Last sunday I left Ubud for Gili Trawangan. Reason: all the awesome people I had met in Bali were either there or on their way there and I had spent very good quality time with them and wanted some more of that.
The reality though is that as soon as I set foot on the island (after a very rough bumpy boat trip. me and my sea sickness.argh!) I got a bad vibe from it. I had just arrived and I coudn’t wait to leave. And there are 2 reasons for that:
- I didn’t feel safe. I didn’t take a bike on the first day and walking in the streets felt dangerous. Coming from Ubud where everyone is just so kind and they would greet you on the street and you answer back and just have a short nice chatter, I carried on with the same attitude, turns out it was the wrong thing to do! Walking across the island to get to the sunset view point wasn’t the most peaceful walk.
- It’s a party island. And yes, I knew this prior to going there but I didn’t know how much of party to expect. If you know me at all you know I’m no party girl. And damn it was PARTAAAAY! People stay out all night drinking and dancing until the morning. You’ll have more than one person trying to sell you some kind of mashrooms or weed to smoke.
I freaked out the first night. My thoughts were ranging between “I’m glad I’m only staying here for two nights” and “maybe I should just leave in the morning -if I make it to the morning- and not care for the fact that I already paid for 2 nights.”
But I stayed. And it got better. I rented a bike the next day and went for a ride around the island. I haven’t been on a bike in a long time so that wasn’t the easiest thing to do but it was enjoyable. Gili Trawangan’s circumference is about 8km of bumpy roads, adds to that: detours and having to push through sand on some unpaved stretches. I finished the tour and sat at a little restaurant to refresh over a glass of mango juice. When I was about to leave I asked the cashier about the mosque. She said it was a little far and was so nice and invited me inside her house to pray. She was apologizing for how modest it was and the mess but I felt like I should be apologizing for the intrusion.
The second night I skipped partying out (AGAIN). It meant that I didn’t get to hang out with my friends at all, but it also meant that I got to befriend new people. The staff of the hostel invited the guests for dinner. And it was one wonderful feast of home cooked rice, loads of sambal and freshly fished fish (can I say that? haha!) And honestly, I would choose having an authentic local meal with local people over partying out any day of the week! It was funny how they described the Sambal they served as sweet but for us foreigners it was spicy hot!!
The best thing that Gili T has offered me though was this: sitting at breakfast, the sweetest boy approached me asking the very common question among traveleres ‘Where are you from and where are you going next?’ I told him that I wanna go to lombok and try to climb Mount Rinjani. He told me that it’s closed after the earthquake and wouldn’t open until summer, shared his experience of climbing it 3 times and showed me pictures telling me how much he misses it. He talked about it with tears in his eyes, and I realized that the mountain is more special than I thought. I went back to my seat thinking that it’s unfortunate I won’t be able to climb it. Some minutes later, he called me back saying that he’ll go to Rinjani with me!! I moved back to the to the bar (he’s the bartender in the hostel I stayed at) and we started planning the Mount Rinjani trek trip together. And just like that.. I’m now in Lombok, waiting to hike Indonesia’s second highest mountain in two days inshaAllah…