Sunday, May 12, 2013

Gili Meno, the Bob Marley island of Indonesia

You can't help but wake up already singing a Bob Marley tune. When you try to clear your mind and come up with another song- it's another Marley tune. At that point, I give in and start singing as I throw my bag over my shoulder and walk 200 meters to the beach from the cute family-run bungalow that we're staying in.  

Gili Garden Bungalow, our home for a week.
The white sand is a bit course- full of small bits of bleached coral that have washed up.  It's rough on my bare feet but is beautiful. The water is similar to photos I've seen of far away islands- which I always thought were enhanced to look that way. The colors start off as a pale blue close to the shore- similar to that of a swimming pool. Then as it gets deeper- it becomes a turquoise and then finally a deep blue. The visibility underwater and the temperature changes noticeably with each change in color.
First view of the water with Gili Trawangan in the background.
What I find so refreshing is that there are no cars.  No scooters.  No roads.  This is especially relaxing after having been in Ubud, Bali with it's busy streets.  Gili Meno has only horse drawn carts for transportation.  The path around town is a small sandy trail. The entire island can be walked in just over an hour- although the heat and the intensity of the sun make it seem much longer.

Our transportation upon arrival. 
Everyone seems to be in a good mood- other that the traveling jewelry salesman- who seem fairly beat down due to low interest in their cheap wares. I finally broke down and bought some bracelets- 5 for $5. I didn't have anything smaller than a 50,000 rupiah bill ($5)- and if he had change, he certainly wasn't going to tell me
Lombok pearls.

From where I sit now at the beach- I feel like I can swim to Gili Trawangan. Occasionally, I can hear music from there- especially as their bars get going around 8. It's the party island and we're at the mellow island- and I think we chose wisely. 

The snorkeling is great right at the waters edge. You can rent a mask for $2 for the day and escape the heat while watching huge, colorful fish dart around coral reefs. Yesterday, Nate spotted a sea turtle that is as big as a coffee table.  My most exciting find was an enormous moray eel which had be quickly swimming to shore.

On land, it's pretty good too. There aren't too many people here. It's always easy to get an empty pagoda right on the water. Today I scored the one with the hammock. A fresh fruit juice is $2 as are the curries, rice and noodle dishes. I've eaten curry everyday since we've been here- finding my favorite one at a place called the Sunset Gecko which also is the only place on the island with semi-reliable Internet.

Pagoda at Sunset Gecko- where we spent our days.
Veggie Curry.  Yum!

A large beer- of which there is only one kind (Bintang) is a light pilsner- perfect for the hot weather. It is $3.5 or $3 at happy hour... I worry about getting mixed drinks in Indonesia. There have been a few deaths recently on Gili Trawangan where methanol alcohol is mixed with regular alcohol. Pretty scary stuff and not worth taking the chance. Here's an article.


Today is our last day here- hard to believe it's been a week already. I'm going to miss the laid-back vibe and amazing sunsets here...