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Old 12-14-2011, 03:58 AM   #83
The Bigfella OP
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Joined: Apr 2010
Location: One of the Burj's
Oddometer: 2,490
So... here I am on Gili Trawangan, a nice little island just east of the Wallace Line

Wiki nicely tells me that the Wallace Line (or Wallace's Line) separates the ecozones of Asia and Wallacea, a transitional zone between Asia and Australia. West of the line are found organisms related to Asiatic species; to the east, a mixture of species of Asian and Australian origin is present. The line is named after Alfred Russel Wallace, who noticed this clear division during his travels through the East Indies in the 19th century. The line runs through Indonesia, between Borneo and Sulawesi (Celebes), and through the Lombok Strait between Bali and Lombok. Antonio Pigafetta had also recorded the biological contrasts between the Philippines and the Maluku Islands (Spice Islands) (on opposite sides of the line) in 1521 during the continuation of the voyage of Ferdinand Magellan, after Magellan had been killed on Mactan.

Didn't expect a biology lesson eh? Let me assure you, there's plenty of biology out there... lots of birds and bees stuff, but hey... I just had a relax.

I lazed around and had a damn nice nachos and beer for lunch. No bottled salsa here... made fresh. Whilst I was chatting to a nice young German lass, this got towed in...

Empty. No idea about why it was out there.

Meanwhile, there's a turtle conservation centre out front of my bungalows

... and some support for legalising the evil weed

I'd been trying for a while to get Microsoft Office working... so I could, joy, oh joy, do some tender responses due in with a client back home, instead of going diving again (the coral was better in Komodo anyhow). I've decided that if I win one job, I'll do it when I'm home for my wife's operation... if I win more, I'll park the bike in Bali somewhere and fly home sooner - rather than the planned parking it up in Cambodia. Its probably easier and cheaper from Bali. I'll just shift the planned end date for the ride (mid March) back a bit if I have to... but it may mean some wet weather riding on the run through Java.

I had Office pre-loaded but not activated on my netbook... but it wouldn't co-operate and in the end I gave up and paid double what it costs through the official Indonesian channels and got an Australian un-lock code. Thanks Billy Gates.... for the Australian rip-off.

There's definitely different prices for things here too. The bus/boat from Senggigi to here is 75,000 Rupiah asking price (call it $7.50). I paid $5... a local I've been talking to while I write these tenders said he pays $2 for the same trip.

Here’s one of the fast boats that does the Bali - Gili Islands run.

Yep – 1,200hp across the stern. They do the run to Bali in 90 minutes… much better than my 45 minutes or so in an open boat, followed by a horse cart to the bus station, bus ride, retrieve my motorbike and gear, ride to the port, 4 hours on a rust bucket ferry… and so on that I face... an all day run instead of 90 minutes.

That life raft that got towed in turned out to be from one of the fast boats. They guys turned up that evening and claimed it. It'd fallen off and self-inflated... nice to know they work... but no-one had noticed.

Depite meeting 5 of those fast boats at the annointed time the next morning, I couldn’t locate my daughter, but she eventually found me at the pub…. where I was watching some sport on the big screen.

It turned into a 14 hour stretch at the pub. Oops.

I stayed my first two nights in a semi-traditional bungalow… thatched roof, no air-con, outside toilet (bucket flush)…. and a rather unreliable water supply – from an uncovered 20′ deep well – brackish water btw… and I had to have a bucket wash as there was not shower, so I moved from here..

.. to the accommodation out back of the Fortuna Cafe. As I was walking down the path they were playing Riders on the Storm so I figured they can’t be too bad. I ended up paying more - $20, including breakfast – but got a much better bed, aircon (hey… this is the holiday leg of the trip… I’ve been staying in dives)… an inside bathroom and water, even.

Fortuna is right next to Tuna’s cafe…. who make magic mushrooms a bit of a specialty. They were getting plenty of takers, but I grew up in a magic mushroom town - and watched enough of my mates spewing their guts up to not be interested.

Phew… sexy legs eh?

I spotted these local lads the other day, whilst looking to buy a book… (now reading In Xanadu… an old travel tale), they asked me to climb it and hook up the electic cable for them… but I declined and decided not to watch them do it either… They were tying the second ladder on when I first got there. The stepladder was bad enough… extended out and sort of tied so it wouldn’t fold up…. then, with the bamboo ladder on there it was all pretty wonky. OH&S? Yeah… right.

Kim and I did some bike riding… we went around the whole island. Should’ve done it on one of these, a cebimo…

We had to push the bikes through soft sand about a third of the way (or more)… and were overtaken by some walkers, who beat us around. Kim was bright red in the face… bordering on heat stroke…. so we took a break in some shade and … a local came past

He had to be kidding…. a hoodie and long trousers!

