ISLAND HOPING UP AND DOWN GILLI ISLANDS TRAWAGWAN, MENO AND AIR.
The hour and 30 minute speed boat ride getting to the islands was hands down the most excruciating experience ever! The air conditioning didn't work,no ventilation and all the compartments smelled heavily of petrol! An original health and safety disaster waiting to happen if there ever was one.You know that boat ride to see Hades? I'm sure that was some first class shit compared to that nonsense.
We all looked like hell once we got dropped off to shore.The beach,was very chaotic and loud with propellers,people and horse carriages draped in bells and ornaments making for a very disorienting scene .I hadn't recovered from the motion sickness when I found myself jumping off the boat and landed straight into the luggage!
Have you ever tried to lug a suitcase through sand? you'll have better luck building Rome in a day.
Finding a carriage,the only other means of transportation besides bicycles was proving difficult,it being Holy Friday and all, most locals were dealing with that.As we waited I took the time to look round and take in my surroundings.
Gilli Trawagwan or Gilli T for short is pretty dirty with a heavy horse odor going on. No manure anywhere though,the owners clearly have that handledIed.I found it hard to appreciate the beautiful blue ocean.We did finally get a carriage,I'm guessing we got overcharged for it but at the point we didn't care,we just wanted to get the hell out of dodge.
Oh the poor ponies! I couldn't help but feel for them.The journey took a couple of minutes before we found our accommodation,Panda Hostel.The friendly guy at reception showed us where to go and had some of the guys there help us with our luggage.The first thing in sight is the pool,I couldn't wait to be one with it!
The rooms were alright,bathroom could have been cleaner though,the drainage was the stuff of nightmares!Definitely not as nice as Alas Green.
We got into the pool which felt divine and contemplated what to do next.We decided to go grab lunch along the strip and look into booking snorkeling.The area is very remote with a few locals living here along with some nice villas and hostels,very different contrast to Ubud.Also a gajillion chickens everywhere,you know what that means.....chicken poop smell
We grabbed lunch at Laguna beach resort settling for burgers all round.I had a prawn tempura starter,the most wonderfully fresh and beautifully cooked dish. The burgers were a bit cold but I found mine delicious.We then walked around using ATMs ,booked afternoon snorkeling for the next day and went about looking for bars to go out at night.One local suggested Rudy's. It's supposed to be a banging club!
We headed back to hostel to shower and get dolled up for our first night in this town that quite frankly wasn't exactly doing it for me,Hattie and Sammie.I was pretty over it after a few hours,to think we had 5 whole days here just irked me out!
At the hostel we met some of the other guys staying there.These 3 German guys who pretty much just stayed at the hostel all day smoking weed and partaking mushrooms ( over here magic mushrooms are legal as opposed to everywhere else in Indonesia.They even serve mushroom milkshakes!) going out rarely.
Strange in my book but to each their own I guess We also met this lovely Canadian couple,Andy and Harlene,two Argentinian doctors who made it clear they were on holiday and as such we should have our medical emergencies very far away!they were joking of course,or so I like to think! And some other guys who I don't particularly remember.
The German guys invited us to have drinks with them after dinner to which we accepted.We walked along the strip looking for a place to eat,eventually settling on Malawa Restaurant.Really good food and ambience.We figured we'd hit this place a few more times.
Trying to buy some liquor and failing for whatever reason,we went back to the hostel and joined the group that had settled in the front room for pre drinks,we all got to chatting and exchanging stories for about an hour,which was great .We finally decided to hit the strip scene soon after.
We hit up Ombok bar first.The music was good for the first 20 minutes but then got very Macklemore esque so we left to check out Rudy's.It was jam packed, playing house music,which is typically my type of jam but there's just something about Rudy's that wasn't working. We walked back to Ombok which was packed tighter than sardines in a can at that point.
We danced outside for a bit,and at 1am,called it at day.I did hope Gilli T would improve because it was killing my soul and general vibe thus far.
