After 4 nights, we left Gili Air and moved to Gili Trawangan. Gili T (as it is commonly called) is the party island and has been overtaken by a psychedelic vibe that we might have appreciated more if we were 10 years younger. We only stayed one night, but also decided we would definitely do the live-aboard dive cruise. Unfortunately, it was Wednesday, and the trip didn't start until Sunday. And we really didn't want to stay on Gili T for four more nights.
We asked around and a local guy informed us there are more Gili's in southwest Lombok. This is also when we realized that "Gili" just means "small island". We did some research and found the Secret Island Resort on Gili Gede. We made a call on therese's iphone, made a reservation for the next night, and planned to embark for Lombok immediately. We found a place to stay in Senggigi for one night, rented mopeds the next morning, and drove Lombok's western coastline southwards.
The drive was three hours total, but the two hours after passing Lombok's capital of Mataram were simply gobsmackingly brilliant. We rode the coast the whole way and were treated to panoramic views around every corner. Traffic was light, weather was amazing, and the roads were totally adequate.
The journey was punctuated by one incident which ended up being kinda fun. We were stopping at all the "gas stations" looking for a good price for a refill. The smaller islands in Indonesia don't have many gas stations, per se. Instead, most little shops have gas available for about $.60 a liter, and it's stored in glass bottles,which end up looking rather like urine samples. Anyway, therese was trying to get my attention and pull over at the same time to check the price at one place. She hit a patch of sand and wiped out, but was unhurt. While on the ground, four generations of the family that ran the shop came out to help her. Actually, they would have come out anyway to watch the white girl buy gas, even if she didn't wreck in the process.
We made it to Secret Island Resort and the boat met us on the mainland to take us to Gili Gede. After a short boat ride, we had found our new paradise. The resort is brilliant, with nice touches everywhere. Peter, the American owner, owns the place with his Indonesian wife and has great tastes in furnishing and style. He plays chill latin grooves or downtempo house music from his stereo all day long, and plays a mean harmonica. We settled in with a pot of coffee and a Bintang, and met Lincoln and Alicia, a nice couple from New Zealand. We would end up drinking with them on the patio that night long past when everyone else went to bed.
For it's large size, relative to most other Gili's on Lombok, the island only has a few hundred inhabitants. Like most of Lombok and Indonesia in general, the native population are largely Muslim. We took a short walk to the nearest village to check out the scene. We were instantly stars as a dozen children mobbed us for attention and play, not money. They never really asked us for anything, they just wanted me to take photos of them and speak what few English words they new. Therese sang songs with them, while i showed them pictures i'd taken. We got the impression they don't see too many tourists around here. Yet. Lombok is opening an international airport later this year.
Therese singing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider". They were mesmerized.