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Published: March 27th 2011
After three days and night on Gili Trawangan we decided to move on to somewhere quieter. We jumped on an island hopping boat (all of 23,000 IDR for a half hour trip) to Gili Air, the nearest island to Lombok.
This island proved to be much more like what we were expecting. Really quiet and peaceful but still with a few bars and restaurants to keep us stocked with Bintang beer. The snorkelling a mere meter or so off the coast is great and you can see thousands of brightly coloured fish darting around coral outcrops. The current is quite strong though and you need the flippers to stop you being swept out to sea. We walked around this island in less than an our. On our coastal trek Kris narrowly missed falling over a goat and we spotted two impressive monitor lizards. Clearly the little cousins of those on nearby Komodo.
When we arrived we followed a tout at the harbour and ended up checking into a beach hut right on the west coast, footsteps from the sea, which on this side of the island was totally calm and flat and you could see fishermen standing with their
Our beach hut
around $10 a night, which is cheap for this area of Indonesia.
rods, about knee deep but 20+ meters from land. The hut was run down but fine with a balcony complete with a bed for relaxing outdoors and a view of the ocean and the promise of a sunset - if only those rainy season clouds would clear....
Our first night on Air we made our way to bed wandering along the unlit coastal path from a restaurant using a headtorch. It was when we turned out the light back in our room that things started to get interesting.
First of all, as I was shutting the door in the dark to stop the room filling with moths and mosquitos attracked to the light, I snatched a glimpse of a small shape darting into the room from outside. I followed it by torchlight and found it was only a cat. I chucked it out and we tried to ignore it clawing at the door as we tried to go to sleep.
Then sometime in the night after the cat had given up and gone to try its luck on another bungalow, I went to the toilet - leaving the mosquito net slightly open. Within no time Kate had
found a cockroach on my pillow and jumped out of bed flashing the torch around the room. There are certain things you don't want to find in bed with you late at night. One of those giant venomous centipedes obvioiusly being the worst but cockroaches still rate highly on the list. Couragously I punched the cockroach to death through the mosquito net. It took four hard clouts to finish it off. Now, I'm no Mike Tyson but I'm still a million times bigger than a cockroach. Just imagine how tough a Godzilla sized roach really would be. Anyway, once the body was removed we tried to put all thoughts of creepy crawlies out of our minds and settle back to sleep.
Then there was a weird noise from the fridge. Something seemed to be moving around under it. Again there was more torchlgith action as we tried to work out the source - without luck. We ended up having to go back to bed and ignore it and hope whatever it was wouldn't lay eggs in our ears during the night.
Just as we'd come to terms with the wildlife we were jolted from sleep by an explosive tropical
storm. The room was lit by lightning and the rolls of thunder and drumming rain made it sound like the roof was caving in. But at least it drowned out the creature from under the fridge. At some point in the early hours in peaceful Gili Air we finally got some slipped.
The good news was the that it cleared the sky so we woke to brilliant sunshine filtering through the curtains over a dazzling turquioise sea. Well, actually the first thing I saw when I opened my eyes was a disembodied cockroach leg on the pillow next to me but I quickly flicked that away trying to remember that the roach had had a worse night than me.
The following night we let ourselves into our hut by torchlight again and went into the bathroom. The first thing I saw was a cockroach. Great. Then, as my eyes panned out, I noticed a rat-sized purple and brown lizard - known as a tokay because of the noise it makes - which suddenly ran over and bit the head off the cockroach.
The rest of that night was happily cockroach free, perhaps thanks to our giant friend
in the bathroom. The noise under the fridge came back, but accompanied by a clucking noise that suggesting it was a chicken and not something able to lay offspring in our brains while we slept.
The moral of the story is - you can have the sea, surf and sun of the tropics, but you have to accept the storms and the creepy wildlife and the cockroachs - and the dodgy digestion problems. Honestly, it's a nightmare really.......
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