Showing posts with label Gili Islands. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gili Islands. Show all posts

Friday, December 10, 2010

HDR of the Day - Sunset off the Gili Islands

So board a plane and you head west, way west, so far it is East really.  Once there, you take a few more flights, hopscotching down to the archipelago, where the seas reach out for an eternity.  You take a boat ride to the end of the earth.  Find a patch of sand, stretch out and watch the day transform to night.  

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

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Gili Islands

We spent the morning watching a great team put the best NBA player on the planet (along with his squad of goons) in a 3-2 hole.  Go Celtics.  Unlike Europe, Asia is a great place to get feeds of U.S. televised events.  We had no problems watching the last 2 games of the NBA finals, simply watching them with breakfast instead of dinner. 

Our road to the Gili Islands began in a crowded van in front of our hotel.  First, we would need to travel overland to Padang Bai, a small fishing village on the eastern coast of Bali, in the shadow of the great Mount Agung.  Once there, a fast boat will transport us across the Lombok Strait and to Gili Trawangan.  Underneath the strait, a trench tears deep into the ocean floor, marking the fulcrum point where the Eurasian and Australian plates decided to head in different directions. 

On our way to Padang Bai, we must have passed by 17 Dolce and Gabbana stores.  In Asia, counterfeit stuff is everywhere.  In fact, the real thing is truly elusive.  My favorite incidence of the blatantly fake was a jacket that I spied at a Laos airport.  This jacket flaunted a bold Prada badge on the front with very large Dolce and Gabbana Embroidery spread across the back.  Surely a collaboration has not taken place.  If you are shopping for this type of pirate gear at a local market, and ask about the authenticity of the merchandise, the shopkeeper will respond, "It is same same, but different."  This phrase has sort of real world memed into a role of its own.  Now, one can buy shirts that say "Same Same but different" moniker at the very shops that sell the knock-off gear.  The marketplace is an evolutionary place.

900 horses of fast boat thrust delivered us safely to the Gili Islands.  Our boat driver reassured us on the way, "If we crash, no panic, sharks are vegetarian."  Thankfully, we saw no sharks, though dolphins gracefully swam along us as we tore across the surface.  We are staying on the largest of the 3 islands, Gili Trawangan, also known as the party island due to availability of illicit drugs and no law enforcement whatsoever.  It is definitely a change of pace for a country with a death penalty for drug possession.  I have been offered mushrooms about 10 times, and at this point, I may as well be writing this from Jupiter.  Just kidding.

Since I am writing an article about the Gili Islands for a much larger publication and that article is singularly exclusive, I have to redact my exact musings on this extremely unique island.  I will list some of its eccentricities plainly below:

1.  It is basically a tropical Amsterdam, made all the stranger with strict Indonesian drug policies, including death penalty
2.  The tap water is salt water
3.  Cars are outlawed on the island.  Horse and carriage is the primary method of transport, and candles are used to illuminate the horse carriages.  It is definitely unintentionally romantic.
4.  The island is small enough to walk around 3 hours
5.  The entire island is run by diesel generators, and blackouts are rampant
6.  About 90% of the cats are missing about 70% of their tails
7.  No dogs, not one, though there are more cats than people
8.  Structures built with no heavy machinery, concrete is hauled in bag by bag literally on heads
9.  There is no police, though village elders will judge you if you fall too out of line
10.  Mexican food is everywhere, though the translation is a bit off.  It is quite ordinary to order a plate of pajitas, or perhaps facos.

The Gilis also possess some of the most beautiful beaches.  We are absolutely awestruck with the beauty here.  Also, our villa is extremely spacious and Kristin and I may want to design an exact replica for our future home.  We have 3 bedrooms, a pool, and vaunted ceilings that seem to stretch to heaven.    

 Padang Bai, Bali

 This is where we depart for the Gili Islands 

 Some boats

 We were taking the Gili Cat boat to Gili T

 Rooster Hostages 

 Padang Bai Dock 

 Indonesia has the best water 

 Makes me want to jump in 

 It was a great day for boating 

 Our sled as we speed along the Bali coast 

 Comfortable ride

 A boat in the middle of the ocean 

 The Lombok coast with a storm rolling in.  Lombok is just east of Bali.

 The crew

 Lombok looks pretty damn appealing.  Lombok is a very muslim country, whereas Bali is hindu 

 The Gili Islands, very flat 

 We have arrived

 The strip, only transport on this island is mini-horse carriage 

 Hee-ya He-ya

 Felt bad for these beasts of burden

 Our pool and spa at Baruna villas

 Our abode

 The bed 

 Our very nice bathroom

 The sense of space is great in this place, everything is proportioned perfectly 

 "You can try please"

 The strip is lined with bars like this on the beach 

 It was an overcast day 

 But who cares

 We ordered tacos or facos

 More beach 

 Kristin drinking a Bintang 

 Some local kids playing in the water.  Glad this kid has his pants on, many kids just treat the whole island like their own nudist colony

 Our place at night 

 Some buddies 

 Seafood salesman 

 We had delicious shrimp for about 5us each

 The island is overrun with cats that stalk about at night

 This guy claimed to be from Atlanta 


 Watching the world cup match in the streets, the electricity failed, everyone shrugged their shoulders and went home.