Monday, 9 February 2015

Gili T

Gili T

Friday 15/08 - Tuesday 19/08

Friday 15/08

We boarded the fast boat to Gili T feeling a little fragile. Luckily down below deck we found some comfy chairs and as we set off, a movie began playing on the small screen in the front of the cabin. It was not some random Asian movie, as we usually experienced, it was Transformers 3 and as an extra was in English! As we were soothed by the back and forth swaying of the ferry, we happily zoned out and watched the American action movie. The trip was a long one (even in the fast boat) but the movie made it seem to fly by. As the movie was reaching its action climax, the tv switch off as we had reached our destination! No!!! How could we survive not knowing if Shia Labeouf saved the world? 

Oh was to be a mystery but our disappointment was overshadowed as we were excited to be back on an island for some well-deserved island time! 

Gili T is one of the smaller islands surrounding Indonesia and is known for its parties and scuba diving. So after our rather cultural adventures up in Java, we were keen to get into the island lifestyle once again. Our first order of business was to find accommodation. We had been told by a couple of people that accommodation was scarce due to an influx of tourists folk so we rushed to find a spot. We had looked up a few places before arriving and found that Gili Backpackers was the favourite on the island. This was our mission...unfortunately they were fully booked, but we were told by the reception people that if we hung around that there could potentially be a few openings after 2pm. We were willing to gamble and hung around the backpackers.
We then understood why it was so sort after...there was an amazing common area with benches and complimentary tea and coffee as well as a pool and a climbing wall (that one jumped off into the pool). There were people hanging around everywhere so while we waited, we went to dip our feet in the water and meet some people.

As the clock struck 2...we dashed to the front desk and waited for the good news. We were extremely lucky and managed to obtain a spot for just one night, but that would do for now.

After we had secured our accommodation we decided to reward ourselves with some complimentary coffee. We sat around the communal bench where we met some interesting folks...
Nate and Conor -Irish lads teaching in South Korea
Jamie - English Chemistry student
Caro - English student (one of the boys found her rather intriguing- not mentioning any names...)
Gill - Calafornian au pair working in Oz
Jesus look-a-like whose name no-one ever knew...

As we became better acquainted with our new found friends, it was soon revealed that there was a superhero among us - Not only was Jamie a Taylor Lautner doppelganger by day, he was also discovered to be a highly evolved scientific genius by night, known as...Captain Chemhead!!! As we slowly peeled away the layers, we discovered that he had blown up a lab, schooled the heads of a multi-million company on chemistry, his theme song was Galvanize by Chemical Brothers and he is possibly responsible for the hole in the O-zone layer.
Another talented individual in the group was Nate who fancied himself as a bit of a wordsmith! He had been keeping a record of his trip. As an added treat, we gathered around the table for story time as Conor read a passage from the trip thus far. It was rather entertaining and we all really enjoyed taking a sneak peek into the inner psyche of an typical Irishman's mind.

That evening we gathered our group together and went to a nearby food market for some dinner. The market was great - filled with local, cheap food. We shared a plate of delicious noodles and satay chicken as we sat upon a windy deck overlooking the beach and the ocean.

As we neared the backpackers we could hear yells of excitement and as we entered we were met by loads of people drinking and playing 'Flip Cup'. We immediately got roped in and after a few practise attempts, chose our teams, joined the row and prepared ourselves for the start. It was an intense race to the finish as skill and composure were matched against speed and downing ability. After some stressful excitement was endured we decided turn it down a few notches and challenge the Irish boys to a game of darts. We hadn't played in ages but trusted that our childhood training at our coastal holiday house in Mazeppa Bay would pay off and we would win the game. We decided to make it a best of three and the losers would buy the winners a drink of their choosing. The stakes were high and the pressure was on!!! We punished them and it stung like sunburn on their milky-white skins! (Nate actually was sporting a sunburn on his back that closely resembled a country on the world map). Victory was sweet but the fancy cocktail that was owing to us was going to be sweeter!
We went out to check out a little Irish bar along the main strip but had an early night as we wanted to save ourselves for the beer pong tournament scheduled for the the following evening!

