Gili Air

When we arrived a nice Swiss guy helped me to get my luggage on land. It was quite tricky there with walking through the water and climbing a bit. I was very grateful that at least the tourists care a bit for each other whilst the locals just have dollar signs in their eyes when they see white skin. On the Gilis there are no cars, motorbikes or scooters, just horse carts, push bikes and a few locals also have electro scooters (but this is rather the exception). My accommodation was on the other side of the island and there are also no proper roads, just sand tracks and dirt roads. So I asked one of the horse carts for a price. He wanted to have 100K and wouldn´t get down with the price. I decided to walk instead of paying one night accommodation worth for a 5 to 10 minute ride.IMAG2532 (FILEminimizer) It took me quite a while and it was very hot and strenuous on these roads, but I finally made it to Desa Ku. I was greeted by Saufi, the owner. He showed me my room and brought me a nice fruit juice mix as a free welcome drink. I had a cozy room to myself with shared bath room including breakfast for 125K per night.

Desa Ku is not directly at the beach, but it is only about 2 minutes’ walk to there. I liked it there a lot and Saufi and his family are very nice and helpful and the breakfast was delicious! After I settled in I walked around a bit looking for a dive center. I was already feeling a lot better with these anti parasite tablets, but still wanted to wait with diving for another day. All the dive shops on the island have the same prices, so I rather looked for security, quality and the human component and the feeling I had with the people and the equipment. I ended up with Blue Marlin Dive and booked the morning dive for the next day. I also ate a little something there and had a smoothie.IMAG2538 (FILEminimizer) I shared the table with a Swiss guy who had a severe car accident a couple of years ago with a traumatic brain injury. He had been in a wheelchair for years and finally started walking again on crutches. It was the first time since the accident that he went somewhere alone and he was super happy about it. We sat there for a while talking and then moved on to his favorite warung on the island. Unfortunately it was closed. He sat down in a close by bar and I went off to get some stuff done like handing in my laundry, bringing my dive license to the dive shop and do the paperwork. I also walked around a bit taking pictures and watched the sunset at the beach.

We wanted to meet again at 7 pm to have another shot at the warung. When I was on my way to there I found him in the same bar where I had left him. The warung was still closed so we just ate at the Spacebar and went to the beach later.IMAG2550 (FILEminimizer) Due to the pills I was taking I couldn´t drink any alcohol, so we cheered with fruit juice. Next morning I had to get up pretty early since I had to be at the Dive Center at 7:45 ready for diving with a breakfast in my belly. There was another woman diving, also German and only open water. It was just the two of us plus Chin and Fernanda working at Blue Marlin. Chin is from India and Fernanda from Brazil. She was doing her dive master training on Gili Air.

Due to the open water diver they had changed the dive site. It was one of my worst dives ever. While back rolling from the boat into the water I somehow managed to lose my mask (that never ever happened before!). Masks don´t float so it was gone. They had spare ones on the boat, but it was my own mask that I lost. Not only was it quite expensive, I also have problems finding masks that fit my small head without constantly leaking. So I was quite frustrated. Chin went looking for it. We started descending, but Fernanda couldn´t see Chin anywhere. So we had to go up again and wait for him. He came back a few minutes later and had my mask in his hands. I was so happy and grateful, you can´t imagine! I changed back to my own mask and we could finally start our dive. The dive site Halik was rather disappointing though, we hardly saw anything and the open water diver had lots of problems with her buoyancy and kept floating up. Since she said that all her other dives here where very nice, I gave the whole thing another chance when we came back. I discussed with Chin and Fernanda which dive sites I would like to see and booked the morning and the afternoon dive for the next day. They guaranteed me that they won´t change the dive sites this time. After putting on dry clothes and securing my pictures I went back to the dive shop since I wanted to try one of their bowls they serve for lunch. They sounded really delicious.  I was finally feeling well again and could eat normally, the pills did their job! I bumped into Rolf on the way, who ticked out a bit after I gave him a honest answer to his question how my dive was. I was not in the mood to be lectured and shouted at, so I just left him. If you don´t want an honest answer, don´t ask! I enjoyed a very yummy Zeus bowl. IMAG2551 (FILEminimizer)The rest of the day I spent reading at the beach, chilling and walking around. I wanted to go snorkeling at Han´s reef, but the tide was out and it was not really possible.IMAG2559 (FILEminimizer) I had a really nice dinner at Warung Ada,

IMAG2560 (FILEminimizer)
amusing excerpt from a menu

watched the sunset

and after I tried to book a flight. The WiFi at my accommodation didn´t really work, so I went to the dive shop again. It took me 3.5 hours until I finally had a flight and changed my ferry. I almost went crazy! But at least it was done finally. I had changed my plans of taking the 3 day live aboard from Lombok to Flores over Komodo to rather fly to Labuanbajo since too many people said it would be too risky in November. I had already spent quite some amount of time in Senggigi trying to make a decision, researching the tours, comparing prices and so on. The second day diving was so much better! I was very happy that I didn´t give up on diving the Gilis after the first dive. I had another dive master from that day on – a local named Hendra. We went to Sunset Reef in the morning and after lunch in another Warung around the corner of my accommodation (Warung zZz) and a short nap the afternoon dive took me to the Bounty Wreck. We saw so many fish, turtles, sharks, beautiful corals, it was just amazing.

