As we awaited our speedboat ride from Amed, Bali to the island of Gili Air, Lombok, the beach was a frenzy of activity as women separated luggage by destination and carried suitcases on top of their heads to load them on top of the boats. We watched this organized chaos with wonder.
When they called us to board our boat they had all 20-30 of us place our shoes in a fraying red plastic laundry bin so we could wade out to the water to climb aboard the boat. Luckily there was a strapping 20 year old Dutch man behind me who held my tote bag and hand as I pulled myself up. Michael was lost in his own world assessing the thong bikinis that surrounded him!
Like most things in life, even though the events are fixed, our experience of them is unique unto us. So as Michael sat in the back of the boat laughing with the crew as water and waves sprayed him, I curled up in a ball, popped Dramamine, clutched a plastic bag and prayed for the ride to be over. One hour later, thankfully, it was.
As the boat pulled into Gili Air, a crew member instructed us to climb up and scale the entire outer length of the boat to disembark. I must have looked at him as if he were insane. But he just grabbed my tote and my flip flops for me and with as much grace as I could muster, hanging on for dear life, scale the boat I did. With a sigh of relief we grabbed our suitcases and climbed on a tiny, rickety cart pulled by an old rickety horse to take us to our guest house.
Welcome to Gili Air.
You see, there are no taxis on this island, no cars, no motor bikes, and for that matter, no roads. Only a sandy, dirt path which runs the perimeter of the island and takes about one hour to walk.
As we bounced around on the cart, holding onto our luggage, Michael looked at me with that look that said, “What have you gotten us into this time”? I wasn’t sure. But I told him, “The place is $18.00 a night, has AC and breakfast is included”. “EIGHTEEN DOLLARS”, he exclaimed, and settled right down.
The cart dropped us off on the path and the driver pointed us down a dirt alley which at home you wouldn’t walk down on a bet. But we were in it now. “Let’s go”, I said with as much bravado as I could muster. At the end of the alley, there was The Aloe Vera Bungalows where we were greeted with smiles and welcomes and a mango smoothie. They escorted us to our garden bungalow, the smell of the frangipani flowers scenting the air.
So, let me tell you what $18.00 will get you in Gili Air. A clean as a whistle bungalow, with AC, big bed with mosquito net, a small fridge stocked with water, a room fan, and an electric kettle with coffee and tea. A simple, comfortable room. The bathroom was large and like many bathrooms in SE Asia, the shower head is on the wall, a part of the bathroom. So, yes, when you shower, everything gets wet. There were decorative cut outs on the upper wall which allowed a breeze to come in, as well as bugs. Happily there was a sturdy door that separated it from the bedroom.
At about 30 meters from the “road”, the place was always quiet except for the sounds of the roosters’ morning call at 5:00 AM and the faint melody from the mosque at the same time. We slept soundly, and happily awakened to a delicious breakfast. My go to was watermelon juice and an exquisite banana pancake, Michael had creamy iced Vietnamese coffee with a vegetable omelet. We never had such a well spent $18.00 before. Of course, this had Michael calculating what his monthly rent would be if we never left!
What you can’t get for $18.00 perhaps, is a bungalow situated on the island’s “good” beaches, those with clear turquoise waters, and views all the way to the bottom. We are on the part of the island known as Sunset Beach, which in all honesty is not the most beautiful beach on the island, the water filled with seaweed and toe stubbing coral. But come twilight, people begin arriving on foot or by bike to take their seat on the beach, cocktail in hand, awed into silence, as this glorious sky transforms itself into a spectacular tapestry of color.
I’m not entirely sure what makes one place magical and not another, why sometimes we feel it and other times it eludes us. But here on Gili air, we did find magic. Part of it is surely the effort it takes to get here, the dreamy landscape, and the total absence of vehicles, everyone making their way by foot or bike save the occasional horse cart. The food helps, the warm, clear sea and of course the kind smiles and laughter of the people.
And those sunsets, those astounding riotous, sunsets. It is impossible to really know a place that you are touching upon for a only brief period. But this we do know. Gili Air has a kind of magic and we are happy to be under its spell.
+ Because we don’t have great Wifi from our current location in Bali we had to push the start of our Wingman Mastermind group back to Thursday, May 25th. Join us, and start manifesting your dreams.
++ You can practice with me every morning, by just clicking on my web site at www.beyourownwingman.com.
+++ If you want to improve your positive energy, increase your level of success, and begin living the life you desire, feel free to contact me for individual on-line sessions with both Janet, an LCSW and Psychotherapist for the past 20 years, and myself.