Published: June 15th 2012June 12th 2012
We landed on this peaceful island after a 10 minute boat ride and took a room opposite the pier at Rustys for one night so we could go in search of our perfect piece of beach paradise for the next few days. This island is very chilled - no town - just a restaurant, shop, bar and dive business by the pier – all owned by Rusty I think and his yapping bossy wife. The pier is really only a tiny ticket window, you climb into the boat from the waters edge. As we walked the sandy track round the island for 1.5 hours we passed bungalows and villas scattered along perfect stretches of white silky sand beaches.
We found what we were looking for - bungalow right on the beach accompanied by a beach shack restaurant. This beach had the best area for off beach snorkelling, sunset and a view back across to Gili T. So booked the grubby little bungalow for NZ$47 per night (location, location, location) for the next 3 nights and moved in the next day.
It was hot and a 25 minute walk on a soft sandy track with our backpacks
on so we tried to barter a pony cart but they wanted NZ$10 we would not pay more than NZ$6. So we walked for a few minutes and a freight pony cart picked us up for $6. We rode, or should I say bounced, along with a ladder to our new bungalow. Half way along we could hear "gurgle, gurgle" coming from the Ponys rump. Next minute, he stopped the pony, got off, held up his tail whilst Carl watched "plop plop splash" into the pooh sack! Smelly..
We pick a wooden cabana (I don’t know what to call them but bamboo raised platforms scattered with cushions, a cane table on top and a grass hut roof), collect all the cushions off the other Cabanas and attempt to get comfortable on the wooden platform. We sit for 3 days and nights, with the occasional movement to snorkel off the beach or do another lap of the island, or visit the European owned restaurant around the corner to watch the sunset and eat hamburgers. At night we would watch the locals in barefoot in the water at low tide, manned with a torch, searching for seafood amongst the coral and
We chatted with local mums who continually walk the island with heavy baskets of fruit on their heads, and chop you a pineapple or open a coconut and poke in a straw, all for a couple of bucks. The local men walk the island trying to sell the same imported souveniers. They seem so defeated, they all say the same thing “no tourists, very quiet, no money”. They even show you the inside of their empty wallet; “they definite real pearl”, doing the lighter trick – you cant fool me mate - I know they are plastic.
You know what they should ban on the islands – bloody roosters!
We stayed at Good Heart Bungalows,honestly they have no idea, they appear to lack any initiative or knowledge as to what the tourists want. The bathroom walls and floors needed a good scrub, the crockery was dirty, the mosquito net and the piece of net curtain on our window were filthy and the cabanas and loungers were falling apart. Inside the reception the glass cabinets looked like the top had not been wiped clean ever. The shower tube was bent at the join so the water
just spilt down the wall and if you took it off the hook, it spurted everywhere from the multiple splits in the tubing. The floor boards had gaps and was dusty, but you expect that most times - when sitting on the loo you sometimes got a visit from the cat from under the floor. The bed, mattress and cane dresser were all good. Then one day a boat arrived and they unloaded new vanity tables for each bungalow and new bed heads plus a new glass cabinet! It’s like what? I would rather have a rubbish bin in the room or a decent curtain no one could see through, or fill the gaps in the floor and walls, or fix the shower, or buy comfortable cushions on the cabanas or pads for the loungers. A new bed head and vanity table – really? The food was tasty; we tried not to look in the kitchen, we had our suspicions!
Breakfast order: “You can have omelette, pancake, toast or fruit”
“Toast please” “We have no toast”
“What do you have?” “We have omelette, pancake, toast or fruit”
“Toast Please” “We have no toast”
"What type of pancakes then?" "Banana or Pineapple Pancake"
"Banana pancake please"
"We have no banana"
My mind drifts back to that perfect magazine advertisement with an aerial view of a small lush palm covered deserted island, laced with white sand with the shades of reef visible through the transparent turquoise waters. Whenever I see that picture I always think oh what bliss, I wonder if we will ever get a chance to relax on a beautiful island like that.
Well, here we are - Meno is that island. Its a tropical paradise, but after 3 days we had enough. Enough sun, enough dirty crockery, enough of the hard lumpy cushions, enough of the dirty bathroom, enough of the crappy shower, enough of the hard wooden loungers. There was just a lack of food choices cooked in a clean kitchen within our budget. Plus the last 2 days the beach had been a little agitated so we only got one day snorkelling in.
This island is dearer than Gili T, but it is a beautiful, peaceful, blissful, and the beaches are fantastic. The piece of beach we
stayed on is the best it just needs cleaner budget accommodation options. I would come back for a few days definitely, but I would stay in Mahamaya next door. Its expensive but looks amazing and gets great trip advisor reviews. They are also building a new resort nearby. You can also walk past the Bounty, this looked fantastic in its time, it has been desserted since 2002 bali bombings, water still in swimming pool!
But still we move to Gili Air. Accommodation –
Good Heart Bungalows.. We paid NZ$47 for a bungalow on a perfect piece of beach. Dirty Crockery, dirty bathroom walls and floor. Good bed and clean toilet.
C more pics below and Gili T blog for moe travel info on Gili Islands.
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