Sunday, December 1, 2013

Silly in Gilli!

Seems like we can't get enough of Martini and David! For those of you reading our blog for the first time, we were recently in Singapore with the newlyweds! It has been such a blessing that this couple is taking a year off as well! 

I really wanted to explore more of Indonesia this year. It seems like I have spent most of my time in Jakarta, Medan and Bali over the years. Seeing that most of my Indonesian family is in two of those cities, it made the most sense to visit them the most. Indonesia has over 17,000 islands for me to explore though... and my first new island of choice? Gilli Air.

The Gilli Islands sit right off of the coast of Lombok. There are a few ways to get there. Fast boat, sloooooow boat or a quick flight. Since Martini and David are living in Lombok for a few months, Kurt and I decided to fly into Lombok and see the new island they call home. After a quick visit to their current abode, we headed for Bangli. 

Bangli. How do I describe this horrid place? This was the port we had to set sail from on our last leg to Gilli Air. If any of you have ever been to a S.E Asian tourist town, you are familiar with street peddlers. They can be aggressive, tiresome and simply annoying. Imagine them... on steroids.

The second you set foot into this place, you are hounded. This hounding however, is different than the little old man trying to sell you scarves. This is where you become the puppet and you are subjected to the rules the puppeteer has made. We arrived and quickly scanned the perimeters for the least shady area we could find that was selling tickets. We were informed that the ferry only runs in the morning, and it being 3 PM - we had missed the "affordable boat". The difference in price for public transportation and private charter are mind blowing. 

Being half Indonesian, Martini and I take pride in protecting ourselves from being screwed over by "tourist prices". We also take pride in protecting our American beaus from the even "whiter" prices. We were quick to realize that we were being trapped in an endless game of "you'll never get a price any lower than this". Finally managing to negotiate with a young boy who wanted to help, we were smuggled onto a private charter boat for a reasonable price. Bargaining at this place was extremely taxing and we had all heard one too many "well then why don't you walk to Gilli Air if you don't like my price". All aboard! 

(HEADED STRAIGHT FOR GILI AIR)

The boat ride was just a jaunt from the coast of Lombok. It was so great to leave the madness behind at the port and land on white, sandy shores! We had been given some recommendations from a friend of mine of places to stay - so on we went to explore Gilli Air!

What's so great about this island is that there are ZERO cars or motorcycles! Everyone has to either use a bicycle, their own two feet or some hooves :) Horse and carriage are the main way to move heavy loads around the island. Lucky for us - we all packed light and set off on foot. After playing peek or boo with many hotels, we decided on a cute hotel on the main strip.

(BACKPACKERS SEARCHING FOR A HOME!)\

A friend of mine, Tash, had just opened a new restaurant/bar in the heart of the island and i promised her we would come check it out. What a place! Caballito de Mar had delicious food and was just a really comfortable place to go to and have a drink. We loved that we could play with sand between our toes whilst enjoying a cocktail. Tash went to middle school with Martini and I in Jakarta before moving away. Funny how the universe brings back certain people into your life. I am so glad that it did with her because she is a gem! We actually visited her place a few times because we loved the ambiance. Beachfront property with a real cool, laid back feel. I love places where you can dress up or show up in flip flops and still feel like you fit in? So great. If you ever visit Gilli Air - go check it out :)


(MARTINI, DAVID, TASH, ME & KURT AT CABALLITO DE MAR)

The rest of the time? What did we do? Sleep, eat, lounge, sunbathe, snorkel, swim - it is really a hard life but the four of us really don't mind taking one for the team ;) Me being me, I decided to run around the entire island for some exercise. How long does it take you ask? 32 minutes at a leisurely pace! That's just about 4 miles around the island - just a wee lil' thing! Here are some pictures of the trip:

(KURT TAKING A BREAK TO WRITE IN HIS CABANA!)


(IN ONE OF THE CABANA'S WE SPENT MUCH TIME LOUNGING IN!)
(BIKE RIDE AROUND THE ISLAND)

(MARTINI & KURT SOAKING UP THE RAYS!)


(CAUGHT IN A TROPICAL RAINSTORM ON OUR BIKE RIDE!)



Kurt and I decided to rent a bicycle to ride around the island on our last day. Figuring that it would only take 32 minutes or less - we hopped on and took off! You just never know when you're going to get caught in a tropical rainstorm. We had managed to make it half way around the island when it started to pour. Why didn't we just pull off into a cafe somewhere? We had to meet David and Martini to catch the ONLY ferry leaving the island back to Lombok in just 20 minutes. Have you ever tried to ride a bicycle through sand? And then through sand-paste when it starts to rain? You don't. It's not possible. We had to push our bikes most of the way till we found some beautiful gravel that allowed us to peddle again!

In proper Kurt & Estelle fashion, we made it in just the nick of time! We loved the Gillis and cant wait to explore the other two and so much more of Indonesia. 


My family and friends have just arrived in Bali for Thanksgiving! Will be posting lots about that soon!

All my love,

Estelle

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