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Published: October 2nd 2017
After a mini van, private driver and a private boat we arrived on the white sands of the biggest 'secret gili' Gili Gede. We arrived right on the beach of our resort 'Thamarind' and were immediately offered an 'upgrade'. Obviously upgrade to us means free upgrade but apparently not on this island. Much to everyone's surprise we went for the cheapest option - the tent! The island itself was much quieter than Kuta but was paradise on earth. The resort had pieces of coral and wood for shower heads, sun beds right on the beach and a free breakfast which was decent. However the prices on the menu definitely showed us this wasn't our usual accommodation choice! That afternoon we spent most of our time sunning ourselves and relaxed. Went snorkelling off the beach, met Theresa and Max (from Germany) who were staying at Thamarind and went for dinner (outside of the resort.... obvs).
After our first night in the tent surrounded by crabs (literally) we got out of the ever warming tent and headed out on a snorkelling trip. We went to 3 different sights around the surrounding smaller islands. We saw loads of different fish. Our first Clownfish and a giant cuttlefish in all its glory - was awesome! After getting back we went out for food again at a local shop (where it was MUCH cheaper) and ordered a Pot Mie and 2 ice coffees. The lady (Shineene - at least that's what we thought she was called) even brought out some rice and fish for us to eat - we must have looked like complete scrubbers. We were also trying to arrange a way to get to Gili Air when the Local bobby/taxi driver approached us to offer us a sketchy deal for a cheaper ride which obviously we jumped at. After this, more relaxing and sunbathing before heading back to the local budget traveller refugee camp (the shop). We ate another nutritious meal of Pot Mie, without any extras, and met Eddy (our snorkel trip guide) and Shineene's husband. We spent that night finding out about the island from them. Turns out it is a very quiet fishing island but has been getting progressively busier as the tourists who go there are increasing every year. We couldn't help thinking if we come back in 5 - 10 years it would have changed a great deal! They also told us about a big house on the island can be rented for 30 million rupiah a night! (1 pound is 17 thousand rupiah). Obviously we considered that option but thought the tent would be more fun.... We also promised them we would learn a few basic phrases in Indonesian so we could chat with them the next day.
On our last full day on Gili Gede we woke up early to watch a beautiful sunrise, it was so peaceful and changed through every imaginable colour. After brekky we decided to walk around the entire island, so headed out early equipped with towels, snorkels and plenty of sun cream (although by this point we were both sporting pretty cool tans). The island has 7 small villages dotted around. All of the villagers were so smiley and friendly and as we went along we practised our Indonesian phrases on everyone we saw. They all seemed to love chatting with us and found some of our pronunciation pretty hilarious but as the day went on we seemed to get the hang of a few basics.. Apa kabear = how are you, the common reply is "baik", siappa namamu = what is your name, you reply nama saya jack/char. We also learnt all the numbers 1-10 and how to say 100 and 1000, yes, no and a few other random bits that the villagers taught us. The opposite side of the island, where the sun sets had some really cool places to stay, they were not listed online but had they been we probably would have chosen to stay on this side because it seems more set up for travellers rather than minted holiday makers (hence why we could only afford a tent). We found a really cool hangout which was being run by a dutch yogi hippy type and hid out chatting to her in the mid day sun. We did some snorkelling of the beach and then later layed on the beach playing cards until the sun went down. On our way back we stopped off at our little shop to show off our new Indonesian phrases which went down very well. So well in fact a group of local lads wanted us to come back and drink coffee with them at their house. We sat chatting with them, 98% in English for an hour or so, meeting their family and drinking coffee, a very lovely end to our time on Gili Gede.
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