So I was meant to be picked up from my hotel in Ubud at 6.30am to be taken to the pier to catch the fast boat to the Gilis. WELL I was woken up by the phone ringing in the hotel room next to me and it was 7am and the minivan was here!!!! I have never moved so fast in my life. Luckily id packed the majority of stuff the night before so had a mad dash of brushing teeth, shoving half dry towels into my bag, grabbing chargers (already on my 3rd camera charger in as many months so do NOT want a fourth) and getting quickly changed - during which the guy who called from reception walked in mid bikini change ooerr. He lugged my big bag downstairs for me and I ran down once I'd picked up ALL my hairclips that I'd managed to drop (of course). I finally jumped into the bus where 3 couples were sat waiting and in the meantime seemed to have ordered breakfast from somewhere so were all sat eating omelets.
I was so worried that i'd made us all too late and that we'd miss the boat but luckily when we got to their pier the boat company was waiting for us. We boarded and soon discovered they'd over booked the seats and so I was sat beneath the deck at the bow of the boat amongst the rope and fuel. I somehow managed to sleep the whole journey and woke up to people pushing past in order to climb the ladder and reach the shore. I was greeted by white sand, turquoise sea and silence for all of 30 seconds before being harassed with LAYYDEEE YOU WANT HOTEL!? We have cheap cheap price especially for youuu! I politely declined, grabbed my bag from the huge pile accumulating on the sand and headed off in the direction that I'd read was where the cheapest hotels where. I'd looked at TripAdvisor the day before and made a mental note of a small homestay that was ran by a British woman who'd married an Indonesian man so went off in search of that. I asked a local guy for directions and he kindly walked me there and introduced me to the english owner, Mandy, who said they had room for me to stay. It wasn't exactly cheap, but it was less than where I was staying in Ubud so it wasn't TOO bad, and I was still feeling homesick and sorry for myself so decided it was fine to treat myself :) Anyway it was a lovely clean room with an outside shower and came included with the typical 'western' breakfast of banana pancakes so figured I was getting my money's worth. Mandy was from Sussex and her husband, Gee, was a local who she'd met on holiday 4 years ago and they had a toddler together who just ran wild the whole time which was quite funny. They also had a guy working for them called Abdul who was from Lombok but, like many others had come to the islands to work in hotels/bars etc as that is where the main source of income is in - tourism.
The first day I rented a bike from them and cycled around the island twice before settling at a posh resort on a deserted beach to sunbathe on their loungers. The next day I did the same but this time I paid to use their amazing pool, it was a 45m infinity pool with a bar at one end and seats in the water to sit at. It was so nice to do some lengths in the water but I hated doing it without goggles so made a mental note to come back with some - I still had the mandatory goggles and swim hat that I was forced to buy in China in order to swim in a pool there! Whilst sunbathing that afternoon I noticed quite a few people running past and so it inspired me to go for a run too when I got back to the hotel and I ended up running around the whole island which felt really good to get back out there. I went for dinner and ended up hanging around with 2 Italians and a Canadian girl, drinking beer on the beach.
The next day Abdul took me surfing which i'd never done before. Although HE was really good (most locals are because they've surfed pretty much every day since they were kids), I don't think he'd ever had to teach anyone before so it was an interesting experience... On Kuta I saw lots of locals teaching foreginers how to surf and i'd gathered the general procedure seemed to be getting them to practice popping up on the board whilst you're still on the sand before trying it out in the water. Whereas Abduls methods were more like shoving me on the board in the sea straight away and shouting instructions like "SLEEP" (aka lie down) and "JUMP" (stand up) and then when I fell off he just looked confused and asked "why you no balance?!" Anyway, after about an hour of this I actually managed to stand! And then from then on I seemed to get the knack a bit better and stood more than fell yayy :) That night Abdul took me to hang out with his friends and there were two other Canadian girls there who'd just arrived that day - Leanne and Laura, so we stayed with them most of the night drinking rice wine, or Arak. The guys there couldn't say Leannes name but beacuase she was blonde they just called her Lion ha.
Although the plan was to only stay on Gili T for 4 or so days and then move onto Gili Air, i'd met some really nice people and so decided to just stay there the whole time and for longer. But after about a week i'd decided it was time to move on and booked a ticket to catch a local boat to Lombok. Although you can buy tickets for larger boats that leave bang on time at about 8am to Lombok, the local boats are about 1/3 of the price and so I went with that...although the catch is that they only leave when 20 people have turned up, so I ended up waiting for about 2 hours ha! Abdul is originally from Lombok and so offered to come over with me and help me find somewhere to stay in the most popular area - Sengiggi.