Chapter 1: The good
As mentioned previously, our Ubud driver fixed us a cheap deal across to the island of Gili Trawangan or ‘Gili T’ as it’s informally referred as. This magnificent island has a population of about 3500. It also has laws forbidding any engines on land. This means the only form of transport is via horse and cart or bicycles! We settled for the latter to avoid placing any further strain on the already over-worked horses. Biking was brilliant, you can cycle around the entire island in less than an hour and it is also a lovely loop hole for drink driving! The constant hassling from businesses remained as constant as ever but instead of taxis you are offered magic mushrooms (legal on the island). For the first 3 nights we stayed in the luxurious Villa Nero, way beyond our budget but Brogan paid for it as my early birthday present which was an awesome surprise! The second three nights we were back to budget accommodation in a hut (but it had air con so who’s complaining?!) On Gili T, we went on a full day snorkelling tour in the crystal clear waters (cost £6 and the safety definitely reflected this). We saw sea turtles and a surprisingly good amount of fish considering the price we paid. We also stopped at the quiet Gili Air for lunch which is even smaller than Gili T.
We ate at the fly infested night market (incredible food), drank beers on the beach while watching the sunset from the tiny island. We got drunk, went paddle boarding, had a laugh with the locals, encountered another batch of Bali Belly but it’s all part of the fun! Yep, a dreamy island, what could possibly go wrong you might ask…?
Chapter 2: The bad
On the day of our departure, Brogan and I were woken up by a strange shaking sensation. After confirming I wasn’t having one of my monthly nightmares, we established that we were actually awoken by a 6.4 magnitude earthquake which was moving the hut side to side and shaking the curtain poles. It was quite scary as anything over a 6 can instigate a tsunami (with a tiny island being the last place you want to be for such an event). We thought the earthquake may have affected our fast boat back to Bali to catch our flight the day after, but in true Balinese it was business as usual. It’s difficult to describe the boat journey other than absolutely crazy. The crew did not hold back at all on speed and given the sea was seriously rough from the quake, this led to some pretty risky travel. Every minute or so the boat would leave the water and slam back down with a lot of passengers screaming out each time. The sick bags were out and people were throwing up left right and centre. The whole floor of the boat shook and made some worrying noises each time we plummeted back on the sea. I found the whole thing brilliant (you pay good money for rides like that at Disneyland) but Brogan was less impressed, and I don’t blame her, the journey was genuinely dangerous looking back. An hour and a half later we made it back to Bali, ready for our flight in the morning.
Chapter 3: The worst
So for 3 months, we haven’t made one mistake. Flights, buses, trains have all been caught with no fuss and we’ve planned all our days and budgets with very few issues. Why should the most important flight of the travels to meet our two friends Dan and Leila be any different? After establishing the flight departed at 13:00pm, we had a relaxed morning and began to pack. At 9:45AM, we rechecked the flight schedule and to our horror the departure time clearly stated ’10:45AM’. Perhaps inevitable at some stage, we’d misread the arrival and departure times, which almost instantly caused a severe influx of stress in the room.
We raced around, threw some clothes on, dragged our bags downstairs and managed to convince the receptionist’s husband to ‘fast drive’ us to the airport. The time was 10:25 when we arrived at the airport and our flight departed at 10:45. Drenched in sweat, we sprinted through security, made it to the check-in desk and after arguing for 10 minutes…… we were not allowed to board. What a disaster I know. We have now booked onto another flight and with a lovely 8 hours of airport time to waste, what better time to write a blog hey?! If you thought it couldn’t get worse, our friends who we should now be with are chasing down their main luggage which has arrived in Pakistan!!!