Saturday, 1 October 2016

Week 24.1 - Gili Meno

So the journey from Gili Trawangan to Gili Meno is all of 2km and takes less than 2 minutes, to get there you have 2 options. Option 1, charter a boat for 500,000 rupiah or option 2, get the public boat for 35,000 rupiah each. We obviously opted for the latter, which departs at 9.30am or 4pm, and we chose to leave at 4 spending the last of our time at Gili T reading on the beach. The public boats are very crowded and the Gili Meno boat also stops at Gili Air, making it one of the busiest for Western travellers. You’re literally crammed on with your backpacks and everyone else, not one person smells fresh thanks to the sweaty wait at the harbour and the boat is so jerky if you got sea sick you’d have no stomach left. But for the difference in price we couldn’t complain, plus we got to Meno in one piece and you’ll be glad to know that the walk to our new homestay, Sari Laut, only took 5 minutes…thank god.

It was a difficult check in, the staff speak minimal English and we were hot and sweaty from the journey, not a good combination. But we were soon settled in our large room and ready to explore the island. Unlike Gili T the various accommodations are small and more like homestays and bungalows than your fancy resorts, there are less flash restaurants and more local Warungs, and Meno has more of a village feel. Walking around you are never far from someones home, and there are many cows and goats, I’m not quite sure who they belong to. At the beach we met some local children who wanted to play, so we had to stand still in the sea whilst they swam around and then grabbed hold of our legs, I'm not exactly sure what the game was but the parents seemed to find it funny.

The sunsets at 6pm and the island is plunged into darkness, there are no street lights so the only light you have comes from shops, houses and restaurants which are few and far between, looks like we’ll have to be head torch wankers for the next 3 nights. Our first meal was delicious and served outside of someones house, just how we like it, and thankfully the prices are back to what we’re used to. For three drinks, noodle soup, spring rolls and satay we paid half the price of the meals on Gili T. Walking back to the guesthouse we spotted a huge birthday party for a child next door and I’d been carrying Skyle (the free stuffed aeroplane from Firefly) around in the hope of finding him a deserving home, so we ran back with him and gave him to the baby! The family were over the moon, and even wished us a happy birthday in return as well as a thank you.

We also enjoyed our first power cut on our first night. Thankfully short, but for a second I was transported back to Rith’s house and feared it would be a long night, and a stressful one for Kyle. I bet it happens a lot on Meno though, it’s so small and I have been wondering where they get their electric from? Crazy Vietnam maybe?

Another day another banana pancake and beach. I know I’ve probably said it about 100 times but I think we’ve actually found paradise on Meno, the sea is so clear it’s like filtered water and the sand is ridiculously soft, this time to reach coral you have to swim far out so you needn’t worry about your toes when walking out. It’s also 10 times quieter than Gili T so for most of the morning you find yourself alone on the beach, which by now you all know is just how we like it. Unfortunately we had another injury, Kyle was showing off his diving skills once again and ended up cutting his chest pretty badly on the coral below…that’s another nice scar to add to the collection.

Lunch was at a local warung, Mie Goreng for me and Bakso soup for Kyle, (Bakso is a kind of noodle soup with weird tasting meatballs in). This was enjoyed alongside a game of hide and seek with a little boy that just wanted to play rather than eat his food, shame his way of saying goodbye was shaking his bum in your face though! We booked our boat ticket to Bali and a ticket office owned by a woman from Leeds, she’s lived in Indonesia for years and spent 5 of them on Meno with her cats. It was nice to hear a familiar accent and I think she enjoyed our Northern tones too. We appreciated her honesty when booking our boat too, as again you have two options. The first which we nearly booked costs 250,000 rupiah each which we thought was great, until the nice lady told us that it takes 11 hours! So instead we’ve paid a little more, 400,000 rupiah each, for the fast boat, which takes about 1 hour 45 minutes…thanks again nice lady from Leeds!
Our evening was spent watching another beautiful sunset on the beach with a few bottles of Bintang beer, again we were lucky enough to have a stretch of beach to ourselves to watch the sky change colour, get dark and see the lights of Gili T light up the opposite island. We’ve both said that if we hadn’t already made plans in Bali that we could have spent the full 30 days of our visa here, it truly is beautiful. 

Our last day on Meno was no different to any other. We relaxed at the beach and cooled off in the crystal clear ocean. For tea we enjoyed yet another chicken noodle soup, for someone that said they didn't like it before we left I think I've converted.

A relaxing evening was spent looking back at photos and videos from the last 6 months. Seeing it all again really makes you appreciate the things which we have done, seen and experienced.

This morning we caught the fast boat to Bali and it was horrendous. Now, I've been on some boats in my time especially whilst in Asia and not one of them compared to this hell. I have never seen tans fade from 120 faces so quick in my life. The boat was hot, stinky, packed and more rocky than anything I've ever known. 20% of the boat were sick, and the other 80% were left feeling it...even me and Kyle struggled to hold on to our breakfasts, and this lasted the whole 1.45 minutes!

When we arrived at Bali it was pissing it down, and we had to change car 3 times before we could make our way to Kuta...but more on that journey next time.

Love Carrie xxx

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