We left idyllic shores of Kuta Lombok for the nearby island of Gili Trawangan or better known as Gili T. Gili T is known for scuba diving, picturesque beaches, and a backdrop party scene for young backpackers. Not being young backpackers or scuba divers, that left us the beaches. We boarded a 30 minute speed boat to cross the waters from Lombok to Gili T.
Good-bye to Lombok in the background. We will miss you.
One of the best things about our time on Gili T was the airbnb we stayed at. The villa boasts two master bedrooms with cozy beds, dark wood interior design with tropical accents, outdoor showers, private plunge pool, and staffed with a half dozen of the nicest local boys who keep the villa spotless, breakfast cooked and continuously helped with bike rentals, food recommendations and more. We aptly named it the “Pimp Palace.”
In many parts of Asia AirBnb is taken to a different level than elsewhere in the world. Many of the rentals come with staff who cook your meals, clean everyday, drive you around town, and in some cases entertain you. These sort of creature comforts in the Eastern world are easy to get used to.
Agus was our house manager for our stay at the Pimp Palace. He greeted us at the boat with a wide smile and a soldier’s salute. I mirrored the salute not sure if it was a custom I was unaware of. So began a friendship with Agus. He had three other staff with him that would carry our luggage to the villa as he briefed us on the island as we walked.
We arrived to this…
Double bonus: Getting served a Bingtang through the kitchen window while enjoying the island air poolside.
The next few days was a mix of relaxing, enjoying the beaches, trying out restaurants, riding bikes, and discovering odd ways to entertain each other with the rainy weather.
It was our first night while sipping on sundowners when Peter started to predict weather and precipitation patterns that a new nickname was coined. Due to Peter’s lovable old-soul tendencies, including a predisposition to fret about rain storms, I had been calling him “old man rivers” for awhile now. As the dark clouds rolled in and Peter’s attention was caught up computing the minutes till the first rain drop, I chided him with, “we will be fine old man rivers.” Andrew, upon hearing this name for the first time, nearly choked on his sip of beer. Once he caught his breath he joined in, “yeah OMR.” And so the nickname OMR began.
The rain did come rolling in just as OMR predicted. So while we were laughing about the nickname, Peter got the last laugh and tried his best to explain that being aware of your surroundings is not “old man rivers.” This only solidified the nickname further.
Gili T has a law against motorized vehicles so the only way to get around is by foot, bikes, or tiny horse drawn carriages.
One of the best activities on the island is to grab bikes and ride them around the entire island loop. Without making stops it takes less than an hour. There are many places to stop along the way and grab a seat by the sea which can make for a great way to spend the day.
On one of our bike rides Peter and I took the opportunity to do a photo-shoot for my friends, Shastin and Suzie, who had just started a line of jewelry and apparel for girls called August Girls. Shastin had asked me if I would take pictures during some of our travels that she could Instagram showcasing the bracelets in different areas of the world. Not being comfortable as a wrist model, I tried my best at being natural. When their company goes big my claim to fame will be that I was their first international wrist model.
Another pastime for us was trying out the varies cuisines on the island – Indian at Pesona, Italian at II Pirata, and seafood at The Beach House. The Beach House was a real treat because it was one of those culinary delights where you pick your own fresh catch of the day and the chef prepares it to your specifications.
We also enjoyed the white sand beaches and the bean bag lounge chairs that adorned the coastline. Where can I purchase these perfect ergonomic delights?
When it wasn’t raining we sought out various sundowner locations on the West side of the island. You can see the island of Bali in the distance.
On our last night in Gili T I came up with a game to entertain the crew.
If you look around at the souvenir shops on Gili T it consists mostly of “backpacker” clothing. Think Bintang tank-tops (or any beer logo tank-top), elephants pants in all bright colors, weird satchels and cheap knock-off sunglasses. Its the uniform for travelers in their early 20s that want to blend into the travel scene with one another. Why these people feel they should dress so strangely from their usual attire in a foreign country is beyond all three of us. Well, two of our three person crew. I can’t make too much fun. When Peter found me in Bangkok a few years ago I was in the backpacker zone myself with some pretty ridiculous clothing choices. With that said there are stigmas that come with the typical backpacker attire.
