Saturday, July 18, 2009

Indonesia - Gili Islands

Gili Air

After being in Bali for a few days I decided that this was the life!! I had planned on spending a week in Bali and then was supposed to be in Darwin for 6 days before heading to Alice Springs. I figured that it was cheaper to stay in Bali then expensive Darwin, so I changed my flights so that I had an extra three days! This also meant that we had more time to explore Indonesia and so decided to head to the Gili Islands off Lombok. There are three islands that make up Gili which are Trawangan - the more lively island, Meno, the more laid back island, and then Air - a mixture of the two. We decided to stay on Gili Air, for a total of three nights, and each day we would spend on a different island, going back to Gili Air to sleep. I wasn't in the mood to pack up my stuff on a daily basis and move islands. We had to take a shuttle bus from Ubud to the town of Padangbai where we then caught a boat over to the islands. The boat journey was 5 hours with an hour bus ride to . We left Ubud at 11:30 and arrived on Gili Air, the last one of course, around 6:30 - at which time is was dark out. Warwick wasn't too impressed....I on the other hand, wasn't overly concerned. The boat journey was great, there where two decks, with indoor and outdoor seating, and on the top deck, was a section of sand where you could lay out mats and towels and sun tan. This is where I spent most of my afternoon reading and listening to 'toons on my Ipod! We traveled a bunch of the way up the north coast of Bali and got some beautiful views of the volcano. We also saw a piece of lava rock that was still blowing out smoke, so very cool!

One of the many cool things about these islands is that there are no motorized vehicles on the islands, only bicycles and horse and carriage's, AKA, Cidomo's. Now when we arrived, we knew where we wanted to stay, but it was a fair ways up from the jetty. We decided to catch one of these Cidomo's and get to our and sound. The driver took a short cut, great, however it included going through pitch black sections where we could not see where we were going, I felt like I was in the movie Sleepy Hollow!! We arrived about 10-15 minutes later, and in just that short amount of time, and being in close proximity of the horse, I was wheezy and had swollen and blood shot eyes - lovely. I took a couple puffs of my Ventolin, and reluctantly took a benadryl - only because they knock me out cold, and was feeling better fairly quickly. We had not had supper so we found the closest restaurant and had a bit to eat. The bungalow we stayed at, wasn't the greatest, but it did have two beds and a large bathroom, not necessarily clean, but large. I let Warwick have the double bed as he still wasn't feeling great and I took the single. The beds also had mossie nets - so I set up my 'bug free zone', and am glad I did as I found a roach crawl out of my pack that I left open for no more the 10 minutes while I showered - ewwwwwwww. I actually only saw two roaches the whole three nights, but still, yuck! The room did have a hammock outside which I enjoyed while I reading my book!

So, the first morning, after being woken up by the roosters, and having an omelet, fruit and tea for breakfast, we set off to explore the island of Gili Air. Gili Air is the second smallest of the three islands and has a population of about 1000. We walked around the entire island, making stops of course to swim, sun tan, eat and of course....drink!! If we walked without stopping it would take no more then 90 minutes to circle the entire island! The water was amazing, crystal clear, refreshing and calm. Well, not all of the spots where calm, there can be wicked rips that come in as well as fast current, so you had to be careful where you swam! That day was also my birthday, and it was an awesome one at that. I lazed around and did, well, not much! We had lunch at a reggae bar, and of course I had a beer! We found this amazing restaurant for dinner, which we ended up going back to each night we where there because it was so good. For my birthday dinner we had: popcorn as an appetizer - on the house, and garlic bread, fish, veggies and curry, and for dessert I had fried banana ice cream with chocolate sauce, all for less then $6!! They normally have cake for dessert, again, on the house, but not that day as they had no electricity to cook it! And of course I had a couple beer with my meal, but again, Warwick was still not feeling great and didn't have anything to drink, so we headed back to the room and I was in bed by 10:30pm!! Oh well, it was still an amazing day in paradise

On the boat to Gili Air, Volcano on Bali
Still active!!
On the boat next to the Indonesian flag
Just steps away from our balcony
Stopped here for lunch. 
One of our swimming spots
Real wood fire pizza!

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