Thursday, April 4, 2013

Bali to Gili Air

After Tim's conference ended, we began our journey from the southern tip of Bali to a small chain of islands off the northwest corner of Lombok (the next island over), the Gilis.  The Gilis are three tiny islands known for their laid back vibe, good diving, and lack of cars and motorbikes.  We made reservations to stay on Gili Air, which is sorta the Mama Bear of the 3 Gilis in the sense that it is not reputed to be a party island like Gili Trawangan (or Gili T, as folks refer to it), nor is it the extreme mellowness of Gili Meno, the physically middle island.  More on Gili Air to come in a later post...


We planned to get to the Gilis via a fast boat that promised a 2 hour trip from Bali's Sanur area to Gili Air, crossing the Lombok Strait... that did not quite happen.  Several times during the journey both Tim and I had to breathe deep and remember that this is how Indonesia sometimes works.  I kept thinking to myself, "Gringo! Tranquilo!" like a Nat Geo Adventure channel commercial that makes me laugh every time I see it.

We made it there in one piece eventually, but there were some shenanigans along the way, beginning with the pre-ride waiting around in the hot, hot sun, followed by trying to climb into the bobbing boat amidst rough surf (see the waves and surfers in the distance in the photos above).  After that, there was a long, bumpy, stuffy and hot boat ride that took much longer than expected due to a lengthy stop at Nusa Lembongan and another at Gili T, where we had to disembark and stand on the beach for an hour before a different boat came to take us to our final destination.  Sigh.  All in all, from hotel to hotel, the journey ended up being over 6 hours.  We did see a pod of playful dolphins when crossing the Lombok Strait, though, which helped.

Luckily the stop on Gili T was still a nice introduction to the Gilis, with lovely blue waters and colorful boats (see above).

While we waited, Tim stepped off the beach and onto the main drag to grab us some drinks (yes, beers).  In the 3 minutes he stepped away, he said he was offered pot twice and crystal meth once... I guess that's why Gili T has the party island reputation, although I find it surprising that the drug trade is that brazen in a country that has the death penalty for drug crimes. 

Finally our second boat showed up and we were on our way to Gili Air, which boasts a beautiful view of the mountains of Lombok:

Then we landed on Gili Air (at which point Tim tried to keep things interesting by losing his footing as he climbed off the boat and almost toppling into the water with laptop, iPhone, iPad and passport), grabbed a ride (on a horse and cart!), dumped our crap at our cute little bungalow and had a drink on the beach.  Ahhhhhh.... finally.  Gringo, tranquilo.

1 comment:

  1. Meg left out that I somehow kept my bag mostly dry though I was completely soaked, even my hat. Also, that I then had a minor meltdown and the horse and cart drivers didn't know if they should ask me if I wanted transport!


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