Saturday 16/08

We awoke in a wave of excitement as 
1) Breakfast, Tea and Coffee were included, and
2) Alex (Xander) was coming to Gili T - part of Team Potpourri was to be reunited!

Wi-fi was not amazing on the island so we had been able to make very limited contact with Alex. We had given him our current play of residence and told him to meet us there once he arrived. As to not miss him, we decided to hang out by the pool and wait for his arrival. We still didn't have accommodation secured for the night so were banking on superman Alex to help us find a roof over our heads, even though he had recently had a motor-bike accident and had had to have stitched in his face. 

As we were lazing around the pool soaking up the warmth of the sun and splashing off in the luke-warm water, our favourite French Canadian arrived! We immediately started catching up on our tales of adventure and then headed to a restaurant with free wi-fi to try find us a place to stay. 


We spent the rest of the arvie searching and eventually found a great little place, two beds but space for three...someone was going to get cuddles!

The Beer Pong tournament was scheduled for that evening but before we could go off and mentally prepare, it was story time. Nate's diary was the reading material of choice and Roxy was the chosen narrator. After his hilarious rendition of the previous day's antics, Team Potpourri went to spruce up for the tournament. Roxy and Joy made up the two man team. As we were preparing for the tournament, we had intense team talks where we discussed strategy and more importantly picked out matching/distracting outfits!
Our name: Team Waka Waka
Our coach: Xander (or as we called him for the duration of the evening...'Coach')

Team Waka Waka ready for Beer Pong Battle!!!  Notice Xander proudly wearing Roxy's South African T-shirt.

We sauntered in, exuding confidence and striking fear into our slap-dash opponents hearts'. Three wins would take us to the final and a fourth would mean we would be crowned International Beer Pong Champions. We were prepped, excited and geared up to go all the way.

Round 1: Team Waka Waka vs Team Jos  ('Jos' was the local drug on the island that gives the user copious amounts of energy- some people who we met hadn't slept for two days after using it). 
With Coach cheering us on we were feeling confident that we could beat the two lanky drunken fools across the table. We started off strong and gave the challengers quite a shock.  But as they popped some more energy supplements/drugs and downed more beer, their skills seemed to be heightened and they started making a comeback. Luckily, we had given ourselves quite a lead and before they knew it we had hit their last cup and the game was ours!!! 

Round 2: Team Waka Waka vs Team Douche-bag (disclaimer- not their official team name)
We were feeling good after our first round match and had positive Canadian energy on our side. People were shocked that we were able to win our match against Team Jos (they were one of the higher ranked teams) and so our Cinderella story was drawing quite a crowd! Once again we started strong and although the guys across the table had one extra player, we still had faith that we could do it. As the game progressed, we didn't account for their underhanded ways as they tried to distract us and put us off our stride. These antics were extremely annoying and the arrogance pouring across towards us was enough to set our calm South African blood boiling. It came down to the wire and each team only had one cup left. The next person to sink a ball would be the hero of their team. It was getting nasty as the crowed split to cheer on their favourite team! A few on the rim and a few wild shots from our side meant that we were left facing "The Slayer", an unlikely character who had not performed well the entire game but as the mob of nimrods chanted his name, lady luck smiled upon him and his little white ball flew directly into our last cup!!!! We were devastated, disappointed and disgraced at this dreadful defeat! 

We watched the rest of the tournament in a cloud of gloom. Some team won in what was described to us as an epic final but it wasn't us so we didn't really care. 

After all the competitiveness was over we all headed to a beach party down the strip. We did a little dancing and drank a few cocktails. Great night jamming with the homies!

Breaking it down on the dance floor...Waka Waka style!

