Thursday, June 17, 2010

Gili Monster

Last night, our restaurant caught fire.  I mean this not in metaphorical terms, but quite literally.  A blaze tore across the delicate thatched roof, while workers desperately raced back and forth with buckets of sand and ocean water.  I do not know the rules that govern restaurant commitment.  Though we had placed our initial order for salad and beverages while deeply fawning over their Basque tapas menu, just how deep was our allegiance to Scallywags Restaurant?  We watched the heroic workers finally contain and eliminate the blaze.  We sat at our little romantic table overlooking the ocean, confused at what just happened, also wondering, exactly what became of our Strawberry Parmesan Mixed Green Salad with Vinaigrette dressing.  A server came by, apologized for the fire, and offered us a couple of free Bintang brews.  Kristin and I decided to remain in the fold.  The cold ones were sufficient ransom for the fiery setback.  We were told their fresh seafood barbecue had been destroyed, and the strawberries also sadly perished in the blaze.  The server recommended that we substitute avocados.  We did.  The salad was delicious.  We followed with a mixed tapas platter, finishing with mint chocolate chip ice cream slowly melted by a warm brownie underneath.  I still do not know which was stranger, the fire, or the Basque Tapas menu on an island in the middle of Indonesia.

Our time in the Gilis came to a close today.  We spent 3 days on Gili Trawangan, the largest of the 3 islands.  I took a day off from the blog since the new material generated while living a simple beach existence is anemic.  I am here to entertain and not torture.  No one wants to here about how I had to wear a tshirt while snorkeling because I neglected to apply sunscreen.

Gili T is such an amazing place.  We swam, snorkeled, and sunned in the simple life, all while being taken care of by our fantastic attendants, Eddy and Kipley.  They cooked our breakfasts, ran the more mundane of errands, and always greeted us with a smile.  They were the butlers that came with our house. 

When we arrived back in Bali, we slowly departed our boat, scanning the heads of the crowd for our driver Merde.  If he were to let out a patented Merde cackle, then we would hone in like fruitbats.  There was no sonic delivery.  Finally, at the end of the dock, we found him.  His new haircut and wispy goatee blew gently in the breeze.  He was fanny-packed and ready to go.  He took us west from the sleepy fishing village of Padang Bai, and deep into the centre on Ubud.  Kristin and I jumped off in Ubud, while Ryan and Meagan made a pilgrimage to the beautiful Tanah Lot on the opposite side of the island.  Kristin and I spent plenty of time there last year, so Kristin made an argument that we should just stop off in Ubud.  I later found out that within her request lied an ulterior motive.  Dress shopping in Ubud.

Around sunset, we took in a strange migration that takes place nightly in the small village of Petulu.  At the end of each day, white Herons from all over Bali roost in the high trees of Petulu.  The birds began appearing in 1965 exactly one week following one of the most violent massacres in Indonesia's history.  (Indonesia was trying to gain traction under the command of a new leader, General Suharto, and religious traditionalists were essentially murdering suspected communists, such were the conditions of this massacre)  The birds are said to be the souls of the fallen, which is much more believable within the belief structure of Hinduism.  It was gorgeous.

So now we are in Bali, but all of the pictures below are from our last couple of days in The Gilis.  My internet connection is so slow that it will take all night to load up my 40 pictures from today in Bali.  I will just leave them uploading while I sleep.  Tomorrow we leave for Singapore to meet up with Jeff, Amanda, and Kate Reierson. 

 A stack of Bintang crates on the way from our bungalow to the beach.  Bintang is an ubiquitous Balinese beer.

 This is how they build in the Gilis.  Stuff is dropped off at night, and in the morning, workers haul it to build sites.  There is no machinery on the island.

 Sailboat or schooner 

 The primary mode of transport on Gili T, horse and carriage 

 The food in Gili T is extremely international.  Lots of pizza and mexican.

 A gnarly tree on the beach 

 This here is the main strip.

 The water - I just want to drink it up

 Ryan's shrimp brochette that he had for lunch 2 days ago.

 Chicken Sandwich 

 A chicken wrap.  They are sometimes a little off in execution.  Also, that gigantic dollop in the salsa is mayonnaise.  Talk about sacrileg.
 A boat on the island 

 There is a turtle conservation project on Gili T.  Late one night, Kristin and I were walking by and saw a bunch of little guys coming out of the sand.  When asked by another passerby how old the turtles were, the turtlemaster replied, "Those turtles over there are 15 days old, these turtles are NOW."

 Kristin gazing out to the kool aid sea

 I have been to quite a few terrific beaches, and Gili T is definitely at the top of that list

 Child Lookouts 

 A bakery 

There is this small 1 room cinema on the beach, and they air newish movies nightly.  I love how they describe Clash of the Titans as being "1st box office" and Dear John as "A Very Good Story."
 The Gili T Jetty.
 The huts on the beach for watching movies 

 An island convenience shop

 We walked around the entire island, all 4 of us.  It took a few hours, but we saw all sorts of interesting sights.

 This is the road that circles the island 

 The beast surf break on the island is in the scarcely populated south 

 We found a shipwreck 

 Someone's home 


 With the sun getting low, we settled down to watch it set 

 It was a great sunset, and you can see Bali's mountains off in the distance at left

 Pretty intimate, not too many people around 

 Some kids playing on the rocks 

 A Natural Sculpture 

 A large boat


 World Cup viewers

The other night, we were watching the game in the street here, and all of the electricity  went out on the island.  This happens frequently since the island is powered by diesel generators.  They call it Mati Lampu.  Anyways, the game got shut off and everyone sort of just shrugged their shoulders and went home.  Island Life.

 This picture was taken unintentionally during the fire 

 You can kind of see the flames in this picture


 The crew with our awesome help, Eddie (left) and Kiply (right).  They are usually all smiles, but toughen up a bit for the camera
Goodbye Gili Trawangan


  1. So beautiful and your pictures continue to amaze me! I've missed the "furmonster of the day" on the past couple updates. (I know I know you said it was all cats) For the record your posts are ALWAYS entertaining and NEVER a torture!!! In fact they are what I look forward to each day when I get off work and recently I can't even wait that long. They are now part of my lunch :)
    Miss yall a lot! OMG, yesterday I saw on CNN that there were earthquakes in Indonesia and of course started to panic. Don't worry, I pulled out my "itin" and saw that yall were safe, fhew!!
    BTW, I've been keeping my phone w me at all times just waiting for a call from 0000123456!! Please call soon.

  2. Stunning pictures..Having no words to say more...Thanks for one’s marvelous posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you’re a great author.I will be sure to bookmark your blog and definitely will come back someday. Keep up the good work.
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