Trip Start Sep 27, 2009
122Trip End Ongoing
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The time finally came and we went to pick Rich and Julie up from the airport. The traffic in Kuta was mental so we were late getting there but luckily it took them hours to get through customs so we were waiting for them when the arrived. It was so awesome to see them, we can't explain how great it was, we were so excited! We took them back to the hotel and introduced them to Bintang (Indonesian beer), we had a few beers and a good catch up, it was really strange as after the initial 30 seconds it felt like we had just seen them yesterday, not over 9 months ago!
The next morning we got picked up from the hotel nice and early and headed to the port in Bali to get the fast boat over to the Gili Islands. The Gili Islands are three small islands off the coast of Lombok (Lombok is the next island East of Bali). The three islands are tiny and famous for the gorgeous beaches, great diving and great snorkeling. The islands have only recently had electricity and there are no motorised vehicles on any of the islands so people have to get around by horse and cart. Gili T is the largest and most developed island, Gili Meno is the smallest and least developed and Gili Air is somewhere in between.
The fast boat was excellent, we all just sat on the top deck relaxing in the sun and saw two huge groups of dolphins! It only took just over two hours and we arrived in Gili T. From Gili T we haggled with some boat men to take us over to Gili Meno where we spent our first 3 days. Julie had organised all the accommodation for the islands so when we arrived at Gili Meno harbour the girls got in a horse and cart with all the luggage whilst Chris and Rich walked up the beach to the 'Shacks'.
The Shacks were out this world, absolutely amazing, we really can't rate them enough. There are only two shacks, Shack 58 and Shack 59, Shack 58 is right on the beach and Shack 59 was just behind in its own gorgeous garden. The rooms were huge and beautiful, we both had outdoor bathrooms which were really cool, our shower was hanging off a tree! The rooms were complete luxury but we didn't spend anytime in there as each shack had its own beach front gazebo! Shacks 58's gazebo was huge, it had a massive 'day bed', a sofa, huge dining table, small table and chairs and even a fridge full of ice cold Bintang's, it was amazing! Shack 59's beach front gazebo was a bit more modest but just as unique. Then we even had a little stilt hut on the beach a few metres from the sea, the place was just superb!
The Shacks were run by a local guy called Henkie, his wife and 3 other girls. They were all excellent and so friendly. They made sure we had lots of cold Bintang's, made us an awesome breakfast each morning and cooked us any other meals if we wanted them too. Henkie was the main man and he was great, a real character and made us feel really welcome.
The first afternoon we were just in amazement at how great the place was. Henkie and the girls made us a fantastic lunch and we just chilled on the gazebo with a few Bintang's. The beach in front of us was really beautiful, the water was crystal clear so we just admired the view. We couldn't believe how quiet the place was, we saw one person walk past all day it was crazy! Rich was head over heals in love with his 'day bed' so spent most of the first day on there and we all just relaxed, drunk lots of Bintang's and watched a beautiful sunset.
That evening we went for a walk along from the Shacks and found a rustic looking restaurant so we had dinner there along with yet more Bintang's. We introduced Rich and Julie to some Indonesian food like chicken satay with peanut sauce, gado gado, urap urap and noodle soup and they were really impressed with it, the food was delicious! After dinner we went back to the Gazebo and spent the rest of the evening chatting and looking at the stars which were beautiful.
The next day was all about relaxing, we spent all of the day either lying on the beach or chilling out in the gazebo. The beach was great but it did have a little dead coral washed ashore due to the El Nino which occurred a few years ago that bleached and killed most of the coral. Rich was glued to the 'day bed' but did get up to do a bit of snorkeling in the afternoon! The reef was about 100 metres from the beach and was really good, the corals were really beautiful and looked really good since they are still recovering.
Rich and Julie went for a walk part way around the island that afternoon but we were too lazy we didn't want to move from the Shacks! That evening we went for dinner at a little local restaurant next door, we sat on one of the beach platforms and had a few beers waiting for the food. It took ages for the food to come out but when it eventually came the food was excellent again.
The last day on Meno we just did much the same! We all chilled loads on the beach and on the gazebo, drinking Bintang's and eating great local food. We were reluctant to leave the gazebo but the snorkeling was meant to be brilliant in Meno so we eventually mustered up the energy to walk further up the beach to a snorkeling spot called Meno wall. We were so glad we made the effort as the snorkeling was amazing, best we have ever done! The current was strong and it was really choppy but we saw loads of beautiful coral, lots of colourful fish and best of all we saw 3 turtles! The turtles are so cool we didn,t expect to see them so it was a great surprise!
For our last night Hengki cooked us some fresh fish on the BBQ on the beach. The food again was delicious and we had a brilliant last night having a few more Bintang's on the gazebo still catching up on the last 9 months.
The next morning was Ems birthday so she opened up her cards and had a couple of birthday pressies and after breakfast we reluctantly left the shacks. We couldn't have asked for a better start to the holiday, Gili Meno was the perfect place to begin. The Shacks were just fantastic and we did nothing but relax, it was brilliant. The next door neighbour gave us a lift to Gili Trawangan and Henkie and the girls all waved us off from the beach, we were all really sad to be leaving but excited to get to the next island too. The only thing we were worried about was how Rich would react without his day bed haha.