Sunday 17/08 - Indonesia Independence Day

We had a little lie in and then enjoyed a complimentary pancake breakfast before heading to the beach. We enjoyed a morning of tanning and swimming. The beach was the best we had come across in a long time. The water was crystal clear but not too soupy-warm as we had experienced in Thailand. And there were actually a few waves to negotiate! This all made for a rather exciting swimming experience!

As lunchtime approached, Alex set off to find us some food and what did he return with...Roxy's biggest fear...BANANAS!!! (Even from a small child Roxy has detested the taste, smell and feel of a banana)

As Rox was petrified to even touch this amusingly shaped fruit, Joy stood in, much like a superhero, to feed her. You wouldn't catch Rox making eye contact with a banana in real-life but this was our only source of sustenance so she was a brave sole and ate it all up! This rather unique style of lunching definitely caused quite a few heads to turn in our direction...

Joy and Alex soaking up the sun!

As we were enjoying lazing around on the sand, we noticed some very distinct 'swimmers' splashing around in the shallows. At first we were a little confused as to what to they were up to. As they were kitted out in wetsuits, lifejackets, snorkels and other diving equivalent equipment, we suspected that they were on a scuba diving course but upon closer inspection we realised that it was a simple snorkeling lesson. Obviously these poor Chinese people were unfamiliar with water activities and needed lessons on submerging themselves under water. It was quite amusing to watch them floundering around - one moment their heads in the water, the next them choking and spluttering for air. Roxy and I were having a great time openly pointing, laughing and mocking these people who had clearly missed out on a fundamental childhood activity...little did we know that Xander, who was sitting silently next to us, also did not possess this mandatory skill. Whoops!

Xander in his 'natural' posing state (not directed by Roxy in any way)

We were obviously extremely observant whilst relaxing, as we noticed another rather curious lady standing near the water. She was not swimming, she was not playing beach tennis or frisbee, she was just standing. She would stand for about ten minutes facing one direction and then turn to another direction. We were extremely intrigued by this strange rotisserie-like behaviour. Then it hit us...she was stand tanning....or as it is officially named (by us) - STANNING. This was a revolutionary moment for us. It is really quite genius, you can get all sides tanned without all those awkward shadows.
We thought this lady was the only pioneer of this new beach activity but as we looked around and knew what to look out for, we suddenly noticed a fleet of people doing it. It takes a keen eye to pick them out as they can seem quite natural, easily blending into the beach crowd. 
Here are a few tips to spotting a Stand Tanner:
1) They are solitary creatures and will not have any balls, frisbees or other beach sport implements around them
2) They will have a very definite rotation schedule according to the position of the sun
3) They might take on strange statue like positions in order to minimise shadows on those hard-to-tan areas
Joy was so taken by this new tanning technique that she immediately adopted the pose of a professional (notice the actual stand tanner in the background with her hand in the air that Joy is copying) 

Rox reworking Alex's shirt for the sexy beach look

On 17 August 1945 Indonesia proclaimed independence from Dutch rule. And each year on this day 
the Indonesian people celebrate their independence. As we were walking along the main road, we came across a huge parade that was taking place around the island. 

All the locals dressed up and marched around together along the streets of the island.

There were groups of elaborately dressed people

All the children also get dressed up and join the parade. Little boys wore army uniforms, suits or some other interesting outfits, while the little girls wore beautiful dresses and make-up.

We had heard that there was a part of the beach that had the most amazing sunsets. We of course jumped upon this opportunity to have a sunset photo shoot. We dragged Alex and Jamie with us - don't think they quite knew what they were in for...

As soon as we had evaluated the potential picture possibilities, Roxy sprung into action and starting directing everyone!


Boys, it's your turn...
Looking good chaps...

Alex looking like a godly creature with a halo crowning his head 
Jamie with the sunlight showing off the impressive contours of his arm muscles  

Casual ab workout on the beach

The guys surprisingly got really into the shoot. But things got quite heated in the debate of who was the best poser...
...And they decided to settle it like men!!!

