Living with intent, social engagement, learning, growing, giving
Our final day on Gili Trawangan dawned bright and clear and we had coffee and smoothies at the lovely French restaurant Wilson’s Retreat next door, followed by breakfast at our resort and a marvelous time playing in the resort swimming pool. Afterwards we strolled along the northern coast of the island before cutting inland in a southern direction.
We passed stalled constructions of villas (I’ve read about disputes over land ownership and we passed one vacant lot that had a sign on a tree that said in Bahasa Indonesian not for sale), coconut plantations, new banana plantations, islanders homes, laundry services, a fruit and vegetable stall, a mobile phone stall, and as we neared the coast we passed homestay accommodation and inland villas. It was nice to veer away from the relentlessly touristic costal areas and see some villages for locals.
We had lovely dosa and curries for lunch at the first restaurant on the island, Pesona, followed by foot reflexology massages at Brown Bamboo. As we sat on reclining seats in the open air massage parlor we watched the tourists in bikinis and board shorts stroll past, local girls in hijabs, and cidomos laden with heavy loads and horses straining and frothing at the mouth as they attempted to trot. The island does not have a police force but it does have island security and the security officer took a seat and chatted with a massage therapist at the front of the shop to the amusement of our massage therapists.
There aren’t any dogs that we have seen on the Tiga Gili but there are hundreds of well fed cats. Our children are delighted by the cats and follow them, feed them, observe them and ceaselessly talk about them morning, noon and night. Many of the cats have stumpy tails which made me suspect maltreatment but I have only observed gentle treatment by locals and I’ve seen several being fed and wearing collars. Wikipedia suggests that they are born with stumpy tails and I’m not sure if that’s true either.
The population of the island is multicultural by SE Asian standards. We observed a lengthy ceremony by a middle aged woman, probably Balinese, who made offerings to some presumably Hindu shrines in a lovely garden at a villa near our resort. We can faintly hear the call to prayer (adhan), which is a stark contrast to the volume in Yogyakarta. We saw a festival where young men attempted to climb a tall bamboo pole to knock plastic packages down that were dangling down. Separately we saw a group of young men transporting a miniature mosque.
When planning for this holiday the only definite was the flight out of Denpasar, Bali and I had intended that we would spend at least 4 days in Ubud beforehand. We came to Gili Trawangan after Lombok, lured by the coral island tranquility intending to catch a fast boat to Bali. The seas have been too rough to allow the sea passage so we cancelled our plans to see Ubud and extended our time on Gili Trawangan instead. We’ve had a marvelous time on this island paradise and it feels like this is the first true holiday that we’ve had being forced by isolation to slow down and minimize activity. Tomorrow we will catch a boat to Lombok, drive around the centre of the island sightseeing, fly to Denpasar then fly to Australia. That will complete our 5 week adventure through Malaysia and Indonesia.