Monday, 6 December 2010

Gili Islands

Tuesday 23 November: My minibus or bemo drops me in Pemenang and a 'Lombok Ferrari' - horse and cart (76th mode of transport) bumps me along to Bangal beach where I buy a green public ferry ticket to Gili Trawangan. The ticket collector refuses the more expensive white 'open' tickets sold by travel agencies (they have not paid their bill) and chaos ensues among some very upset French tourists who are stranded but still refuse to pay again. The fare is 10,000 Rupiahs (about 80 pence). I wade and hobble aboard the crowded ferry, leaving the French behind, and soon we pull up on the soft white-sandy beach of Gili Trawangan, party island.
Wednesday 24: The island is beautiful but I'm immobile and spend most of my time in the hotel or in the nearest bar, a Rastafarian joint, which in addition to liqueur also sells magic mushrooms - "return trip to the moon, no transport necessary". Each night, shortly before I retire, a choir of barmen sing out a Bob Marley chorus:

" . . .No, woman, no cry . . . No, mushrooms, no fly . . . "

I don't think Bob would have minded.

Thursday 25: A day for decisions. First, to sail to north Sulawesi rather than going overland. I'll miss the island's sights but it will rest my foot. Secondly, to return to Britain from Australia across Asia rather than continuing to New Zealand or South America. My freighter passage to Freemantle, Perth has been pushed forward by the shipping company to mid-February so by the time I'd arrive in New Zealand the weather would be chilly. And finally, when I return home, I'll take a long walking holiday in Scotland and England. The British government's Open Space initiative gives me access to 1:50,000 scale Ordnance maps so, somewhat bizarrely, on a tropical island with an aching foot, I spend two-days planning detailed walking routes in Britain.
Friday 26: In Lombok I discovered that the singer Micheal Jackson is dead (June 2009!). No great loss, I know, but macabrely I search the net to find out who else has expired since I started travelling. Icons from my youth include poor old Norman Wisdom, easy rider Dennis Hopper, author DJ Salinger, musicians John Martyn and Mary Travers, and every boy's dream date
Farrah Fawcett, to name but a few. According to the wonderfully irreverent website Deathlist, Margaret Thatcher is still with us.
A few photos of Gili Trawangan.

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