PART SIX: BALANGAN BEACH/GILI TRAWANGAN
We awoke at sunrise for our 6am appointment with the driver who was to take us to the boat for the Gili Islands. He had assured us that we’d have to leave immediately to make the dock on time, but he was nowhere to be seen.
At about 6.30 he appeared, disheveled and sleepy, and informed us that we were waiting on one more. Hunger pangs were at this stage growing in my stomach, but I bit my tongue and waited patiently; I feel all this repressed anger may eventually catch up with me, but I am resolute to relax and enjoy the rest of this failed journey. What will be, will be (I feel like I should know that expression in French. I will have to look it up when I get home).
Another twenty minutes passed before a weird looking bald guy with glasses appeared. He avoided eye contact and didn’t speak to us for the entire journey, yet was quick to take the front seat. I was unsure of his nationality, but I was certain he was a jerk (he was probably French). Finally, by seven o’clock, we were on the road!
Half an hour later we were unceremoniously dumped in a Macca’s carpark and told a bus would take us the rest of the way to the boat. This was somewhat of a surprise, but as my stomach was now turning on itself in a desperate attempt for sustenance, I didn’t care and scampered inside for a not-so-traditional Balinese breakfast. It is interesting to note that McDonalds is especially shithouse in Bali. I had always assumed Macca’s had achieved a standard level of shitness worldwide, but no, it is even shitter in Bali. You learn something new everyday.
At about 8.15 the bus finally arrived. I calculated we could have comfortably left our hotel at 7.30 am and still made it on time, given our driver also stopped for fuel on the way. The bus ride lasted over an hour and once again I was able to admire the beauty of the Balinese countryside, and once again shake my head at the people in power so hell-bent on destroying it.
We finally made it to the boat and were on the water quickly, where we were treated to a ‘lunch-box’ consisting of a bun that contained something like chocolate, a container of water – of which the simple act of opening was like trying to get into Fort Knox – and a lolly that tasted like an old sock. I wondered why they even bothered. We were also promised dolphins, but we got no dolphins.
After an uneventful hour on the water we arrived at Gili Trawangan, or Gili ‘T’ as the locals call it, where our first priority was accommodation. A cheeky little lad accosted us on the main drag and, sizing us up, used the fact a group of Swedish girls had just checked into his place as his key selling point. Needless to say we followed him and checked in.
He was telling the truth about the Swedish girls, but it was no small wonder they were actually staying there given the place was a complete dive. One might think the owners were paying them to stay there, but given their complete disinterest in us, it was evident they were no astute practitioners of PR.
We dumped our bags and decided to get the hell out of there and hit the main drag. Within the first couple of hundred metres I was offered drugs three times, and it wasn’t until the fourth that I remembered there are no police on the Gili’s! When the fourth bloke came at me, I just about bought everything he had. Fuck knows what half of this stuff is, but the mushrooms are pretty obviously mushrooms – I look forward to getting Mario Bros on their arse.
Then, proving that Irish bars are in fact everywhere, we stumbled upon one at the Southern end of the island and curiosity dragged us in. Just how do the Indonesians perceive the Irish? Pretty much the same as the rest of the world it would seem. Mad Dog fetched us a couple of beers, and I snuck away to do a line of something (MDMA?) in the dingy little bathrooms. I must admit doing a line off a toilet seat in Indonesia is an eye-opening experience. You really do start to question whether you’re making the best life decisions for yourself.
I returned abuzz to find Mad Dog chatting to a group of lovely German lasses, telling them of our failed quest to find Braith Anasta’s wedding. They understandably did not know who Braith Anasta was, and seemed to think he was joking anyway, which might have been a good thing – words like ‘weird’ and ‘stalker’ were being thrown out there, and I admit I was starting to feel a little uncomfortable.
I dropped a crack about the war, but it went down like an English bomb and it was clear we were losing the group. It mattered little as I began to feel an unusual cloud rippling through my body and it wasn’t long before I was struggling to keep track of what we were talking about. The lips of the girl next to me became captivating and began moving like an eternal flowing elastic, enticing me to jump upon them and float along their rhythmic wave in a perpetuity of joy.
I must have been staring because she suddenly stopped talking and asked if I was ok. I didn’t respond, just smiled gleefully and floated off to the dance floor where I spent the next three hours having the greatest time of my life!
I write this now from the dingy confines of our room as I struggle to get to sleep. I am experiencing my first ‘come down’ I suppose. It does not seem too bad. I am tempted to rack up again…
By Al McClintock