For day 2,we had snorkeling to look forward to and after an incredibly disappointing breakfast that had me thinking Basil will be germinating from my pits any day now,we went to the mosque which is the meeting point to pick up the snorkeling gear. I couldn't find flippers that fit me so I opted out on them and instead got a life vest.I have a very,some might call healthy respect or fear for the ocean.I need to be able to see the bottom which is why I don't mess with lakes,just sinister darkness at the bottom waiting to happen.
We set off at 1:30 pm.We would be doing 3 spots,2 a little further off Gilli T and then Gilli Air for lunch and a final snorkel.I won't lie I was scared shitless! Which is why after a really half assed attempt on my part,I chickened out and decided I'd do the second and third legs.
I took the time to take photos and really appreciate how beautiful and blue this ocean is! I don't think it's fair to compare the waters of Zanzibar with these because they are uniquely beautiful in their own right..
For the second leg,I jumped in with the girls and once I got over the initial crippling fear,I'll have you know ,I did great!
Hattie and Sammy were there to help me along the whole way,and Hattie held my hand most if the way.We saw the most magnificent coral reefs. One of the boat guys had mentioned over the passed 10 years the once tropical like coral had since shrunk and lost some of its luster. I wouldn't have guessed it because what was down below was incredible!
Also,Turtles!!!!Giant green turtles just minding their business eating coral at the bottom!Since I didn't have flippers,I had to really put my back into it,my body was killing me but I was enjoying myself immensely to care.Luckily the fatigue settled in towards the end.
We got dropped off at Gilli Air,the other of the 3 Gilli Islands .We had lunch at the Ceria bar that was very badly portioned,soggy and an all round disappointing meal that wasn't worth what we paid really! After an hour we went back to the boat,did the final snorkel bit in clearer but choppy waters for a brief time.
It was about 5pm when we concluded the day,it was getting colder and the waves rougher by the minute.We got back,sticky as hell,tired but all together very happy.we decided it being a Saturday we would get all glittered up and hit the town shimmering,Hattie did elaborate designs on our faces and shoulders,finishing them up with bindis on our foreheads.
We looked like we'd had the most epic 4 way with a unicorn!
The gang at the hostel were staying in as they'd been mushrooming it up all day,their usual activity,so we said goodbye and we were off.
We had dinner at The Viking Bar and Restaurant along the strip that did both Swedish and Indonesian cuisine.The food was great,cocktails plentiful and the music in the background had my Shazam working overtime.
See this is the thing about this damn island,one minute I hate it and want to leave immediately,then it turns around and mesmerizes me with epic nights and good food,like a boyfriend that infuriates the hell out of you then turns around and is the best human ever,so exhausting!
Now it was time to dance! We went by Lava bar which was on fire! So we hit that first,and danced to some oldie but goodies,it was great with everyone dancing and hitting the ground ass first!some girls asked about the glitter thinking it was a service on the island,no babes,we came prepared!
Then the music went strange,back street boys circa 2000, and some other songs I thankfully forgot.The situation wasn't helped by some huge beast of a man with a Winnie the Pooh foot tattoo elbowing me in my central spine every two minutes! Still numb from snorkeling I didn't really feel it but non the less,some people have no dance floor etiquette!
Since the music turned crappy,we left for Sama Sama Reggae bar that was having a good old ho down.Apparently,every day has a different bar throwing a party,last night was Ruby's,tonight was Sama Sama.It's a large space with with a stage,dance area and upstairs area. We got drinks and settled in enjoying the live band act, they were good I must say,they played till about midnight at which point the DJ took over and just lit that dance floor up,we danced our asses off!The tequila flowed and butts shook.
