We're in Gili Air.
East of Bali, off the coast of Lombok.
It’s gorgeous. Total tropical paradise.
Not many people here.
So we rented bikes - $2 a day - in Yahuuut.
(yes, 3 u’s! I wonder - what is the story on THAT?)
Needed bikes to explore the island and find some place to stay.
Came across Island View Bungalows on the quiet windward side of the island.
Bungalows - lovely gardens - privacy. Little wooden shelters on the beach to drink beer and watch the sun set. A sleepy bar, and a bevy of young men from Lombok who couldn’t be more helpful or friendly.
Breakfast comes with the room. Served anywhere we like.
On our balcony, at the beach, in the bar -
|The "main road" goes through Island View Bungalows.|
In the first 5 minutes, I see a LARGE lizard, maybe 4-5 feet long, with a long forked tongue. Not at ALL like an iguana - crawling through the garden near our bungalow. My first Komodo-style dragon! Although I think it’s a monitor lizard. Which I guess a Komodo dragon is, too.
It slid under one of the bungalows. -Glad it's not ours.
|Our bungalow. A/C. Hammock on the balcony. On the beach. $42.|
There are no cars on the island, so no need for roads.
No cars, no motorcycles, no dogs.
|"Downtown" Gili Air.|
This is the main road.
There are tracks - and trails - for bicycles and horse carts.
Even our scuba equipment is transferred by horse cart.
We got on our bikes and explored the island. It isn’t big.
It's only about 2 hours’ walk in total circumference.
It’s gorgeous, almost empty, not expensive.
I think it might be rainy season.
There is a mosque and a school in the middle, and about 3-4 villages.
They’re simple places. Everyone says hello.
Women wear scarves or more. It’s a Moslem island.
The tourists - mostly young backpackers - are on the edges, at the beaches.
The locals all live in the interior, in the villages.
Gili Air is one of 3 tiny Indonesian islands.
At some point, I got a call from Kilian - “Are you ok?”
I had no idea there’d been a 7.8 earthquake off the coast of Sumatra.
|No sign of any earthquake here...|
I told him we'd been invited to a "trance" party on the beach tonight by a gang of young travelers. Most of the visitors to Gili Air are young backpackers. It's firmly on the "Banana Pancake Trail". Complete with mushroom shakes and all that.
(Magic mushrooms grow wild here. They even put them on pizzas.)
Tonight - or early tomorrow am - is apparently a full solar eclipse.
However - we decline - a cold shower and a glass of wine in our air-conditioned room just sounds SO much more appealing! We'll get up early to see the eclipse.
So here we are tonight in our new “feng shui” room, under the mosquito net, which gives it all a privacy and intimacy that’s kinda cool. I have with me inside the net: My Kindle, phone, and computer - and an almost empty glass of Bintang beer.
|The boats - including dive boats - are often handcrafted outriggers.|
The food in Indonesia so far has been good: Nasi Goreng, Mei Goreng, Gado-Gado.
Spices and noodles and rice and chilies.
Not a lot of choices, but it’s filling and good.
Most restaurants on the island are about the same, pretty simple but lovely, little bamboo platforms out on the beach.
Tonight, had gin and tonics and Greek salad and spring rolls and satay - what international fare!
Dinner main course is about 35,000 for something Indonesian (less than $3) and up - for fancy stuff. Wine is very pricey here - we’re trying to stick to beer. But the local beer is good.
It's month 4 of our SE Asian trip.
We've been playing it by ear for the last 3 months.
|Good-bye to all our Island View friends...|