Sunday, May 22, 2011

Gili Trawangan Part 1

After a good night’s sleep we were both bright eyed and bushy tailed The drive to the dock from our beach was much more peaceful than the trip from the airport to our beach, and I didn’t fear for my safety once. We purchased our tickets from the counter and then it was hurry up and wait for the fast boat to be ready for departure.
A couple of cups of coffee later, we were on our way to the boat. Karen and I were the first on board and secured seats at the back for the two hour water trip to Gili Trawangan , or Gili T as it is commonly referred to. We anchored a few meters from shore and had to jump into the surf up to or knees, holding our bags above our heads as we sloshed on to the beach.
It was hotter than a stove top in hell and we were sweating immediately. We made our way to a café next to the beach to get a drink and some lunch. This was the first of our unplanned days and we had no place to stay. After lunch, Karen suggested I stay put while she scouted out some possible accommodation for the evening. When it is as hot as it was on this particular day, Karen knows that I am liable to take the very first place we look at so we can dump our luggage and begin to relax. She rented a bicycle and took off, leaving me to a book and some cold beer. I would stay there for two hours.
Karen returned, red-faced and dripping with sweat. She had pedaled the length of the beach stopping at every hotel along the way, only to hear the same response. “sorry we full today”. We had made the mistake of arriving on the afternoon of a full moon party to be held on the beach that night. There was hope, however, as she had heard there were some vacancies in the other direction at a place called Ozzie Beach Bungalows. After a short breather, she made her way to the opposite end of the beach to look into this rumour. I bid her goodbye once again as she hopped on her squeaky bicycle and disappeared down the road.
Gili T is known for it’s quaintness and laid back nature. The first and most obvious aspect of this is the fact that there are no motorized vehicles on the island and even the taxis are horse drawn. The other thing that you notice right away are the sheer amount of beautiful people walking around half naked. I am talking about perfect little packages of well-tanned humanity. It doesn’t do a lot for the self esteem of a fat, old bastard like me to be surrounded by so many young, fit and attractive people. I suppose that is why the good Lord created alcohol.
I was well into my cups when Karen returned with the good news that there was indeed, room at the Inn. I finished my beer and hopped into a horse drawn buggy with our luggage and Karen following behind on her bicycle. Twenty minutes later we were shown to our bungalow. It was a comfortable bed and nice bathroom. The only problem, which we were to learn was an island wide scenario, was salt water showers. Oh, and the bathroom was actually outside.
We settled in quickly and hit the beach. There was much disappointment to follow as the beach, while pretty, was composed of a combination of rough sand and razor sharp pieces of coral. The difficulty of walking on the beach was further compounded by a vicious current that pushed you around like old Vietnamese women at a bread counter. This was bad news indeed. After tearing our feet up for a little while, we decided to call it quits and grab a drink at one of the many beachfront bars and café’s. Karen had to return the bike that she had rented for only three hours, so she left to do that, while I found a table and ordered a drink. No more than five minutes after sitting down and Karen leaving, the skies opened up and a massive wind hit the island. It rained heavily for an hour and Karen showed up in a horse taxi about twenty minutes into the storm. We waited out the weather at the café and then decided to check out the rest of the island.
Our age interfered with a long night of DJ’s on the beach for the full moon party and we ended up having a bit of bar-b-que and a few more drinks taking in the sunset. Karen used an internet café to book our remaining days on Gili T at a resort called Hotel Villa Ombak. We would have one night in our little bungalow and then enjoy the rest of our stay in relative luxury at a fairly affordable price. Once again the sun, travel and drink wore us down and we were in our room and ready for bed by ten PM. We slept peacefully through the raging Full Moon party that went until 5am the next morning. It is a sad state of affairs as just a few short years ago I would have been one of those stumbling sacks, walking zombie like off of the beach as the sunrise chased me to my bed. Old age is a hateful bitch.


No comments: