Gili Air, Indonesia

Hypocritically speaking……


If one would like to get a sense of the way the world is going then snorkelling would offer the perfect picture. Bali and Lombok like so many other jolly good places offer snorkelling left, right and, centre. The problem, every site you visit is or, is fast becoming a graveyard. As you splash around cursing every drop of water that gets into your mask you can’t help but wonder how amazing it all would have looked fifty years ago as opposed to now, a seabed of dead coral. On the Gili islands as we finished a day of snorkelling we were heading back to the hotel on the boat and I could see all three of the Gili islands, sitting barely 4ft out of the sea and then it dawned on me. In 100 years or so these islands will be long gone, consumed by the ocean and the reefs (carbon levels and sea temperature dependent) will take hold once again. I thought that was a great sense of irony, mother nature always wins. Of course, I saw several turtles and some jolly colourful fish on my snorkelling adventures. Seeing turtles was particularly exciting so that made me feel much happier about life. Again the irony being that the whole environment would be far better off if my companions and I were not there in the first place!

This whole trip has followed quite a basic routine, do stuff in the morning, spend the afternoon cooling off in the pool with a cheeky beer. It’s the kind of heat that makes you instantly sweat as soon as you leave an air conditioned room, I swear you can feel the sweat pouring out of you whilst stood out in the middle of a thunderstorm. This one time I felt a breeze, I think I have felt a breeze momentarily twice during two weeks and it felt epic! The aforementioned Gili islands was our penultimate stop before heading back to Bali. They are three beautiful islands with jolly nice sandy beaches and no cars. The only way to get around was pigmy horse and cart, legs or automatic push bikes. I coined the phrase automatic push bikes because I thought it sounded better than ‘dodgy bike that changes gear whenever the hell it fancies’. I tried to overtake a pigmy horse and cart on my bike and failed miserably most likely due to the sheer amount of sea and swimming pool water sloshing around my ears playing havoc with my balance. However, beauty aside the islands were basically a tourist haven and I once again longed for that campsite and a beer in the middle of Africa.

For my last day in Bali I decided to shake things up a bit and spent all morning and the early afternoon in the pool and then headed out to do something. Four of us headed off to see………. o yeah, a temple! It was situated on the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea and presented itself as an awesome photo opportunity. Two problems emerged, firstly we had tickets to go and see a traditional Balinese fire dance which happened to be a forty minute ‘play’ which, was worth the entry but lasted until dark which meant no light for a sunset temple picture. The second problem was that it clouded up and threw it down with rain, epic tropical style!

So what have I learnt this time!? Indonesia is definitely worth a visit, fantastic people ahoy and I reckon getting out to some of the other islands would be pretty sweet. Also, taking into account the recent Morocco trip as well, short group travel tours are definitely back in the good books. The group for this trip were a great bunch which always helps make a trip, along side the guide (who was also great) and, the country. Triggy 50. is just around the corner and I have decided it shall be celebrated, quite obviously on the continent that eclipses all others, Africa. I’m thinking Mozambique and Zimbabwe, finishing with a return to Victoria Falls for hard core white water rafting and a dip in Devils pool (google it). Thinking about it, should Antarctica be the 50th!? Hmmmmmmm………..

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