strivetoengage

Living with intent, social engagement, learning, growing, giving

Travels in Indonesia with children part 14 (Gili Trawangan)

To wind up our 5 weeks of travel through west Malaysia and Indonesia we have moved to the tiny island of Gili Trawangan which is off the north west coast of Lombok. The seas have been so wild that the normal daily ferries and fast boats from Bali to Gili Trawangan have been cancelled. Knowing this and the propensity of my husband to sea sickness I was keen to organize a calm crossing for us. The kind taxi driver that took us to Senaru contacted a friend and secured us a private fast boat voyage in the early morning yesterday before the sea becomes rougher and for 2/3 of the usual cost.

Looking from Gili Trawangan towards Lombok

Looking from Gili Trawangan towards Lombok

We were apprehensive about safety and asked to see the life jackets before boarding the speed boat but a cursory wave of the hand and then a hurry up was all we got. Next the boat set off at high speed while 2 crewmen siphoned petrol into the fuel tank. As we crashed through breaking waves I struggled to put large adult sized life jackets onto my small children, clutched my son under one arm and our luggage under the other and then clenched my jaw for the white knuckled ride to Gili Trawangan. It was with tremendous relief, firmer abdominal muscles and wobbly legs that we triumphantly disembarked, dry and with all family members and luggage accounted for.

There are no motorized vehicles on Gili Trawangan and cidomos are used instead. I'm conflicted because although the horses look healthy, their drivers aren't affectionate and instead strike them often and make them wait in the sun or rain for a fare

There are no motorized vehicles on Gili Trawangan and cidomos are used instead. I’m conflicted because although the horses look healthy, their drivers aren’t affectionate and instead strike them often and make them wait in the sun or rain for a fare

We were hassled immediately by a cidomo driver who tried to rip us off but we struggled along with our luggage until we encountered another and were shown the standard rate. The driver was surly and did not return my greeting in Bahasa Indonesian and forced the blinkered horse to trot faster than was comfortable for it or us. We travelled through the unattractive middle of the island past rubbish piles, large pits in the ground and lots overgrown with weeds. Upon arrival at our resort we were told that we’d have to wait for our room to be prepared because check in is at 2pm and it was only 9:45, however considering that we represent 4 of the 7 guests here it was only a 10 minute wait.

Eroded shoreline

Eroded shoreline

Partially demolished restaurants

Partially demolished restaurants

Behind the glossy veneer lies environmental degradation

Behind the glossy veneer lies environmental degradation

After swimming in the lovely pools we set off in search of lunch and passed the rough seas pounding the badly eroded northern shoreline, partially demolished restaurants on the beach and try hard bars staffed by stoned young men from Lombok with long hair, no shirts, playing loud reggae music and displaying insincere to hostile attitudes. It was with relief that we reached the sheltered eastern coast with its strip of eateries and I longed for the charming warungs and sincerely friendly people of Java.

Lovely location for lunch

Lovely location for lunch

My husband and I sat at a table on the sand while our children played on the beach and we realised that this is what true rest is like. After playing billiards at the resort we discovered a lovely French restaurant (Wilson’s Retreat) next to our resort and had a delicious meal with charming service.

View towards Gili Meno from the east coast

View towards Gili Meno from the east coast

Dinnertime view

Dinnertime view

Today we all delighted in doing even less and the pinnacle of our efforts was to walk to the east coast and laze on lounges while we drank cocktails and shared a watermelon flavored shisha (our children had some much coveted screen time while we indulged) at a bar aptly called Horizontal Lounge. Dinner was delicious with fresh snapper at Gili Café. On the way I asked 3 different tiny travel stalls for prices for a private glass bottomed boat snorkeling trip around the 3 Gili’s. The first two vendors were belligerent (one young man tugged at his sarong to better reveal his designer underpants while talking to me and smoking a joint) and made us despair. We passed a 3rd stall where the vendor was diligently doing paper work and when we approached him he smiled, returned our greetings, tried masks on our children and generally gained our trust. Stay tuned for the next installment after our snorkeling trip!13904797990680

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This entry was posted on January 23, 2014 by in Travel and tagged , , , , , , , .
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