Archive for September 2009

Enchanted Island (Gili Trawangan, 1990)

September 16th, 2009 — 10:19pm

The travel guidebook claimed it was a fine swim from one Gili island to the other, and I knew I was a strong swimmer.

Every day in Bali I plunged into the Java Sea, and swam far out from the black sand beach to where I could float. From the gently swaying water I would gaze at the green hills of Kayuputih rising above Lovina, and the solid purple peaks of Java piercing the sky to the west.

I swam to near where the good coral was, scarlet and deep. I swam through sea lice that stung and stung my fingers. I swam so far that I could no longer see the touts selling postcards, the massage women, or the wooden bench where every day we sat and drank sugary iced tea and smoked single kreteks with Lasmana, the blind man.

One day Pasek and I take the ferry from Padangbai to Lombok, wanting to vomit as the boat lurches away from Bali’s shore. After sitting cross-legged on the floor for several hours drinking coffee at his cousins’ house in Sengigi, we charter a carriage led by an emaciated horse to go in the direction of the Gili Islands. A boatman with a wooden sampan rows us out to an island with no cars and a few huts with thatch roofs that arch into the sky. Continue reading »

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