Indonesia: 6/04 – 6/10

(Indonesia) Ubud >>> Gili Air

6/4- Journey to the Gili Islands!
6/5- Celebrating Liz’s 30th Birthday with some relaxing island time
6/6- Island Time and Sunset on Gili Air
6/7- Scuba Diving and Scallywaggs
6/8- Cycling and Snorkeling around Gili Air!
6/9- Great conversation with our new friend!
6/10- Day Trip to Gili Trawangan

Journey to the Gili Islands!
+ We thought about going down and complaining to the hotel staff about the sink and workers in hopes of getting a free breakfast, but chose to ignore it and sleep longer instead.
+ Although every other bus had always been late to pick us up, this shuttle was of course 10 minutes earlier than even the earliest pickup time we’d been quoted. And we weren’t ready yet when the desk called to alert us the driver was here. So we quickly finished packing everything and rushed downstairs and into the shuttle bus.
+ We were the first guests and the van only picked up 5 more people before continuing it’s 90 minute journey to the coast.
+ At the harbor, we shared a quick snack of Mie Goreng and then after some chaos on the dock, we finally boarded and set off for the Gili Islands. Hooray!
+ Along the way, Corey talked with 2 nice ladies from Holland named Marjolijn and Monique. Liz slept a little and successfully didn’t get sea sick!
+ Once we’d arrived at the dock on Gili Air, we converted our bags from the duffels (we’d put them in them for safer travel) into backpacks and then skipped the expensive horse carts to hike 15 minutes to the place we were staying at on the East side of the island: Salim Cottages.
+ Upon check in we were each given a yummy cocktail and escorted to our really nice villa. We’d splurged since it was Liz’s birthday tomorrow and we’d be spending 2 nights here before moving to a cheaper place on the island.
+ Since we were now both super sweaty from the clammy boat ride and long walk through the hot and humid island so we chose to just hang out in the refreshing A/C for a while. We emerged from the mosquito net surrounding our bed a little before sunset and walked around a bit exploring the East side of the island.
+ For dinner we chose a picturesque place right on the water and sat on pillows just feet above the waves crashing on the shore. It was a very romantic spot to enjoy our meal!
+ That night, we relaxed in bed and binge-watched the first few episodes of House of Cards’ newest season.

Celebrating Liz’s 30th Birthday with some relaxing island time
+ Today was Liz’s 30th Birthday! Ahem, I mean 29 – 2.0! Her 2nd birthday on this trip! Last year at this time we were on the cruise from Panama to Portugal and it is crazy to think it’s been a year since that awesome trip!
+ We woke up around 9:30 and headed down to the same restaurant as last night to get our free breakfast. Liz got some eggs and toast while Corey got a (much more delicious) huge chocolate crepe!
+ We had discovered that we both had a mild case of Bali Belly so all we really wanted to do was hang out back in the room for now. So that’s what we did and we spent the heat of the day relaxing, watching tv/movies on the tablet, and napping.
+ In the late afternoon we repeated our routine from yesterday but walked a different direction on the island. This time we stopped and enjoyed some yummy cocktails and beers for happy hour at a couple of different beach front bars. What a beautiful and ideal setting!
+ Dinner tonight was some traditional Lombok food at a cheaper restaurant on the water and then we again retired to the room and watched some House of Cards and 30 Rock before falling asleep.
+ Overall it was a nice and relaxing day and we just enjoyed being with each other in such a beautiful location!

Island Time and Sunset on Gili Air
+ After another nice breakfast in our seemingly private beach front restaurant, we went back to the room to relax. Still recovering from Bali belly, Liz took a nap while Corey watched some episodes of Dragon Ball Super.
+ Just before 1pm, we checked out and walked 15 minutes south towards our next hotel called 7Seas Cottages. Once we’d lugged all our stuff upstairs to our room, we again just hung out in bed and relaxed. Liz took another nap, her 2nd of the day! It was fantastic!
+ We felt a little guilty we weren’t out exploring the island, but we’d given ourselves a week on this tiny island and knew we still had plenty of time to get to everything we wanted.
+ In the late afternoon we ventured out and explored the Southern side of Gili Air and made it to the West coast before sunset. This is where seemingly every other tourist on the island was already, each stationed in their bean bag or reclining chair in the sand with a cold drink in their hand enjoying sunset.
+ We decided to skip happy hour tonight and just enjoy the view. We did however take the obligatory pictures on the picturesque swing they have set in the ocean with the sunset behind us. So pretty!
+ For dinner we headed inland to pay some cheaper prices since we wouldn’t be stationed beachfront. The food was nice (Corey’s was super spicy!) but it wasn’t the biggest meal.
+ We debated paying the $7.50 US to watch a movie on the beach that night with a bunch of other people in bean bag chairs. While it would be nice, it seemed extremely overpriced for this location and Corey had already seen the movie anyway. It turned out to be the right decision because just 15 minutes after the start time it started pouring rain! We would’ve been soaked by the time we made it back to our hotel if we had stayed there!
+ While we were safe and dry under the hotel lobby roof, we played on our phones while watching everyone run by in the rainstorm. Then we went upstairs to our room and spent a few hours tackling items on the to-do list. We had neglected it for a few days now and it was always impressive just how quickly things added up! After only a few days we had such a large number of things we needed to research, book, and take care of.
+ Before going to sleep, we watched some more House of Cards.

