We left Kuta on a whim. “Let’s just leave now and take the night ferry to Lombok”. It seemed like such a good idea at the time, but with an increasingly nauseous feeling in my stomach, I should have known what I was in for. Nothing too terrible, just a half a dozen stops on the hour drive to the ferry, throwing up every last bit of stomach acid, and curled in the fetal position in the back seat in between. We caught the midnight ferry, and it just happened to be the worst that any of us had ever seen in a third world country. For my brother, Jesse, to raise an eyebrow at it, after his coming to Indonesia for the last 7 years, says a lot. Nonetheless, sometimes you just have to grin and bear it, besides, I was in no state to pull the princess card. Travel in Indonesia is far from luxurious, but in the end, it is a small price to pay for uncrowded waves and patches of untouched paradise.
Back to the ferry. Weak and nauseas, I climbed the stairs to the top deck, as we weren’t allowed to stay in the van in case a truck, all of which were dangerously overloaded with supplies, might “tip over”. Words cannot really describe this ferry. It is impossible to accurately express the stench that burned your nostrils and made your stomach churn, the hot, humid air that seemed to permeate your clothing, or the way the layers of built up grime caught a hold of your flip-flops as you walked. It was a 5 1/2 hour ferry ride and I barely had the energy to stand. After haggling with some “employees”, we managed to buy ourselves a small 6’x 6’ room with a bunkbed. I crawled to the top and opened a port-hole, trying desperately to ease my nausea with deep breathes from the somewhat fresher ocean air. My brothers and father all attest that it was best that I was in this half delirious state, in fear I may have been aware of what had been crawling over me while I slept. I awoke slightly better, laughing together at the corner my brothers were forced to sleep in, loving them even more for their sacrifice. Next came another drive along the western coast of Lombok. Soon, white sand beaches and lush palms came into view. We jumped in a boat, packed to the hilt with locals and fresh fruit and vegetables, which took us through clear turquoise waters to the spectacular island of Gili Trawangan. With the first step onto the powdery, white sand beach, any memory of previous night’s experience was lost.
But the real question is, what's up with that creepy poster of the baby???
The Gili Islands consist of a trio of spectacular, coral-fringed islands off the northwestern coast of Lombok. With no electricity, and the only mode of transport being horse-drawn carts and bicycles, everything seems to slow down to its own ‘island time’. And it truly is paradise. Literally meters off the beach, the crystal clear water is teaming with a plethora of exotic reef fish and sea turtles. One day we rented bikes and rode around the island, finding the beach easier than the sand swollen roads. Another day we kayaked to the next island, almost completely deserted, and snorkeled the clear waters in solitude. But I think hands down, my favorite memory will be midnight swims in phosphorescent drenched water under a sky filled with more stars I’ve seen in a lifetime…
Ok, it is really hard riding in the sand with no hands... harder than it looks, I swear!