Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Gili Islands

After the swell dropped in Lombok, we decided to take a vacation from our vacation by heading to the Gili Islands.  There are three islands off the northwest coast of Lombok, about an hour's ferry ride away.  We chose to go to the largest island, Gili Trawajangan.  There's not a whole lot to do on the island except relax, snorkel, and go diving.  On the ride over, we met a Dutch guy named Jordick, who we spent the next six days with.  Jordick is traveling in Indonesia for two months and had some interesting stories to share.  One story involved him ending up sleeping in a bed with three other Javanese men on the big island of Java.  He told us he arrived into a small town late one night without a place to stay so a friendly Indonesian invited him to stay at his house.  Jordick accepted and endured what he said was one of the most awkard night's of his life.  Nothing bad happened, but the thought of 6 foot 4 Jordick sleeping in the sweltering heat with three other really short men was hilarious to us.  He said he barely slept, but he got up the next morning and thanked them for their hospitality.

Gili is probably even more beautiful than Lombok and the water is crystal clear.  A few interesting things about Gili:

-There are no dogs, only cats.
-All the showers you take are with salt water.
-There are no cars or motorized vehicles; only horse drawn carts, bare feet, and bicycles.
-There are no police on the island so any problems must be reported to the village chief.   

We planned on spending 3 days in Gili, but ended up staying for a week.  We went diving one day and snorkeling another, but that's about the most energy we spent the entire time.  Since Jed isn't certified to dive and it had been 5 years since my last dive, we took a refresher course to refamiliarize ourselves (Jed has gone diving multiple times in Australia, so he wasn't too worried).  The dive was pretty fun, but probably not the best, despite the guidebook's claim of Gili being one of the best dive spots in the world. Others have told us that Bali is actually better, but enjoyed the dive anyway.  The rest of the time we spent laying around doing absolutely nothing and the most stress we had was deciding where to eat lunch and dinner -- which was painfully cheap. I figured Gili would cost us a lot more money, but we found some cheap digs to stay in only a few steps from the water AND it included a free banana pancake breakfast -- all for a measly 5 dollars a night.  Despite the somewhat arduous trek to reach Gili, there were a good many tourists on the island, but we didn't mind too much since we'd been away from much civilization in Lombok.   

There's not too much else to report on Gili since we spent most of our time relaxing.   We eventually decided to part ways with our friend Jordick and head back to Lombok to surf.  I was torn between surfing and going with Jordick to see the Komodo dragons on Komodo Island, but I figure I can always see the dragons on National Geographic so we decided to head back to Kuta, Lombok.

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