Proof of my “backpacker” days and that I am not being disparaging and that I can make fun of the concept. I even have a Lonely Planet book tucked in the side of my enormous backpack for extra points. How “backpacker” is that? Plus look at my dress.
So back to the game/contest.
We would each be allotted 100,000 Rupiah (approximately $7.50) to purchase the best “backpacker” outfit in 10 minutes.
We would all wear our outfits the next day and each of us would get one vote (other than ourselves) on who had the best outfit. The evening of the contest we sat at a bar and one-by-one a person would run out of the bar with only 100k Rupiah to their name to create the most ridiculous outfit. If you weren’t back in 10 minutes you would face disqualification.
This was a fierce competition which involved a race against the clock, tough negotiation skills, and a quick instinct for backpacker fashion.
Peter raced out first and disappeared into the cluttered shops of Gili T. With about a minute to spare he sauntered back in the bar looking like he felt pretty good about his selections. I received a bit of a clue, “the amount of money allotted doesn’t get you much.” Or was he strategically trying to throw me off?
It was my turn.
I raced out of the bar and decided to go to the closest shop. I quickly realized that Peter had spoken the truth, the money wasn’t going to get me much. Basically one big ticket item. Meaning either a top or a bottom. Time was ticking. I tried to explain my dilemma with the guy working at the shop. He liked the contest idea and helped me find outfits that matched my adjectives of “loud and ugly.” He even found me a great hat.
However, when it came to price, the proprietor wouldn’t budge. The idea of “renting” an outfit came up, but I knew that wouldn’t work as the contest involved wearing the outfit the entire next day en route to our next island destination. Plus, I didn’t know if that would be cheating. Why is this backpacker attire so expensive? Seems counterintuitive!
Feeling somewhat defeated I decided to go for a tank top and a pair of shorts. I would forgo the loud elephant pants.
But then something came over me at the cash-register. How could I not choose the bible of backpacker pants? It seemed so wrong. It was at this point that the shop-owner could see how pained I was not having both items (note: I can be scary competitive. I am aware of it and working on it). He softened by saying, “well maybe you can have both top and pants.” Sensing my positive momentum and thinking quickly I invited him to have a drink with us at the bar across from his shop. He agreed to come and he agreed to both items for 100k rupiah. I left feeling triumphant.
Andrew went last.
We were at a bar in the busiest part of the island. Hearing both of our complaints that the money wasn’t enough, he took a gamble that the shops would be less expensive further from the center. He decided to sprint as far as he could for the first few minutes, shop for a few minutes then sprint back. The time would be his achilles heel. However, he returned just as the 10 minutes was about to expire, completely out of breath, but sporting a pretty smug smile. He felt that the gamble paid off. There would be no telling until tomorrow.
The next morning was the Super Bowl and the Seahawks were playing in it. Peter and Andrew are both fans of Washington teams having lived in Seattle for many years so were excited to wake-up for the game.
The game would be televised around 9am local time so we all set our alarms accordingly. We awoke to Andrew cursing himself. He had mixed up the time zone conversions and the game was already at half-time. This was not the first time we’ve had a time-zone mix-up (#worldtravelerproblems). The guys rushed off to the game in seconds flat and agreed to put their backpacker outfits on after the game. I took my time and put my contest outfit on and met up with them shortly after.
As I walked the Gili T streets by myself a guy sitting at a bar called out, “I like your style.” This contest was mine.
The Irish Bar had the game playing on various TV’s throughout the bar in addition to a giant projection on a large wall.
We settled in and watched a pretty heartbreaking game for Seahawk fans. WHY DIDN’T THEY RUN THE BALL?
Is the guy in the corner smiling at my outfit?
After the heartbreaker we headed back to the Pimp Palace to pack up and head to our next stop, Nusa Lebongan.
The guys also changed into their contest outfits.
We had all adopted a different backpacker theme. Peter went with cheesy party guy. Andrew went with soul searcher. I went with hippie.
Later that evening the guys voted me as the victorious one. Although I don’t know, those guys brought it. Who would you vote for?
I tell you what, that outfit was pure comfort. I really miss those pants.
Gilt T was a fun change of pace and environment from Lombok. However after taking a few days off from surfing the guys were ready to get back to it. Luckily they would be able to do just that at our next destination in Nusa Lebongan.
Peace and love from Gili T. (I am a hippie backpacker at heart)