After watching the sunset I went to Warung Sari.

The owners are very nice and talkative. Back to the sunset bar where I spent the evening with two Canadian girls and an Australian guy named Bob. The next 2 days I could sleep a little longer since I booked the 10 o´clock dives. Saturday we went to Turtle Heaven, where I saw my first octopus. Didn´t get a picture though.

I swam a few laps in the pool after the dive, had a few fruit, changed and started my walk once around the island.

I treated myself to dinner at Boagies right at the beach. Was double the price than in the warungs a bit inside the island. Sunday we dove at Han´s Reef. We saw sooo many turtles and the most gigantic sea cucumber I have ever seen.

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About mid dive without going any deeper my right ear suddenly started to hurt and didn´t want to equalize anymore. I tried everything, but it wouldn´t pop. I signaled Hendra that I have a problem with my ear, but also with his help I just couldn´t equalize anymore. I had to go up a little bit where the pain was at least endurable and stayed there for the rest of the dive, missing out on another octopus since I couldn´t get down to see it. When we came up both my ears hurt and I didn´t hear very well. Another few laps in the pool, went to Desa Ku to get changed and get the pictures from the GoPro and went back to the dive shop for paying and using the internet. I went for a light massage after and had a super healthy green smoothy at the beach while writing my journal. I went for dinner at Pura Vida. When I just finished Pelle (a Swedish guy who dove with me that day) and Fernanda showed up and joined me. So I got a desert. It started to storm and rain after a while so I went back. Ran into Bob again and talked to him for a while before going to bed. Monday I packed my stuff after breakfast, walked around a bit to say goodbye to some people

IMAG2576 (FILEminimizer)
discovered that on my way

and then went on a horse cart that Saufi had organized for me to get to the harbor.IMAG2578 (FILEminimizer) I needed to discuss a little bit due to my changed ticket and they tried to rip me off again. Apparently they didn´t have any change and couldn´t give me back the rest of my money. I tried out all the bars, restaurants and selling stands around for changing my money, but they all played along. In the end I bought something to drink to get some smaller money and payed the ferry guys with exact change. I had to wait for one hour until the fast boat to Bali finally arrived. There they put the luggage on the boat without charging you extra, it was a lot bigger, had proper seats and aircon. The aircon was set to freezer though. At Lombok we were not moving for at least half an hour but then we were finally off to Bali. I went to the roof top since I was freezing my ass off. It was nice and sunny. I was lying in the sun reading, watching some dolphins swim bye and chatting to other people. After about 2 hours, shortly before we reached Bali it started to rain and I went back inside. In Padang Bay I was not even properly off the boat yet and still waiting for my luggage when like a million people start trying to get hold of your ticket, trying to convince you that the shuttle you have booked and paid for is shit and takes more than 3.5 hours and you should rather come with them for “only” 300K (I already paid 350K for ferry and shuttle combined). They are really annoying and it´s quite hard to find the actual shuttle in this mass of people. Of course all those guys are lying to you. It was only like 1.5 hours with one stop in Sanur to let other guests out. This shuttle doesn´t do door to door service though, they just drop you in the city center. My hostel – the Gong Corner  Guesthouse II – was not too far away, but it was pouring down. So I asked a taxi anyway for the price, but the amount of money they wanted for just 1-2 km was outrageous so I ended up walking anyway. I was pretty soaked and my phone was dead when I finally arrived and I was completely pissed since you can´t make one step in this city without people trying to sell you something. I checked in and almost doubled out of the dorm again when I entered since it smelled so badly in there. The stink came from the attached bathroom and was apparently due to the rain. Didn´t make it any better though. Well, it was just for one night! I opened my bag and was surprised that it was only wet on the outside and completely dry inside. Very good quality, I just love this Osprey Sojourn! I walked around to find some food and ended up in a small warung with a very friendly owner and great food. I had a very lovely GadoGado. Back to the hostel I wanted to get some online stuff done, but there was no one there anymore who I could ask for the password. I had to wait for like an hour until finally somebody showed up. When I finished my stuff I went to bed which was pretty uncomfortable. I didn´t sleep very well. The bathroom was in a state that I didn´t even want to take a shower there. After breakfast the next morning I got something for my still hurting ears in the pharmacy and some fruit. Shortly after 11 I called an Uber to get to the airport (by far cheaper  than any cab).My NamAir flight was about 45 minutes delayed, but then I was finally on my way to Flores. I was more than happy to leave Kuta Bali!

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