So… after a bit of a rest and some rehydration… and a massage (the woman who does the massages at Kim’s resort… but at $15 instead of the $30 her resort charges)… it was dinner at Fortuna Cafe, with live music

These guys were great… they murdered a couple, but in a pleasant way… and they were great with requests. I even shouted them a large Bintang each….
… and I tucked into my BBQ jumbo prawns. Salads were great too.

Definitely one of the best meals of the trip so far. Kim had prawns too, and Tim… a Kiwi who was on the same boat over as Kim, had surf and turf. Amazing to think that Tim works for the same recruitment company that I used to – small world eh?

Ruli, the boss here (in the prawn photo) is Muslim, so declined our offer of a beer… but he was a brilliant host… and he absolutely murdered me with his offer “I make a special cocktail for you…. tiger something… gin… etc” Sheesh… it nailed me and I beat a hasty retreat.

There’s plenty of decent seafood here – lobster, Mahi Mahi, Snapper, even big Barracouda

It'd be rather easy to settle in here!

My dinner guest another night, (other than my daughter) dined on whole Barracouda....

On my final night on Gili T., I finished up getting to bed at about 3am (plus or minus - not sure I was in a fit state to be really sure)... then got woken by a call to discuss some business back in Oz at 6am. Um, yeah.....

Here's a couple of shots from party night

.... and the local lads got in on the act

A quick brekkie and it was an interesting open boat ride back to Lombok... and a cebimo ride to the bus depot (nearly gave the driver 2 x 100,000 and 1 x 10,000 notes, instead of 3 x 10,000.... he'd have loved that!)... and a microbus ride back to Senggigi to pick up my bike and gear.

I discovered Andras's bike at my hotel and woke him from his slumbers at 10:15am. He'd just spent 8 days on Sumbawa and enjoyed it, but also commented that the roads there were the roughest he's ever encountered. I have to agree.

Anyhow, after a catchup, it was off to find the ferry to Bali, which involved a blast through Lombok's capital and a run down to the port..... all with my party residual effects hammering me. Self-inflicted, but, phew. Made the 1pm ferry and got to Bali about 5:30pm.

As I got off the ferry, I noticed a couple of surfer dudes I'd said G'day to on the ferry hanging around on the wharf... then saw why. The cops were meeting the ferry and had a drug dog with them. I got waved through, but pulled up and asked directions anyhow.

I set off at a great rate of knots for Kuta, to try and beat the sunset, but had to pull up after a few minutes to try and discover what was crawling around inside my ear (note to self.... check helmet occasionally). Didn't find what it was - and when I told my daughter after I met her in Bali, she said, don't worry, it was probably just looking for somewhere to lay eggs....

Its a pretty good road down to Kuta - maybe 70km and some nice stretches... but plenty of traffic. I cut around to the front of the traffic at one set of lights and was waiting patiently, but turned around.... there were about 30 people on bikes behind me - and EVERY set of eyes was on me. Smiles and nods... one old guy gave me the thumbs up, so I returned the smile and thumbs up.... and popped the best wheelie of the trip when the lights changed. I rode the whole way like a 17 year old - which I'm convinced is the safest way over here.... always stay ahead, always overtake... the only difference is that you need to use the horn ALL the time... and you need 100% concentration. Some prick in a car did a U-turn in front of me, for example - but I was ready for him.

Anyhow - I got to Kuta just after dark and couldn't find the hotel Kim was at. No map, no idea of the lay of the land - and couldn't even read her handwriting. The traffic and roads in Kuta were horrendous.... the bike was hot, I had melted - was totally sweat-soaked and the joy was about to wear thin.

I ended up insulting one of the locals. I pulled up in front of one of the 3 million tourist shops here... and all the staff came out. I showed them Kim's note and asked if they knew the hotel - the shop owner said he'd take me there. Now remember... I'd been travelling (by boat, horse, bus, bike, ferry and bike again) for 12 hours - maybe even still pissed from the night before (doesn't happen on a regular basis, but, hey - it was party night)... with a couple of hours sleep.... anyhow... I said "How much?".... and he was crestfallen. Oops. Anyhow, I recovered by getting him in a photo... and he told his offsider to mind the shop and he jumped on his bike and led me to the hotel (which I'd overshot).

I did end up falling asleep on the table in the massage salon that night while Kim and I were enjoying a 2 hour package deal each.

So - apart from a few days in Darwin, I'm in the most expensive hotel of the trip - 350,000 Rupiah a night - call it $35 - hell's bells, its even got a TV (haven't turned it on, of course).
A man should only do the work that is required of him. To do more is a form of greed.

Ride through Oz and Asia
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