I'm sitting in our room in Gili Trawangan (aka Gili T), looking out at our lovely porch and some Russian ladies who are lounging on the chill-out deck across the way from my room at The Happy House, the place we have been staying for the last 4-5 nights. Time has become amorphous, and I often don't know what day or time it is anymore.
Gili Trawangan is 8km in circumference, and has no motored vehicles on it. People get around by walking, bicycling, or horse buggies.
It's one of the most interesting places I've been in the world so far from a cultural perspective. It's further East than Bali, and while Bali was 80%+ Hindu, Gili is mostly Muslim, and I am hearing the familiar call to prayer from the Mosque loud speakers again. The circumference of the island is a huge party; Beachfront bar after beachfront bar, with music blaring all day, and gentle calls from the staff to get you to come in and join in the revelry. Western tourists are the most common sight along the main road that winds around the island and consists of packed dirt and uneven stones depending on where you are. Women in bikinis abound, and I've heard plenty of ridiculous stories about the ragers that happen here (although I haven't participated in any, besides hanging out at a Shisha bar one night until 11:30 #party).
Walk 20 feet in towards the center and the bass starts to fade and you are soon in the local communities, including many traditional Muslims, with the women wearing Hijabs. It's completely bizarre, but somehow the two opposing cultures co-exist.
The Happy House// Bo
The vibe here is really beautiful when you get off the beaten track a bit. Many locals call to you 'hey Sister!' or say "Welcome home!" when you get to their shop or restaurant. The place we are staying is run by Bo, who we believe is a guru. He is a 43 year old Indonesian man from Lombok, who looks like a very fit energetic 30 year old, except for his eyes that show his wisdom. He has long black hair usually pulled back into a bun on his head, and he along with the 2 other staff are never wearing shirts. He has a son Arjun, who is adorable and a complete flirt (he's 3).
Bo is always full of life force, literally 100% energy every time I see him, even though most of his day is spent hanging with his staff smoking weed and maybe drinking some vodka while they work around the place. He owns no possessions. The hotel is owned by his Russian girlfriend, who I've only seen once, and Bo spends his days being the boss, and leading by example for the other staff, Chandra (aka Moon) who is the manager and Ozzie (aka Little Monster). I believe this means 1) keeping the vibe of the place 2) being here to support the guests and show the other staff how they should treat the guests. He truly believes and treats us like we are family. 3) showing his staff that it's OK to smoke/drink as long as you get your work done. The 3 of them have made us feel completely at home; they kind of guys that went to grab me a pizza one night when it was raining and I didn't want to walk and get my stitches wet (story coming up next). The kind of guys that massaged my arm when Sita, the house cockatoo who is an elegant diva in her own right, nipped me when I was trying to say hi to her. The kind of guys that made me a hot water/onion/lime concoction to help nurse my foot and told us about the herbal medicines they have used their whole lives. I could write a few blog posts about the stories they've shared with us, maybe I'll do that soon :)
Stitches on a remote island
10 minutes before we were picked up to go to our ferry from Nusa Lembongen to Gili T(which I wouldn't recommend going to, if you are considering it, skip it and go to Gili T!) a plastic bag that I was holding broke, and a glass jar I had in the bag fell and shattered, sending a large shrapnel right into the arch of my right foot. In shock I pulled the glass out of my foot and with blood everywhere I sat down in the midst of the glass and blood as David got me bandaged and cleaned up. (shout out to Dana for telling me to bring a first aid kit!!) I laid with my feet up the wall trying to figure out how the hell that happened so quickly, and trying to not panic about how this would impact the rest of the trip. Yogic breathing really helped me stay present.
We decided it wasn't bad enough to skip the ferry (as far as we could tell) and the driver was there already so we didn't have much time to make a decision anyway. David was suddenly in charge of 2 large travel backpacks, as I slowly tested out walking on my foot to the car. The driver asked David to pick me up since I was going too slow, so David had to carry me out to the car which made me feel quite helpless.
I made it through the ferry, and then wanted to try walking with my backpack on through Gili T once we arrived, mostly I think to prove to myself that I could do it and I wasn't going to be bedridden the whole trip. The journey was slow, as I picked my way over uneven streets trying to keep my weight onto the outside of my foot. We made it to the Happy House, they told us they overbooked and took us to a place down the street which was not nearly as happy, and I promptly started crying after the house disappointment coupled with my sad cut foot and general homesickness at that point.
David being the amazing person he is went to get food and help me cheer up, and figured out where the hospital was, and then we rented some pretty awesome bikes and made our way there. I discovered biking is a lot easier for me than walking, which is a plus on this island. 5 minutes after arriving I got local anesthetic shot into my foot (queue the yogic breathing) and then got deep cleaned and stitched up using a stitching technique the transported me back to what WW2 must have been like. I got 5 stitches, antibiotics, antibiotic cream and some bandages for $200 USD, cash payment required. Overall I felt safe and cared for; it was one shared room which meant myself and another patient were in the same space without a curtain for a while, and before he started the stitches the doctor assured me everything was sterile without my prompting which made me a bit unarmed.
Leaving me with instructions to keep it clean and dry, and to remove the stitches in 7 days (which perfectly coincides with our flight back home, I think), I was off to start my exploration on Gili T.
Keeping a foot clean and dry on a remote island that doesn't have cars during rainy season is absolutely impossible. So, I went snorkeling once, which was 100% worth it because it is AMAZING here, and I've also gone hiking in the rain, and I'm generally not letting my foot keep me from too much (although I decided I shouldn't go swimming or snorkeling again:( ). I'm being vigilant about taking my antibiotics and trying to rest it when I can.
Time has snuck up on me again, and I need to get ready for a full moon ceremony we're having with some of the local women I've met here, so I'll stop the post here for now. So much to share, and so much time dedicated to relaxing makes blog posting tough! ;)
Thanks for reading. xx