Scuba Diving and Scallywaggs
+ Ate breakfast in one of the beach cabanas on the beach. Breakfast was included in our stay and although they had nice choices, they messed up Corey’s order.
+ Liz went back to the room and rested up. Corey walked around to a few of the different dive companies to get prices and info.
+ Back in the room, we hung out and watched some stuff on the tablet.
+ In the afternoon, Corey went to one of the dive companies he’d talked to earlier to join the free clean up dive they were having that day. He got to dive for free but the diving was going down and picking up a bunch of trash and putting it in a big canvas bag. There were about 8 people who volunteered and 3 dive masters to go down with us and we all filled up our bags completely on the dive! There was so much trash everywhere that we weren’t even able to get it all! And to think they did this every week! It was crazy (and sad) to think about how much litter was going into the ocean and the effect it was having.
+ While Corey was diving, Liz went back to the West side of the island to watch sunset. She grabbed a spot in the sand on one of the beanbags from the beach restaurants. She read her book for a while and then watched sunset while sipping on a Coca-Cola.
+ When we rejoined each other, we went to a restaurant called Scallywaggs for dinner. This was the most popular restaurant on the island and it was packed! We each ordered the BBQ meal which got us a kebab and then unlimited access to the salad bar. The kebab was decent and we made sure to stuff ourselves at the salad bar to get our money’s worth! lol
+ We went back to the room and after some showers we spent the rest of the evening watching House of Cards and relaxing.

Cycling and Snorkeling around Gili Air!
+ After a nice breakfast on the beach in one of the beach cabanas like usual, we went back to our room and packed everything up.
+ Checked out and walked with our backpacks to the Southwestern corner of the island to our next place: Vilkar Homestay. It was owned by (and right next to) a nicer, fancier resort but this place still got the free breakfast and use of the pool but at a much lower room cost! Win!
+ Checked in and relaxed in the A/C for a bit. Then we left and rented some bikes from a roadside vendor.
+ Took off on our bikes toward the north part of the island to get in some snorkeling! When we were riding bikes down the dirt path, Liz noticed what she thought was a deer in the field beside her. Turns out it was a cow trotting along side her as she road by! The cows here in Gili and Bali are so pretty! Locals tell us they don’t produce milk. Only manure for the farms to use!
+ Rode bikes to the Northeast corner of the island, near Han’s reef. Put everything in a dry bag to take with us while snorkeling.
+ Getting out into the water proved to be really difficult because of the low tide and the really sharp rocks and corals everywhere! We tried to do it without sandals but halfway decided it was impossible so Corey went back to get our shoes.
+ Meanwhile, while Liz was standing in only 3 inches of water, she noticed a bunch of brittle stars everywhere! They were climbing around from rock to rock and waving their arms out from every crevice! There were also hermit crabs and little eel things in some places!
+ Eventually, we got out past the wave break with only a few minor scratches. Then we snorkeled around for 90 minutes or so. We saw a turtle, 2 eels, 2 baby sting rays, a HUGE pufferfish!, a new type of trumpet fish, and lots of other types of fish.
+ After some struggles getting out of the water over the sharp rocks again, we continued riding our bikes around the island! The top of the island had a bunch of sandy areas that made riding the bikes impossible so we just had to walk them instead.
+ Stopped at a bar to watch sunset and had some happy hour drinks. A really clear sunset tonight and we could see the whole orb dip into the sea without any clouds!
+ Just a little further down the path we stopped at The Mexican Kitchen and ate some mountain type dishes of Mexican food. They were really good!
+ Not wanting to continue riding around in the dark, we cut down through the middle of the island using our cell phone’s flashlight to lead the way.
+ Went back to our hotel and showered off all the sea salt and sweat from the day. Enjoyed watching the last 2 episodes of House of Cards before bed.

