to feel that adrenalin was pumping through my body. I needed to do something. A minute later, I was on the bike and cycling at a breakneck pace around the island. Previously, I took care going through the sandy parts but this time I had a record to make. The bike was writhing unpredictably through the soft sand but I managed to stay on. I passed a number of people who called out to me ‘hati-hati’ but I was relentless. Eventually, I was on the strip leading through the ‘urbanised area’. I passed a window front and the reflection was a shirtless guy, dripping with sweat and splattered with sand. Not a pretty sight! 



Back at the room, I showered and eventually returned to the land of the normal. I rang my wife to tell her the story in retrospect. I thought she would be proud of my bike time but she said I was an idiot. Where’s the support???
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One morning, I met and chatted to a guy. He was one of those noble human beings of this planet. He was scruffy looking but his story was one of kindness. He travelled a lot going from place to place helping people. He presently was looking after a friend hotel, fixing things and sorting out all sorts of problems for free. He was on his way to Bali to babysit, while another friend was in hospital. He spends two months of the year teaching English for free in poor areas. The list went on and on. He spoke fondly of his wife, eventual he told me she passed away a few years ago. His final words ‘live life being good to others and enjoying them as they may be there for only a short time!

I haven’t written too much on this guy but I have been greatly impressed by his exploits and inspired to lead a similar life but I’m just a tad too selfish to be that good.
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A tradition on GT is to go the south of the island and watch the glorious sunset. I cycled down ordered a beer and sat at a table enjoying the view and activities. The closer to sunset the more the crowd grew (but not too much) and people seemed to let go a little and were running, jumping and skipping along the beach. It was heaps of fun to watch. The sunset was magnificent!


A guy on the table next to me read a book the whole time. Must have been a good book!
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After a week, it was time to move on back to Legian, meet my wife and daughter at the airport and wander off to Padangbai.

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