Tuesday, 20 May 2014

The Gillis

After the wedding was over and the party had disbanded, we took a boat to the Gillis; a collection of three islands off the coast of Lombok, Bali's Muslim neighbour. After a 10 minute walk along the main street we got to our accommodation, Flush Bungalows on Gilli Trawengan. I know, I too was a bit sceptacle over the name. However, the place not only came with a recommendation from a friend, a group of people we had work with on the Milford track would be meeting us there. And our lodgings were fantastic; all the mod-cons and just opposite the beach. 

Our first action on the Gillis was to get on it straight away and order long island iced teas at the bungalows beach side bar.  

Our outdoor bathroom even came with a giant gecko. I named him Bob.

There is no question Gilli T is an explosion of tourism with signs that isn't coping; In a short space of time multiple bars, restaurants, resorts and bungalows have taken over the shore line. This little stretch of land is struggling to keep up with water and electricity demands. Power cuts are so regular that most businesses have their own generator. 

The Island was busy enough for me with holiday makers and backpackers, all looking for their slice of hedonistic pleasure. I would hate to go here in high season!

However, that all said my five nights of Gilli T were amazing and one of the highlights of our stay in Indonesia. 

I think the sunsets played a big part. Living under the gaze of mountains for a year, I'd forgotten how dramatic and beautiful the end of the day can be. 

On three occasions we made our way over to the west side of the island, to watch the sun hide behind Bali and its towering volcano, Gunung Agung. The natural light show made me feel so happy that I came to this place and it was the perfect spot for a beer or cocktail.

Another reason I really enjoyed the Gillis was the snorkeling. As my sinuses have stayed blocked from a virus pre-travel, diving will have to take a step down in my priorities. Now I knew from research that its coral was in bad shape, due to dynamite fishing a generation ago. But its fish life and abundance of turtles were worth putting a rubber tube in my mouth.

Although we did pay to go on a boat to snorkeling spots around the other islands, we were all a bit put out by this expedition. Note to other tourists to the area: a cheap price will mean snorkeling with 40 other people chasing after the same turtle. The best snorkeling I had was just off shore, from the beach, on the west side. I saw lots of pretty fish and at least six different turtles.

Our group even got to get some paddle boarding in, which turns out to be pretty addictive! After five nights it was time to say goodbye to our friends, Gilli T and the sound of Bob Marley ringing through our ears. We were off to Bali's mainland! 

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