Gili Air, as Lonely Planet suggests, falls somewhere between bucolic Gili Meno and loud Gili T.We arrived and found some 70,000 rupiah housing, a little bungalow five minutes’ walk from the beach. Already noticeable were two things: first, the native population here is loads more than either of the other islands, and second, there is so much livestock the island is like a giant farm.
After putting our stuff down we promptly headed to…Scallywags! That’s right, Scallywags has a recently-opened (January 2010) second location on Gili Air. The menu is only slightly different, they charge 10% tax instead of 21%, and you get to be on Air instead of Trawangan. What more could you want?
A Nordic wrap, please. Salmon, cream cheese, spinach, some other ingredients that made the other stuff taste better. It was heaven. The best wrap I have ever had. That’s two lifetime bests for Scallywags – so far.
We lounged in the enormous futon chairs and soaked up the views:
After the food coma had worn off, we took a horse carriage ride around the island. The strange combination of palm trees and cows is all over Air:
Air didn’t have a silvershop, but it did have a cool coconut crafts and jewelry place. The Marleyesque Indonesians carved their coconuts right out front of the store.
We caught a warm, soft sunset:
That night, it was back to Scallywags. We were almost out of money and needed to get back to Gili T for a quick ATM charge, so I got the vegetable kebab and we made a run on the salad bar.Scanning through "the LP":
One big attraction we had missed out on so far was the snorkeling, so on our final day in the Gilis, we embarked on a 3-4 hour trip that hit prime spots on all three islands. It was a glass-bottom boat, the “public” one for 80,000 rupiah or eight bucks and change. We were lucky and no one else came, so we got to charter our own boat for the public price. Money!It was my first time snorkeling in years, and only my second time ever doing it. It was Alison’s first time ever. It was awesome. Basically you just float along with the gentle current and watch the show. And what a show it was – we saw hundreds of fish that I can’t even name or remember, beautiful coral, and two sea turtles. The highlights of the fish were big schools of striped ones swimming nearly into us; long trumpet fish that look like, well, trumpets; fish that are oriented up and down that look just weird; finding-nemo-style clownfish, well not quite the same exact species but pretty close; big neon blue starfish; super bright shimmering blue little tropical fish. We saw our first sea turtle on the first snorkel run – right below us, picking through the coral like a grazing cow. It was a huge, beautiful creature. The second one we saw on the surface from the boat before we got in for our second snorkel run. It was a surreal experience, but the massive lobsterization of my back was not – I went snorkeling and forgot to put on sunscreen...
We caught another gentle sunset on Gili Air before a final meal at Scallywags. This time, I had the swordfish steak, which was superb, and Alison had Scallywags’ pesto. I tasted the pesto and it was the best pesto I have ever tasted. So that makes three lifetime bests for Scallywags: best fish ever in the snapper, best wrap ever in the Nordic, best pesto ever in the pesto. Not bad for just a few days of restauranting! I would go back just for the food.
The following morning marked the end of our Gilis exploration. It was back to Bali – we had a good run of it. Here’s our little bungalow, nestled between some 500 chickens who crowed at 6 in the morning: