Getting the hell out of Flores and back to paradise

Transportation in Indonesia is absolute chaos. I’ve learned you have to be very patient… sometimes you have to sit and wait for hours. But then it gets fucking crazy. All of the sudden 100 people screaming in Indonesian swarm around you and start picking up your bags and shuffling people around and you have no idea what to do or where to go. Somehow it always works out and you end up on the right bus or boat, but I’m always amazed how it happens. Flores was just like that… We had to call 24 hours in advance to make sure we would have a bus waiting for us in Sumbawa after we got off the ferry… just making a phone call is an ordeal. Anyways, we are expecting to get on the ferry at 8am and then another traveler comes and tells us the ferry would be arriving at 3pm instead. So Rachel and I checked out of our crappy hotel in the morning to go down to the harbor and hang out while we wait for the ferry. While we are waiting someone else comes and tells us that the ferry won’t be getting in until 7pm. Fuck. We are stuck in Labuan Bajo… my least favorite place I’ve been so far. So we decide to just make ourselves comfortable and wait around for another few hours. We actually gave ourselves manicures and pedicures in a restaurant while streaming “48 hours Mystery” on my computer hahaha. Suddenly someone tells us that the ferry is here and we must leave NOW or we will miss it. So we run to the harbor and of course it is fucking chaos. Then they tell us that the ferry isn’t going to leave that day anymore… so now we are stuck one more day in Labuan Bajo after wasting an entire day waiting around. I was so fucking happy to get on the ferry the next morning and get the hell out of Flores! After and 8 hour ferry ride we get off in Sumbawa to more chaos and madness. Some guy grabs our bags and starts yelling at us to get on this bus that is already completely full… people standing, sitting in the aisles, piling up on top of the bus… I was pretty pissed. It’s a 20 hour bus ride across Sumbawa! We get on and have to sit on either side of the driver! Sumbawa is beautiful but very rural so we are bumping around pretty much in the drivers lap as he speeds across the bumpy dirt roads. After about 2 hours we pull up to a large bus depot and then once again everyone is screaming at us and throwing our luggage around pointing in like 20 directions telling us where to go. I was so relieved to get on a different bus that actually had seats for us to sit in! We were exhausted at this point so I put in earplugs and passed out, but our driver would stop like every 20 minutes to let his friends on the bus and they would all scream at each other in Indonesian and wake me up. Seriously I was so confused… I think around 3am they let people on the bus trying to sell us grilled corn. At one point I opened my eyes and thought the bus was on fire because it was full of dust and dirt, our driver left his window open and all the dust came on the bus. Everyone was coughing and covered in dirt. Then the toilet overflowed… and the smell also woke me up. I will never complain about a bus ride in California ever again! Finally we get on the ferry that takes you from Sumbawa to Lombok and the bus gets on the ferry too so we were able to fall asleep for a little bit. Then… they let a little kid on the bus with a fucking tambourine… this was about 4am and we had been up traveling for 24 hours. I wanted to kill them… Finally we get to Mataram, Lombok, not one of my favorite cities but I was SO happy to get there! We get to the travel agency around 9am only to find out the next boat to go to the Gilis doesn’t leave until 5pm so we have to wait some more. Luckily the people there were super friendly and bought us breakfast and lunch so we hung out with them and listened to music and messed around on the computers while waiting. So after 30+ hours of traveling we FINALLY got to the Gilis!

There are three Gili islands, Gili Air, Meno and Trawangan. Each one is different, so we went to Gili Air first because it is the most quiet and calm island. No cars or motorbikes are allowed on the Gilis which makes it sooo nice. You can walk around Gili Air in an hour and a half. It is absolute paradise, crystal clear water, beautiful coral reefs and palm trees everywhere. We stayed in the cutest little bungalow right on the beach and relaxed all day. Somehow after all the traveling we had been doing we ended up going out drinking our first night there. The was a little bar next to our bungalow so we decided to check it out. The guy who ran the homestay we were staying at also worked at the bar and he really liked us so he kept giving us free drinks. There are no police on the Gilis so it was the first place in Indonesia we saw people smoking weed in public. We definitely had to partake in that… After a couple of drinks we were dancing and having a great time but I was surprised how intoxicated I felt, and I didn’t really feel drunk… I realized the drinks we had been drinking had some magic mushrooms in them! Haha Rachel and I had a great night and it will definitely be a night I won’t forget! The next day we went snorkeling and relaxed on the beach all day. We met a few locals who own a bar on the beach so we went there for sunset then stayed and sang songs on the beach with them playing the guitar. The stars here are so bright and beautiful, I just laid in on my back staring at them singing “Imagine”, it was a perfect night.

The next day we went to Gili Trawangan, “the party island” because it was Friday night and we wanted to have some fun! I liked Gili Air more, but Gili T has its own charm. There was about 10x more people there and lots more restaurants and bars. We partied at Rudy’s bar on Friday night and got home pretty late so the next day we were hurting a bit… Seriously I don’t think there is a better place to recover from a hangover. We laid on the beach drinking fresh fruit smoothies overlooking one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Later in the afternoon we went to this little place that has bungalows where you can watch movies on the beach. We rented Bruno and ate gelato and popcorn, so freaking cool! Of course we met more locals who took us to watch the sunset. The view from Gili T is gorgeous because the sun sets over the ocean and you can see the volcano on Bali right next to it. One of the locals we met is a professional photographer so we got up early the next morning to do a little photoshoot on the beach for him. Unfortunately we were super tired and I wasn’t very happy with the pictures but it was still fun! After all the buses, ferries, and boats we had been on we decided we were NOT taking another 6 hour ferry back to Bali so we booked a fast boat and got there in an hour instead. As soon as we got off the boat we went straight to Ubud where we are now. Ubud is fantastic! I really like it here but I will have to write more about it later…




1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Sara Mikkelsen
    Jul 27, 2011 @ 05:31:03

    It’s wonderful to be able to read all about it, almost as it happens! I’ve taken bus rides like that and they suck, though letting that kid play the tamborine at 4 am was over the top! Once I had to sit next to the driver but on top of the engine; it was incredibly hot! I think the locals know how to avoid those pitfalls.


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