After the busy few days in Hanoi I hopped on a plane to Indonesia!
I was particularly looking forward to this part of my trip just because I’d seen so many photos and blogs about other peoples time here. So after a ghastly 11 hour stop over in Singapore airport. I arrived in Bali!
Soon after landing, I whisked off to the ferry port and got myself a boat ticket straight to Gili Air. I’d not heard much about this island but I was meeting a couple of friends who I’d met in Vietnam so I just followed their instructions on where they were.
By this time, I was awfully tired. I hadn’t slept in 30 hours and so for most of the boat journey, I slept. Which was a blessing in disguise as I later on heard that it was a terrifying boat trip with a mental driver who was going way too fast and apparently made the boat fly on several occasions from hitting waves at high speed!
When I got to Gili Air the first thing that caught my attention was the friendliness of the locals. Fresh off the airplane from Vietnam you can imagine my trepidation to everyone’s friendliness and eagerness to help me. From what I was used to, anyone who was being nice to you usually wanted something in return. So after my first few steps off the boat and people offering to help with my bag or help me find where I was going, I automatically assumed they were scams of some sort.
With a rough idea of where I was going I set off into the island in search for the hostel my friends were staying at. After walking for twenty minutes I decided to ask someone for directions to reassure me that I was walking in the right way.
I happened to come across a lovely man named Gunthar (don’t know how he spelt it but it’s pronounced how I spelt it there) who was surprised that I didn’t get a taxi from the peir and informed me that the hostel I was looking for was very far away!
He then started to give me directions- stopped and said “no- don’t worry. I’ll take you.” He then took my heavy 15kg bag off my back and walked me to my hostel. On the way, asking me what my Favorite football team was and asking me loads of questions about what it’s like to live in such a big city like London.
I learnt that he’s never left Indonesia. He works in the shop I met him outside of with his brother. It’s a family business and that he loves the English football team Chelsea.
This is something I wanted to talk about. The pure kindness of this island is just so humbling. Unlike the places I’d just been to where when locals talk to you, there was a 70% chance they wanted to sell something to you. Here, people would ask how you were just because. Or wondering what you were up to or even give you a good suggestion on what to do with your day.
After walking me to the hostel, he stayed with me up until the end of check in, made sure everything went smoothly. He then gave me a firm handshake and a warm smile and said goodbye. Never saw him again.
At that moment I knew. This was going to be my favourite island.
The next few days were amazing. I felt like I as in a tropical wonderland where there were no cars and no motorbikes. Only bycicles and horse and caraidges with smiling faces with fully stocked coral reefs at your door step.
Next day I’d be cycling around the island and see the fishermen bring back their giant catches for the day. Let me tell you, they’d give my Uncle Sam a run for his money. Id never seen a real life tuna before- and they’re huge!
Then I’d find myself eating dinner with some new found friends eating the best tasting fish I’d ever tasted in my entire life. (I am truly convinced that I ate the fish I saw being brought in that morning- main reason why I ordered the tuna steak. Which was divine!)
This was a match made in heaven. I’d never felt more suited to my surroundings. I can’t fault this island. I just wish everyone could experience it before everyone discovers it. It won’t always be so modest. Whilst exploring the island we came across a huge part of land was being built into a hotel resort. Hilton style.. With a giant, obnoxious sign. It’s going to be huge and I suspect, very popular. Just like everywhere else, it’ll soon become a tourist spot and it’ll lose that sparkle that made it so bright.
I am so pleased to have experienced Gili Air. It’ll probably stay to be the best part of my trip. It was the exact reason why I went away in the first place. To experieince and have what I had in Gili Air.