After last Tuesday’s adventures, the rest of the week was tame by comparison. Thursday evening we went to Pretty Poison, essentially a Malibu house party in the middle of a rice field. Pro skateboarders showed off their skills in an empty pool, surrounded by expats, locals, and visitors drinking Bintangs while cheering on the stunts and falls. Inside a packed dance floor was flanked by locals offering free tattoos (maybe next time).
Friday we went to bed early in anticipation of our 6:30am pickup to the other side of the island, where a tiny series of docks awaited hundreds of tourists making their way to The Gili Islands. Little did we know, the best part of the trip would be the 1.5 hour, stunning speedboat ride where we made new friends and drank beers while taking in the views of the turquoise waters dotted with islands all around us.
Upon arrival we walked through the trash filled, unpaved streets to our “hotel” which was more like a 0.5 star hostel, still under construction. There’s one main street on the island, and abused horses pull carts filled with goods and tourists through the dirt, as everyone else tries their best not to get run down (it’s a carless island). Forget the friendly welcome attitude of the Balinese, these people are here to make money. We DID however find a pool with a swim-up bar, grabbed our new friends Luke and Bogden and proceeded to drink and swim the day away under the cloudy skies. Unfortunately, we forgot to put on sunscreen, and by the end of the day, we were all BURNT to a crisp! The sun and humidity on Gili T (the one of the three Gili Islands we stayed on), doesn't help the smell of the trash littering the streets and beaches.
Dinner was next, but after Jessie consumed something that was supposed to be butterfish, but was most likely Escolar, the night was over. We headed back to the room for an uncomfortable night’s sleep punctuated by the Muslim call to prayer around midnight and before dawn. The normally beautiful sound was unwelcome in our exhaustive state. Unlike the entirely Hindu island of Bali, The Gilis are Muslim.
First thing in the morning we resolved to skip the second night and take the afternoon boat home. First however, we wanted to go snorkeling with the turtles, the highlight of any Gili trip (or so we were told). An overcrowded boat, and crappy snorkeling equipment were just the start. Though the water was warm and delightful, what lay under it was sad and disheartening. After years of Japanese occupation, and the islander’s lack of respect for the environment, including dynamiting for fish, the coral reefs are a graveyard of broken, brown and bleached death. On the last of our three stops, we saw a single turtle. It was immediately chased by 75 divers with go pros and underwater cameras shoved in its face. Run turtle run was all I could think as I made my way back to the boat.
We simply could not get off the island fast enough. The very best part, besides making two new friends, was the overwhelming thought that I wanted to go home, and I didn’t mean LA, I meant Canggu. There’s nothing like a trip to The Gilis to make you realize just how amazing Bali is. There is no comparison, and Canggu is the best Bali has to offer. When we finally got back to the villa, I knew I was home, and I was grateful for another adventure confirming it.