“Gili Paradise” Bali | Indonésia #3
Gili Islands are synonymous of “Hakuna Matata” or the lyrics of Bob Marley´s song “don´t worry about a thing.” It´s such a relaxed and peaceful life. OMG! So relaxed the fact of a tsunami warning given for the Solomon islands didn´t bother us at all. My mom messaged me regarding the warning. The news weren´t clear and, later on, the warning was no longer in force – the Gili´s were not targeted for such catastrophe.
This small archipelago has 3 islands – Gili Trawagan, Gili Meno and Gili Air. Gili Trawagan, known as “Gili T,” is the most developed – you can find already a wide range of bungalows, resorts, even a Blu Marlin. The others are not quite explored, maintaining its originally wild and natural appearance.
We were about to faint. Our backpacks were double the weight for our bodies triply exhausted. We were up since 2am due to a night trekking to a volcano, plus a hard bus trip without a glimpse of air conditioning, ending in a very uncomfortable boat with a bunch of intoxicated homo-sapiens who courted and grunted like little baboons.
Arriving at Gili T, a bunch of locals massively approached the “new-joiners” suggesting accommodation. We followed the first one who came to us into the island – a “gollum” kind of guy with dark skin, nostrils of the size of a marble and a very messy hairstyle. The streets were dirty; skinny cats and cocks were craving for food. Our tiredness gave place to distrust. The hostel was called Sunrise. No luxuries, but with essentials: wi-fi and a suspicious menu of non quite legal substances.
“Welcome Home!” – said Izzu and Eddy, the two brothers who managed the hostel and the guests.
That place became our home. Everyday the two brothers prepared us breakfast, played guitar at sunset and on the way back: “Welcome home!” They asked what´s the typical dance from Portugal and laughed loads when I showed videos of our popular festivities. I laughed even more when Eddy and Izzu raised their arms in the air following the steps at the same time.
At Gili school goes up to 4th grade. The essential to learn how to write, read and speak english. For further studies there are schools in Lombok, a neighbor peninsula. Eddy and Izzu made school until the 4th grade. Enough to help with the family business.
During those days the main hobbies were staring at the sun and cycling around the island. It takes two hours to go around Gili Trawagan. There´s no cars or motorcycles. You can walk, ride a bike or a cart pushed by a donkey. Sunset had the most magnificent spectrum of colors, a moment everyone cherished along the beach bars at the sound of reggae music. We couldn´t be happier with our vacation choice, an oasis for both body and mind, away from the chaos of urban hubs. “Oh well, Hakuna Matata!”
I celebrated my birthday on our favorite place to dine. A simple seaside restaurant with a magnificent “welcoming ceremony” of fresh fish and a very cozy set of tables on the sand, lighted by torches. After dinner, a band always sat down beside us, playing nostalgic lyrics adrift in beer, wine and cigarettes. A british couple joined us. Two years ago they left London, sold everything and bought bungalows to rent. Come back? Such words no longer belong in their vocabulary.
“Happy birthday” was played by the resident band. From the kitchen came a banana pancake cake with chocolate; from my travel fellows a necklace that matched my dress; and from me the feeling of a fulfilled promise.
Coming back was out of our mind set. When I removed my backpack from the corner, a cockroach came out of nowhere. Weeks ago I would have stepped on her, slightly pleasured by the cracking bellow my flip-flop. I opened the door, instead. Keep calm, thank you Bali.
Maria Bonifácio Lopes