Now to show the lads how to work some props...'re so strong Jamie!

Man love 

Who shall Roxy choose?

Alex...the thinking man!
Star jumps 
Perfect - after Jamie finally got his timing right...
Sunset selfie


Wombat Woman returns...

Soaking up the last few moments of the colourful sky

Jamie's hair acting as a perfect filter to capture and reflect the last rays of light

Testing the water...ooh...a little chilly romantic!

After this exhausting photo shoot we were starving. As it was Independence Day, there was an amazing impromptu market on our way home. There was a selection of amazing savoury dishes and then the most exquisite looking deserts. Joy was extremely excited and Roxy allowed her to choose one as a extra treat! Delicious! 

Monday 18/08

It was another beautiful day on the island and as some people (Roxy) did not get too much sleep the night before - as they chose to watch the sunrise instead, it was geared up to be a relaxing beach day on the super comfy red bean-bag chairs.

Xander and Marie enjoying some 'regmakers' (hair of the dog drinks). A little later, Marie guided Alex to the water and helped him master the fundamental skill of snorkeling!

Gili T had the most amazing coloured water...time for another photo shoot

Once again we got the boys involved and got them to do a little 'James Bond' walking-out-the water style shoot...

Is that Taylor Launter coming out of the water?...

Oh's someone even hotter - It's Jamie!

Jamie was clearly a natural poser (and had had some training the previous day) and as such was able to convince his mates to give it a try. Paul was extremely reluctant but seeing the sunset photies of the evening before, even he had to admit how impressive they were and after some convincing decided to give it a go.

Here is the result...

Paul and Joe were both trying to look sultry but just couldn't keep a straight face! They definitely need a little more training.

But all in all, I think Daniel Craig would be proud:)  

Splashing around...

We had planned to stay another two weeks in Asia as we still wanted to explore a bit more of Indonesia and Singapore, but later that afternoon, Roxy got a phone call from home explaining that Joy's mom was very ill. We realised the urgency of the situation and decided to abandon our previous flights and book new ones in order to get home as soon as humanly possible. We were both rather shook up but Xander was there to be our rock. He was amazing! He quickly whipped out his tablet and booked us back-to-back flights home for the next day. We had planned to meet up with the rest of the group to go out that night but we did not feel up to it. Luckily we bumped into a group of them as we were booking our ferry tickets and were able to say our goodbyes and explain why we had to depart so suddenly. We then had a quick bite to eat,  packed up for the final time and got a good night's rest in preparation for the long day of travel ahead.

Tuesday 19/08

We had to catch the 7am ferry across to Lombok, thus we got to experience our very last sunrise in Asia

Alex was really our knight in shining armour. Although he had planned on still staying a few more days on Gili T, he came with us to the airport in Lombok to see us off safely. We arrived at the airport and went to quickly check-in. But there was a we had hurriedly booked our flights, we had accidentally only booked one check in bag. This meant that our combined bag weight had to add up to 23kg. As we were too stingy (and didn't have any extra cash on us) to pay the extra money to check in two bags, we hurriedly started unpacking our main backpacks into our handy washing bag (to check in as hand luggage) in a desperate attempt to drop kgs. We wore our jackets and boots and gave Alex some things we didn't really need (like mosquito nets). We eventually got it down to 23.5kg and as we were causing such a delay in the line (yes, we were those people), they let us off the hook and checked in our bags at 500grams over the limit!
We had our last cup of coffee with Xander and wrote final postcards (which Xander would post for us and which would only arrive once we were already back home) before saying a very sad farewell to our hero!

Our flights were extremely tightly booked and we had no more than a 20 minute wait in the airport between each flight. Luckily there were no delays and we arrived back in SA safely after a 36 hour journey.

Wow! What a feeling to finally be home!

It was great to be home - Spur meat, Smirnof (vodka and not beer), sweet treats (marie biscuit fridge fudge) and family!