Posted by: Larzizou | October 16, 2008

Gili Trawangan, Indonesia.

At the very end of a sleepless night, we take a short 20 minutes flight, through which I sleep, from Bali to Lombok, one of the largest of Indonesia’s 3,000+ islands. I still wonder how – the small plane (visible on the background) was quite scary. Lawis, an aircraft pilot, ensures us all is fine though.

At Lombok’s airport, we have to take a taxi to the port, where from a boat will bring us to Gili Trawangan, our final destination. We pay for the package. Annoyingly, the taxi drops us at a cafe, where from we learn that unless we pay an extra charge for a private boat, we will have to wait – possibly hours – that the regular boat gets full of passengers. In addition, we have to pay for the carriage from the cafe to the port. As it is boiling hot (and we have not slept), we obtemperate, and hop in the carriage.

Of course, the extra charge we paid for a private boat proves to be a rip off : we sail with another 20 persons. Do we look happy ? Energetic ?

To say that we are exhausted would be a gross understatement of how we feel. Nevertheless, it does not take much energy to appreciate this.

The ride is not long : around one hour. Some of us are still wearing yesterday evening’s attires.

Some of us, like Denizboule (left), were just born with class.

At first, Gili Trawangan, one of the three Gili islands off the coast of Lombok, seems like one of these magnificent destinations bound to become ugly due to intense upcoming touristic activity. Blue sea, white sand, strong sun, wooden boats, some picturesques constructions along the coast line…

Life is pretty laidback here. People watch movies in cafe at set hours, Thai style., and come here to rest, eat seafood and snorkel or dive. Huge turtles and colorful fishes can be seen underwater; the strong current makes it hard to observe them for more than seven seconds though.

The accumulation of new constructions seems a bad omen for the island development, especially considering how tiny the island is (by bike, less than an hour on shoddy roads from end to end).

As we arrive, it takes us a good 2h to find decent – but overpriced – “Lombok style” accomodations (whatever that means). Nothing rents for less than 40 USD, most of the time without air conditioner. In Indonesia ! Scarcity inflates the price, I assume. Maybe another Koh Tao15 years from now.

The island still maintains some character, thanks to the no-motored-vehicle policy. Everybody walks, ride a bicycle or sit at the back of a donkey-driven carriage.

Our first afternoon is dedicated to…sleep.

A beautiful mamelouk.

Few enjoy the beach. Dreamlike beach, but corals prevent us from bathing.

Guyve Sardari, GQ frontpage June 2013.

As the evening starts, we are full of hope as tens of attractive girls were spotted around the island during the day. Accordingly, Las Cruzas wears a shirt as if sewn to his body and a killer smile.

Davalou preferes cashmere.

Lawiss and Eve, a Canadian girl met on the beach. They will not get any closer than what you see on this picture.

Me, tired as hell, and Eve. We will not get any closer than her and Lawiss are in the picture above.

Meanwhile,  Montgomery Clifts get his groove on.

For comparison, this link.

Eve and her friend, I believe, Stephanie. But it is always easier to remember the name of the pretty one. In this case, none.

Davalou contents himself with ice scream. There is no real nightlife in here. A few bars, here and there, such as the Blue Marlin; playing consensual international hits for a tourist crowd. The crowd consists mostly of locals and families.

For breakfast, and sometimes lunch, we stop there, across our bungalow.

Need you more to remember you are vacationing ?

I don’t.

The second day, we indulge in a bike ride to the end of the island. We want to catch the sunset at the Sunset Bar. Only, we arrive way too early. No sunset.

Nice view though.


View from our bungalow.

After the boys leave, refusing to pay over eighty dollars for a speedboat ride to Lombok, I am left one more day with Remouz on the island. We try the Gili branch of Ryoshi, a surprisingly decent sushi chain all over Indonesia. Fish can only be fresh here.

All cats have one similar feat in the island : their tail is cut. Odd.

More shots of the beach.

One of the other big thing in the island – most restaurants advertise magic mushroom, in any form : shakes, pizza, fresh…

A bad experience. There are no ATMs to withdraw cash on the island. Local businesses accept credit cards or charge you a whopping 10% to dispense you cash, minimum 50 USD. As I want to pay my (small) internet bill with my credit card, at 11pm, the staff of this internet cafe refuse. Want to charge me 50 USD +10% and hand me the cash, minus the internet charge. Preposterous, I don’t need that much and much less want. The problem is that they don’t want to give me my credit card back. I threaten to call the police. It is 11pm, I am leaving tomorrow morning, “what police men”, they reply. Fearing for my safety (it is dark, I am surrounded by four aggressive locals), I reluctantly yield to what they ask.

And time to leave again !

Same way we came.

On my way to Lombok.

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