Gili Meno an island described as a ‘holiday within the holiday’, the place you visit to become ‘one with nature’, the ‘ultimate castaway experience’. This descriptive terminology was exactly what attracted me to this tiny little island just off the coast of Lombok. I can happily report that right now I am completely chillaxed, laying horizontal with laptop on belly, a fresh coconut cocktail to my side, whilst listening to the sound of waves lap ashore.
Rewind 24 hours and it was a different story.
Before you commit to reading further I would like to point out that this post is a bit different to what you will usually find on my blog. You won’t find any tips, top tens or interesting facts here. This is a post describing how I can be a complete twit sometimes when it comes to travelling. Right now I would like to think of you as my confidant and I in the confession box, ready to purge and cleanse myself of yesterday’s travel sins. So are you ready for this commitment?
Ok…. Let’s begin…
Last night my friend Pip and I decided to walk to the other side of the island to watch the sunset. Instead of walking around the island’s perimeter like any sane safety-conscious female would, we decided to take a short cut through the local community. The small dusty tracks past little warungs and shanty huts were quite a cultural experience at first, but then these little tracks started to get a bit more “rustic” and before we knew it we were deep into the Indonesian jungle. Dust soon became mud, and then mud soon became knee-high mosquito infested water, which was the colour of rust. Of course Pip and I had the perfect attire to deal with this situation. We were both dressed in tropical cocktail dresses with pretty matching sandals.
By the time we made it out of the jungle and found the safety of the beach our pretty little sandals had magically transformed into what I can only describe as cow herder shoes.
Pip was borderline hysterical as she waded into the ocean to cleanse herself from whatever water-borne tropical disease she had just encountered, whilst at the same time announcing to the world that she hadn’t had any jabs and was going to die.
We found the haven of a nearby restaurant for some much needed alcoholic beverages and food and then we made travel sin no. 2….
After we finished dinner instead of following the herd of tourists walking back to their accommodation, we thought it would be a far better idea to order a horse and cart. The kind waiter gladly arranged this with a ‘friend’ and we boarded the horse and “carriage” like two tropical Cinderella’s. The horse bolted and we were whisked away back through the jungle by two local men, but this time in the pitch black.
Pip looked at me and I looked at Pip with that knowing look of ‘Shit! Are we going to survive this….. again’.
The roads got darker and darker and the sounds of Mecca from the island mosque got louder and louder. At one point the cart driver made a phone call. I was convinced it was to the group of men awaiting our arrival, so the wife/slave auctioning could begin. Obviously I am not writing this post chained up in a cow shed deep in the jungle, but back at the resort safe and sound albeit after 10 minutes of trauma. Pip and I were so relieved to be alive that we ended up paying double the money to the bewildered drivers.
We had made not one, but two piss poor decisions in the space of 3 hours and our general neurosis regarding the current world political/religious standing did not bode well with our reasoning. We can laugh now, but at the time we definitely wanted to cry.
Anyhoo, on a lighter but still #StressfulExperience note….. I tried to go snorkelling today and made the snorkel rookie error of not checking the tides. Turns out at the exact time that I was doing my best Ursula Andress impression, was the exact time it was not just low tide, but super low tide. I was literally crawling across the reef on my belly. I finally found a nice patch of waist-high water to explore and ended up getting stung by about 20 mini jellyfish. I think that’s what you call Karma…..
Luckily the sting wasn’t too bad as I don’t think you can get vinegar here and I really didn’t fancy Pippa having to pee on me. Hopefully this evening’s beach BBQ and drinks at the bar will be a more lighthearted jovial experience.