I figured the party was winding down when suddenly,a rock band got on and oh my God,We went ape shit for it,it was like being at a live concert of sorts!We screamed along with the lead singer and shook our hair and danced!This night was everything! The band stopped at 2 am ish,and we too called it a night,
We stopped along the way so I could get me a Kebab,a first for me, that was delicious,I'm sure some glitter had fallen in it on the way home but I wolfed it all down!I was literally going to be walking around with a bejeweled colon,good times!
It was good day with an even more epic night! Perhaps this Gilli T thing would work out after all.
A SUNSET LIKE NO OTHER.
It being a sunday and with the night out before,we had a proper lie in,I didn't bother getting up till about half 10 and after lazing about for a good 3 hours more,we set out in search of brunch.There had been talk of cycling but of course I can't ride a bicycle and now was not the time to learn,Hattie suggested a Tandem bike which I muled over but ultimately decided it was best I stayed off one entirely.
We went back to M restaurant where the food was even more delicious than the previous experience! Really great!
For the rest of the day we would be checking out the right side of the beach which Annelie said had the most epic sun set ever.It's a good 20 to 35 minute walk to that side.I have to say,this trip has been walk central ,which I really like,I feel like I'm getting some good exercise after all the meals,my calf muscles are a sight to behold!Go tell your brothers!
This side of the beach is a lot more relaxed,dare I say more posh even? it's got lots of villa hotels and a few shops here and there.We settled for the Pandawa villas and resort.
The beach is beautiful but not necessarily easy to maneuver,it's lined with coral everywhere and the sand is a lot courser than anything I've experienced!The water however is beyond beautiful.It was extremely hot! If it wasn't for the constant breeze I don't think I would have lasted as long as I did.
At some point,Hattie and I wandered off to get a cold drink popping into the resort which is very nice,thing is though It reeked of sewage,I don't know if a pipe burst or something but damn!
The prices were nothing short of obscene and down right ridiculous so we left and went to Maha Garden Hotel,they had a rock band playing,Thinking about it,there's a lot of great talent out here,I'm extremely impressed!I had a milkshake and lay in a really comfortable hammock before heading back to Panadawa for the sunset.
I'll say this,I've seen sunsets everywhere,sometimes daily,I've seen them extra special cause i was high as a kite,I've seen them in different countries and what have you but I swear,I have never seen a sunset like I saw that day!I feel like It went on for ages as well,I can see how people come from all over for this sunset!
I was envious of the couples! I'd love to do this on a romantic setting!you would too! I got some great shots off dear old Canon and once the glorious event was done,we went in search of dinner.
Now I think there's a general sewage issue out here cause some of the toilets Sammy and I checked out were disastrous to say the least! Horrible experience we totally could have gone without,it's like there was this lone poo bandit just letting it rip along all the Loos on that side of the beach!
After trying several restaurants in vain,we headed back to Maha Garden and what do you know, the band was still playing! They did about 3 more songs before leaving,the lead singer told us they were heading off to do a gig at a bar by the harbor.
Would have been nice to go but it was going to be a chilled night back at the hostel after dinner Dinner was delicious,this resort is a good one, their toilets were acceptable .
We called it a night and headed back to the hostel.We decided we'd go paddle boarding the next day and so retired for the night.
PADDLE BOARDING FAILS
Monday saw us do paddle boarding but before that we wondered about the street,checking out different shops and buying some souvenirs along the way.
The ATMs out here are a bit dodgy with some of them swallowing people's cards but luckily we found a good on!We had drinks at the Viking Bar and an hour later we went to paddle,
So I didn't really know what I was expecting but yeah those surf boards are heavy as hell!The guy we hired them from helped us on and I got onto with relative ease and an incredible amount of sand up my crack.My damn paddle kept going to the right,away from the others,I ended up colliding with this tether rope which hurt a bit but I managed to maneuver away,
A guy in one of the boats showed me how to use the oar correctly,something I think the instructor should have done and I ended up heading back to shore easily,getting that thing out was hard!But I prevailed,I was in there maximum 12 minutes and quite frankly,it was enough.Shortly Hattie came to shore as well as she too had struggled.She had a few cuts from the coral,the sands out here are damn near weaponized!
