The beginning of my trip this time is on Thursday afternoon after work. I left Jember, East Java, for Bali Island by economy class coach. It took 11 hours to get Ubung Bus Station in Denpasar, Bali. Arriving in Denpasar, I had been waited by Henry, a co traveler, who arrived earlier. Then, we headed to Ngurah Rai International Airport to Lombok International Airport. We also took the economy class. It was a bit worrisome because we got seats next to the emergency door, near the propeller. Also, when the plane flied through a thick cloud, it felt like we were going up and down. It was noisy too. I kept sending prayer asking for safety. It was my first experience to the Eastern part of Indonesia. And it was the furthest destination too so far. The first thing I did after reaching the ground was sending my gratitude to God with a big bright smile, gulped much water, and took pictures around banner and neon box with ‘Welcome to Lombok’ on them.
We waited for my friend who lives in Lombok. Ewig is the name of my friend living in Mataram, Lombok Island. He finally picked us and took us to his house. On the way, we stop by the Sade Village. It is a tourism spot as the Sasak stays and lives in. we finally arrived at his small house and his family’s warm welcome let me feels home.
On the next morning, Ewig took us to Bangsal Port. On the way, I saw the roads are smooth. They are smoother than what I find in Java. We also stopped at Malimbu 1 to enjoy a view of the blue sea from the top of a hill. Then we visited Malimbu 2. Finally, we reached the port. We bought tickets to Gili Trawangan. It costed IDR 10,000 per person. Ewig went to Gili Trawangan too, but he didn’t join us to stay. He directly took the following boat and went home.
I knew nothing about this Gili Trawangan, nor tried to find any information about it, also no specific schedule to do. I did that on purpose. I wanted to feel lost and release stress of daily routine. Once I got off the boat, what I saw was white sand and foreigners here and there. Cottages and inns are everywhere in there. There is also a mosque which peals adzan lohor in the miday. There is also a Pura for the Hindi. Despite holding different religions, people in this island live harmoniously.
We asked the location of the cottage we had booked to someone in the port. They told us it was on the west side of the port. Under the sunlight, we walked to south and west, but, still, we couldn’t find it. We, finally, asked again to local people, and one of them called the cottage’s owner. The shocking thing was it was on the north part of the island! “OH MY GOD….so far…so hot!” was the only thing we could say. We had to get back to the port and walk to the far northern area. There is no motor vehicle in this island. There are only bicycle and cidomo rentals. Cidomo is a typical vehicle in Lombok. Finally we decided to rented bicycles to save our costs. We went through the eastern shores which is far and burning.
On the shore near the diesel Electric power plant, my bike’s basket broke and fell. So I decided to rest and fix the basket. While Hendri, he kept cycling to find the cottage. After I fixed the basket, I continued cycling. It was far enough and my skin got burned. Not too long later, a worker of the cottage came after me by bicycle. Thanks God he led me to the cottage we’d booked online. Reaching the cottage, I couldn’t find Hendri, I was panic and called him to get back. Finally, Hendri was back, and he met one of the employees. Hendri went to the cottage with Sandy, a friend of his from Jakarta. The cottage has no entrance sign, because there is problem of permission from the local government. The entrance is on the beach and hidden by the trees, that’s why we did see it and got lost.
Shortly, we had some rest in the cottage. It was afternoon, so we paddled our bikes to the sunset point. We took alternative route, the inside of the island. It was getting through coconut plantation and the local people’s residents. The route was very cool and shady. The route ended near a sea turtle breeding house and not far from the port. We had lunch in a not-too-expensive local food restaurant. After that, we headed to the sunset point. There were many people with the same purpose to watch the sunset. We stopped at a used-to-be modern restaurant at the end part of the beach. We enjoyed every moment of the sun setting.
After the sunset, we paddled across the eastern and northern shores which relatively nearer to our cottage. Arriving at the cottage, we swam in the brackish swimming pool, a facility provided, with music. That cottage felt like ours because no other than us staying there. After swimming, we took a shower and got ready to central part of the island to had dinner.
On the central, there was a fair. The locals sold their hauls and some others sold food. We tried on a food we saw. It was very crowded. Many people ate and chatted. The smoke from the grilled fish didn’t ruin the joy eating seafood. Then we went to the one and only night club there. Andi, my friend Surabaya, who is now working in a cottage in Gili Trawangan had waited for us. The loud music persuaded us to dance. The night club in this island is far from alcoholic drinks. The guesses enjoy the music and dance. Foreign tourists, local tourists, and the local people gather to have fun. There are no differences among them. Laughing and dancing together made them happy.
We captured our moments in the club. It was almost midnight when we said goodbye to Andi to get back to the cottage, though the party wasn’t over yet. We went through the alternative route again. It was very dark because there is no lamp or torch. Sandi requested to be in the middle because he is afraid of dark. Hendri and I burst out to his request. Hendri led the way with lamp of his mobile on. Sandi was in the middle, and I was on the back. We need some struggle to go through dark roads to our cottage. We also got lost because we chose the wrong direction. Sandi almost fell down paddling on the rocky road. It was a great night experience and struggle. Finally, we arrived at the cottage. We took a nice deep sleep.
In the morning, we walked to the beach around and took some fresh morning air. The fresh and pure air made me in love with Gili Trawangan. We felt hungry because we hadn’t had our breakfast. When we got back to the cottage, cuts of fruits, fried eggs, toasts, and juices were ready. We enjoyed our nice breakfast. Then, we took a shower and got ready to leave.
About midday, we left the cottage to Lombok Island. But, Sandi extended his vacation for another night in another cottage. Hendri and I returned the bikes we rented in the central, and bought some souvenirs for our families. Before leaving Gili Trawangan, we had our lunch near the port. A boat brought us back to Bangsal port, and Ewig had been there to escort us to Mataram.
We were taken to Lombok International Airport, heading to Bali, and then continued our trip to our towns. I headed to Jember, while Hendri headed to Situbondo. A gateway of ‘Selamat Datang di Kota Jember’ (Welcome to Jember) is the place I missed so much on my trip. I got so many things on my trip to Gili Trawangan; a brand new great experience, new friends, cultural knowledge, the hospitality expressed by the people of Lombok Island, and beautiful scenery. Now the long weekend is over. It’s time to continue working and going to college on Monday.
Perhaps, on the next holiday, I will visit Lombok Island once again.