Great conversation with our new friend!
+ Ate breakfast buffet at hotel.
+ Did research in our room.
+ Booked the Komodo trip with a vendor we trusted.
+ Extended bike rental and rode over to Scallywaggs on the East side and met up with our friend Wioleta whom we’d met a week earlier on the day trip to Nusa Lembongan.
+ The three of us left there and went to Munchies to eat lunch. We got yummy (and cheap!) lassies and weird nachos. Stayed there talking for a long time.
+ We all went and booked a snorkel trip for 2 days later and then we headed to the West side of the island.
+ Found a good bar and got a nice spot right on the beach in a prime sunset viewing spot! Had a bunch of beers and cocktails and watched an amazing sunset! Hung out there talking until well after dark.
+ Went to Zipp Sunset and had really good BBQ! Corey really liked his Beef Kebab!
+ Rode back to our hotel and parted ways with Wioleta. Returned our bikes and then took showers and went to sleep!
+ Always a fun day when we meet new friends!

Day Trip to Gili Trawangan
+ Met Wioleta in front of our resort and had another nice breakfast buffet.
+ Walked to the harbour and caught the “fast boat” to Gili Trawangan (Gili T). The islands were super close together but with the stop at Gili Meno in between, the journey took about half an hour.
+ On Gili T, the three of us walked around on foot for a bit before renting some bikes from a guy who claimed we could trust him, but had his friend laughing when he said that! It made us think twice but in the end we got a good deal for the bikes since we were only using them for around 5 hours before catching our return boat.
+ Our exploration of the island began by heading in a counter clockwise circle and riding past all the restaurants and shops that lined the main beach road.
+ When we got to the Northeast corner of the island, the sand was completely eroded away and we had to walk our bikes along a skinny sea wall for 50 meters or so until we got back to normal land. We had to time our progression with the bikes in between the waves crashing against the wall and hope we didn’t get soaked! Although it was so crazy hot that it would’ve been a welcome refresher.
+ Just a bit after that we stopped at some street market stalls and talked with the different vendors for a bit. Wioleta bought some magnets and helped Liz bargain for some bracelets. Liz and Vi laughed because the vendor’s English bargaining skills were a little backwards! Corey wanted some board shorts or a tank top but they didn’t have his sizes! He’s a big fat American!
+ One of the workers was whittling a blow gun from a piece of bamboo and when we asked if they used it for hunting, he said no it’s just for tourists. He and his friends then proceeded to have a competition to see who could hit a coconut first. Then, they let Corey try his hand and on his 2nd attempt he managed to hit it!
+ The nice shopping break in the shade was now over and we continued our bike ride through the hot sun around the north part of the island. Luckily there weren’t nearly as many sand patches requiring us to get off and walk as there were on Gili Air.
+ Once we reached the Western side, we found some of the popular swings set in the water. We took turns wading out to them and taking pictures perched above the pretty blue water. Standing up on the moving swing was quite the funny sight!
+ From there we headed just a bit further south and stopped at a coffee place called Exile Bar and had a nice time relaxing there for about an hour. There was another swing and even a weight bench that Corey tried out!
+ We continued riding and managed to reach town again after another 10/15 minutes. We’d made it around the whole island with probably only about 60 minutes of actual riding time! Then we continued to a spot we’d seen on the Eastern side that had great views of the water and we all had a nice lunch on the sand.
+ Corey decided to go snorkeling to look for turtles while Liz and Wioleta stayed behind to lounge in some beach chairs and read. Corey saw 7 turtles!
+ Around 4:30 we returned our bikes and caught the boat back to Gili Air. Then we headed back to the West Coast to the same bar as last night to watch the sunset once again. It was still beautiful but this time we only had one beer before heading back to the hotel.
+ We said goodnight to Wioleta and then we showered and headed out for dinner. We went to a nearby warung and while Liz enjoyed her Gado Gado, Corey made the mistake of ordering a “whole chicken” and was grossed out by the literal whole chicken he received with the head and feet and all! Then he ordered Mie Goreng to actually fill him up since the chicken meal was small but it was the worst tasting one he’d ever gotten! Oh well.
+ Back at the room, we worked on our devices until 1 am booking upcoming accommodation and researching dive companies in Komodo. Then we watched an episode of 30 Rock before bed.

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