We waddled about a bit but the waves slapped us right back to square one,we must have looked like right idiots but hey,it's was a lot of fun.After a final failed attempt with the Paddle,we gave up and left Sammy and Annelie to their thing.
Hattie and I went back to the hostel proper bruised and scratched but I guess injury on this island is a given at some point .We spent most of the afternoon in that divine pool! The other girls joined us and the three of them decided to go back to the other island for the sunset again.
The were cycling there so I stayed behind,which was fine cause I feel like What I'd seen yesterday was epic enough to last me a little while longer.
We had dinner at Laguna Beach Resort again,the service is here is pretty slow which sucked cause we were thirsty and ravenous,The girls were not happy about it but as one who experiences this type of treatment in Uganda on a regular basis,it was just another night.nothing new.Then it was time to party!
We walked to this epic beer pong place but this guy Hattie met suggested we go to Jiggy bar and boat party.Really cool club,I did notice though,all the times we've been out,the clubs have the same playlist going,like there's one DJ or MP3 file going on,it works anyway,people were dancing and getting drunk so that's all that mattered.
We got the beer pong station set up,Hattie and &I on one side and Sammy and Annelie on the other,funny game,our side one,how I'll never know cause I sucked!After Jiggy we headed up the way we came and came across The Blue Marlin,which was throwing the party of the day.
The next morning,our last day in Gilli,a relief really as I'd had just about enough beach sand to last me forever! After a quick breakfast at the hostel,we set out for Gilli Meno,we'd booked a return speed boat for the day,departing at midday,It took us about 10 minutes max to get there,This Island is very remote and quiet in an eerie sense.I didn't particularly like it.the heat was on one as well!
We inquired from a restaurant how to get to the Turtle sanctuary,one of the main reasons we were here,it was a hardcore nearly 35 minute walk,On the way we saw from a poster on a tree that we had missed the turtle releasing ceremony that morning,awww it would have been very Nat Geographic like seeing the baby turtles scatter off into the ocean,
Oh well,we got to the beach and decided to have lunch,which turned into a 2 hour debacle due to understaffing.After lunch we walked about 10 kilometers to the turtle place and sort of stumbled on it,
Now I don't know what I was expecting,but it wasn't this! I mean I thought it was some building or structure or something.It was literally a few glass ponds showcasing the turtles,cute little things by the way.There's an exact same structure back on Gilli T we go passed everyday. Very disappointing.
We then found a nice shaded bit of beach and after sea shell hunting,lay down.i had me the best power nap ever.it was really nice listening to the waves and watching that ever bright shade of blue the ocean has going on.Very relaxing.
Two hours later,with the boat scheduled to pick us up at 5:30,we went back to the beach and got the boat back to the hostel.
After the crazy night out before and a long day walking,we decided to stay in that night,Annelie and Sammy picked up Kebabs and fries and we had a nice little dinner going.Eventually our time on Gilli Tarawangan came to an end! I couldn't wait for Seminyak .Dragging my suitcase onto the beach wasn't that hard this time round but the stupid boat was late however,by an hour.
We stood in the scorching sun until it came,then we all piled on like cattle destined for the market.Luckily this time round the air conditioning was working,so was the Telly,Captain America Civil War was on.
The somewhat 2 hour boat ride was very choppy,Hattie and Annelie went to the top deck.I don't know about Annelie but Hattie had a miserable time,getting soaking wet and battered about,
She said the situation was pretty scary as well as a number of times it did look like we might capsize or something! We finally got to the harbor at about haif 3.
The shuttle service that came with renting the speed boat would have taken about 4 hours to get us to Seminyak,an obvious no so we got ourselves a taxi and were off.......
Gilli was a mix of emotions I'll say but In the end a good beach experience,that sun set was like no other,food was good and we did make some good memories.x