That time I visited 3 out of 18,306 Indonesian Islands, Part 2

After exploring Bali for nearly two weeks, I decided to visit two additional Indonesian islands:

Lombok and Gili Trawangan

Lombok is Bali’s neighbor to the east. It is a predominantly Muslim nation and it a relatively new tourist destination — meaning it is a lot less crowded and unfortunately, less accommodating than Bali. To get there, I took the public ferry from Padangbai, Bali. It took about 5 hours, but it only cost me $4.00 USD, so my wallet was very happy.

Once on land, I had to find a Bemo (taxi van) to Senggigi — the town that I would call home for the next two days. I had read online that there was an aggressive Bemo Mafia operating outside of the harbor and that I should avoid them and their jacked up prices at all costs. Armed to the teeth with knowledge from countless internet forums, I walked with my head held high and my eyes locked straight towards the exit.

And it worked. I didn’t get propositioned by a single driver. But, when I found myself standing at the edge of the town with no reputable drivers in sight, I was like, well shit! I still do need a ride!!

Luckily, one picked up my Western scent and came barrelling around the corner. I was able to negotiate a fair wage and I am still glowing from this small victory.

After dropping off my things I rented a motorbike and zoomed around the upper west coast of the island. I loved how mountain ranges seemed to pop out of nowhere and I gawked at the beautiful coastline that boasts magnificent views. I found the Muslim call to prayer very interesting and it was a special sight witnessing how the Lombok people centered their lives around their religion.

On my second day, I took my motorbike and rode further up the coast to the Bangsal, where I took a public boat ($1.20) to Gili Trawangan. Gili Trawangan is one of three tiny islands off the coast of Lombok. The islands are VERY popular tourist destinations (as you can get a fast boat from Bali to Gili T for $30-60) and they are famous for their beautiful beaches. The island are extra special because none of them allow any motor vehicles –they still have mule charts and mostly everyone is on foot or bicycles.

My entire day was spent alone (which was a depressing theme in Indonesia) wandering the beaches and avoiding wearing shoes. The water was stupidly warm in all the right ways and it kind of looked like a pot of blue and green jello that wasn’t yet well mixed. Tired from the sun and bored of my own company, I decided to call it early and I went back to the mainland for the evening. There, I ate a delicious dinner on a white sand beach and watched the sun go down.

I had planned to wake up early and explore a bit more of the island on my bike the following day, before catching a ride back to the harbor — but, a few moments before my alarm sounded, I was woken up by a loud CRASH. Using context clues, I knew before I even peered outside that someone had crashed their bike into another bike. I went outside to confirm my suspicions — and yep, I called it. Let the record show, friends, this is why they call me “The Caller”. There was my precious motorbike, lying in the dirt…wrecked. The staff at the hostel thankfully stepped up and immediately took it off to get repaired so I wouldn’t be accountable for the damage from the rental company. They also charged the German dude for the costs, so the only thing the accident cost me was time.
Eventually, I made my way back to the harbor. It was an hour drive on the back of a bike taxi. I had my big bag strapped to me (which is sitting pretty at 12k), so I was sore, sore, sore by the time I arrived. Settling into my seat on the ferry, I was looking forward to a long nap — and then the opening credits for a film started on the big screens up front, and you know…I’ve never been able to resist a movie.

But, when I realized what film they had selected for the entire boat’s viewing pleasure, I legitimately gasped aloud and said “NO!”

Wolf of Wallstreet?

This movie basically opens with Leonardo DiCaprio shooting a line of cocaine off a woman’s bare ass!! I shrunk down into my seat and tried to peel my eyes away from scene after scene of pure debauchery. So powerful was the urge to lunge across the aisle and shield the eyes of the 9-year-old girl who was sitting near me, sheepishly watching the screen while her grandmother dosed.

About halfway through the film–during a scene where the cast of rich, white American men were causing serious mayhem on a plane full of sex workers–it was finally switched off and another movie was queued up to take its place.

American Sniper?

I sunk even lower into my seat. This film basically starts with Bradley Cooper killing a small Muslim child and his mother. they were attempting to throw a bomb at American troops…but still! I felt like this was a strange choice for this particular ferry.

Once the film ended (two painful hours later) some Saint put on a mixture of dreadfully boring Indonesian music videos and I was once again at peace.

Back in Bali, I spent another evening in Padang Bai, Bali before making my way to Kuta the following afternoon. There, I decided to “pamper” myself by trying body waxing for the first time. Legs, underarms, the works. I went to a reputable place, but boy — was that a painful and uncomfortable experience!  In fact, I think I am a different person now.  I will never be the same. And I will never be doing that again!

And on that precious high note, I left Indonesia early the following morning and boarded a plane to Vietnam!

You can read about my Vietnam adventures in my next post, coming soon.

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