Indonesia #1: Gili Islands

Christmas, 2009

The next day is spent traveling to Sengiggi, the beautiful port town en route to the Gili Islands, where we will spend Christmas. After a horrible five hour ferry and three different van/buses, we are dropped off at a tourist center (surprise surprise), where they try to sell us a trekking tour. We haggle for almost two hours, before I realize they are ripping us off. We go next door to another tourist center to check prices and the man I was previously talking to begins yelling at the other people in Indonesian, and there was a big panic and a lot of scared people. Everyone was shouting and at this point, Mj and I decide to just go have dinner.

We leave everyone behind, and eat at a restaurant, where we meet two Indonesian boys and play cards with them. After learning the card game in five minutes, they begin kicking our butts and that’s when I decide its time to go to sleep. We head home, book the trekking tour to Mt. Rinjani (the worst idea ever…note the ominous tone), and get ready for the Gili Islands!

We wake up early, head to another shady port town where we wait two hours  for our boat to the Gili Islands and try to ward off the many sketch people at this border town. We meet Erika and Barry, a Brit couple who are traveling for 2 years, and who we end up hanging out with for most of our time on the island.

The entire time we’ve been in Bali, its been rainy and overcast, but for some reason, the Gili Islands are in their own little bubble. After a mere 30 minute longtail boat ride from the rainy Lombok, the weather is brilliant and sunny on Gili Trawangan (aka Gili Tralalala), one of the the three Gili islands.

Gili islands!

December 25, Merry Christmas from Gili Tralala! Is there any better way to spend Christmas day then lying out at one of the most beautiful beaches in the world? I wake up early, find our bathroom “door” (I use the word “door” lightly, it’s really just a few shingles) torn down by a drunken Mj, from the previous evening.

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I lie out by the beach for several hours, returning home to find Mj still in bed, nursing quite a bad Christmas Eve hangover. While Mj is in bed, I decide to explore the island by walking the entire perimeter (small island, so this shouldn’t take very long). I don’t get too far before I meet Ryan, an American lawyer vacationing in Indonesia. I end up spending the day snorkeling (sea tortoises and fish galore!), and eating dinner with Ryan.

The next day, Mj and I have a fantastic snorkeling adventure, after consuming a magic shake; unclear which part of the snorkeling was more magical, the shake’s effects or the wildlife! At one point, I saw a bright blue and silver,very majestic looking water snake. My first thought was “Wow, this is so cool”. Then, the snake looked right at me, and my next thought was “Oh my god, get out. Get out. Get out”, and I swam as fast as I could until I was out of the water. Pretty sure brightly colored water snakes are some of the most poisonous sea creatures in the ocean.

Sea snake

On our way home, we meet Juliana, a Brazilian businesswoman who invites us to go to the jungle with her in Malaysia. So unfortunate I will be back home in the States by then! Later, we run into the British couple and enjoy the sunset and our last dinner on the island with them.

You see why I'm upset I couldn't join Juliana in Malaysia?

Next up: Trekking Mt. Rinjani, a 12,000 ft active volcano in Indonesia.


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