Full moon and magic mushrooms
Gili Trawangan Travel Blog› entry 194 of 658 › view all entries
People i met here who contributed to, and improved my trip: Julia (Russia), Markus (Finland), Eero, Matti, Antti, Jarkko, Jere (Finland)
'Welcome to Paradise' were the first words we heard as we stepped off our boat onto the sandy beach at Gili Trawangan. Having just seen a memorable sunset, been stood on a beautiful beach and then walking past some trendy small cafe/bars set on the beach, it seemed a pretty good term to relate to.
The Gili's, which consist of 3 islands, Trawangan, Meno and Air, are known on the backpacker circuit for their great beaches, vibrant underwater life, chilled out atmosphere and drugs. Within seconds of lugging our backpacks towards the strip of guesthouses just down from the jetty, we were bombarded with offers of weed, whilst most eating establishments and small shops were openly advertising magic mushrooms.
Our first night was spent watching the movie Evan Almighty, which was screened on a huge plasma screen, set beside a hotel swimming pool. To be honest, the humour didn't appeal to me all that much, a bit too Americanised for my taste. The evening developed a little further at Rudi's Bar, with the consumption of a few beers and by this stage a few of us decided to buckle and give the mushrooms a dabble. To our disappointment, there was no effect for any of us, so we chilled out in the bar and hit the hay a little after midnight.
Monday was a day of exploration, walking around to the south and east beaches to do some sunbathing and snorkelling. Although the Gili's came highly recommended for snorkelling, it really did pale into comparison with many other spots in Asia. On top of this, the dive operators were clearly set out to cater for package or short term toursists, thus they were pricing their dives at an optimistic $35. It certainly put me off from donning my scuba gear during my stay here, although they still manage to capture plenty of others, most of whom you hear telling the stories of 'my dive master said this is one of the top 5 dive sites in the World', which is surely the most overused and unjustified (in most cases) comment that flies around diving circles in this part of the World.
In the night time, the boys decided to organise a poker tournament and im proud to say that the English man, yours truly, came out victorious, leaving the 6 Finns in his trail and collecting $30, which paid for the bike debacle in Kuta! To celebrate, Markus, Julia and I went to sama sama bar and met Hannes for a few drinks, before heading onto a club until the early hours.
Markus was banging on our door on Tuesday morning, itching to hit the beach to do some surfing, and i had foolishly agreed to go down with him to take some photos. We hit the south beach where the waves were really crashing in, not realising that this wasn't really the best spot to be surfing. This soon became apparent, as the two of us were smashed into the shallow coral bed, time after time.
With the sun set, it was time for the full moon to appear, and as an added bonus there was also a lunar eclipse! The 8 of us sat enjoying it all from Rudi's bar, whilst munching on a tender barracuda steak. Another round of drinks were ordered and Matti's Bintang Beer came out so cold it was frozen. Returning it to the bar, the barman looked at the beer, looked at Matti (knowing he was a Finn) and said 'Its ok, you live in snow, you can drink that'.
Down on the beach, a bonfire was raging and a DJ playing, as the night began to hot up. To add to our bintangs, we went and sat on the beach and smoked a hookah pipe, then decided that we really did need to give the 'legendary' mushrooms another try. Once again there was no effect and we were to be again left disappointed. Not to get too down about things, most of us made up for the disappointment with more bintangs and by the end of the night, Antti and Eero were fast asleep on the beach, and the rest of us were rolling around in the sand. It was a lot of fun to say the least!
The following day was obviously one of hangovers and recollecting what the hell had gone on.
Up until Thursday evening, the only real highlights of the day had been some snorkelling. In fact, the evening was also petering out, when Markus and I decided that we were going to give the mushrooms one last chance. Now don't get me wrong, i'm not this crazy drug addict, who's scoring something every night, far from it, but i just wanted this experience which so many others had raved about. The fact we'd already tried twice, just kind of increased this desire! Anway, third time lucky, and i must say it was well worth the wait. Its a hard experience to describe and something which distorts your perception of things around you - in a good way.
The next two days were spent doing what most people do on the Gili's, basically nothing :) Sunbathing, a spot of snorkelling and getting stung by jellyfish, games of Ludo, plenty of fruit juices in cafes by the beach and of course watching some footy games on the big screen TV. Leeds continued their great start to the season with yet another victory and of course, this was enough to send me euphoric! After a week of great enjoyment, it was finally time to leave and it was also goodbye to the majority of the Finnish guys who were heading back to Bali, whilst Markus had foolishly decided to stick around with the 'odd couple', namely us.