Thursday, June 3, 2010
I arrived on Gilli Trawangan almost 2 weeks ago and I could possibly spend the rest of my living days here (if a certain someone was here to enjoy it with me, ahem). It is a little piece of heaven. No motorized vehicles on the whole island. There are barely roads, and the only things on them are miniature horses and carriage and beaten up old bicycles. The population of this island is less than 1000 people. I am paying less than $10 a night for a little room by the beach with a hammock, and breakfast included. Life is good.
During the first week I spent a huge amount of my time at about 30 metres underwater. I started off just doing some 'Fun Dives' and was enjoying it so much I decided to do my Advanced Diver course. Amazing. Nothing like the initial certification I did almost 15 years ago (which was sooo technical and boring). This level consisted of 5 segments: Deep Diving, Underwater Photography, Underwater Navigation, Fish Identification and Night Diving. My instructor was amazing, a Swedish girl named Malin. I was doing at least one dive a day and the underwater life here is so beautiful. I have seen so much underwater variety and after learning about all the fish I can ACTUALLY identify some of them too! Manta rays, sting rays, sharks, crabs, squids, octopus, turtles galore and more fish than I could even begin to list off. I am addicted to diving and its so cheap that its easy to do a dive a day.
In search of an adventure, some mountain fresh air and a little physical activity, I signed myself up for a 3 day trek up Mount Rinjani. Mt. Rinjani is on the island of Lombok, just a 20 minute boat ride from the Gili's. It has an active volcano on it, and a lake with hot springs inside one of the rims. This mountain is also almost 4000 metres above sea level (similar to Mount Fuji), and let me tell you the climb was HELL! I know I'm not exactly the picture of perfect physical health but I was NOT prepared for what I got. It was 3 days of about 8 hours a day of walking up and down 90 degree inclines on rough terrain. Needless to say my body was not too happy with me. It was an amazing experience (easy to say now that I'm back on the beach, but at the time I probably wouldn't be so forthcoming). There were 6 of us in the group with one guide and 3 porters. We climbed up, up and up on Day One. We arrived at the first rim, and set up camp. At 3am the trek (to make it for sunrise) was made up to the summit and then by early morning we broke camp and climbed all the way down to the lake and base of the volcano for lunch (did I mention there was a live volcano that erupted every few hours and at night we saw the glowing red lava flowing down the mountain? amazing stuff!). Afterlunch weclimbed BACK up to the other side of the rim and camped there.On the last day it wasa good6 hours of climbing STRAIGHT down. By the time we finished I was swollen, bruised, broken, sore, tired, hot, dirty, blistered, and... did I say dirty? Why did I chose to this recreationally? Who knows. But in retrospect it waslovely. Met some cool people, saw some cool stuff, that's what travelling is all about.
Now I'm back on Gili and so happy to be back in flip flops and a bikini and on the beach. It is OFFICIALLY one week till D-Day, when I start my long journey back to the motherland! So for the next week I'm kicking my feet up and sucking up every bit of relaxation I can get.