Monday, March 15, 2010

Gili Meno

We pulled up on the beach of Gili Meno and saw that Unlike Gili T, this place was spare, campy, and laid-back. It reminded me a little of Baker’s Island, where my friend Greg’s family has a house. Both islands have an undeveloped, rural feel, and one main store where you can get your groceries.

Wandering off to find housing, we stumbled upon a half-decent room with a giant lizard in the bathroom. It was newly built and spacious, if a little bare, and the guy was only asking 70,000 rupiah, or a little over 7 bucks, for the night. It was the first place we went to. We took it, put our stuff down, and went exploring.

The path out to the coast gives you a little feel for how rural this island is.

The island’s main store – Pringles, flotation devices, woven baskets, Corn Flakes, canned goods.

The view from the main store out to the water.

The sitting-places by the beach.

This harbor sign is so Gili Meno.

These people live on the island. Many of them are ethnic Sasaks from Lombok. The population on Meno is supposedly around 300.

Our next destination, Meno’s famed bird park, which supposedly has hundreds of species including rare birds of paradise from all around Indonesia. The bird park is just about in the middle of the island. It took us some wandering about to find it:

Kites are really popular:

What’s that thing? A mosque, of course. The Sasak people are some of the most devout Muslims in Indonesia.



The bird park at last!

Oddly enough, the first thing we saw of the bird park was its resident Beatles Bar. Here we were in the middle of Gili Meno, surrounded by Beatles posters. Talk about cultural penetration!

The bird park was actually pretty cool. It did have birds from all over Indonesia, and in typical Indonesian fashion, many of them were just free to roam within the netting. It’s scary because they don’t really regulate anything, but you do get closer to the animals. Here’s a weird-looking guy on my arm. Don’t miss my fashionable clothing and accessories, either!

Apparently the owner is a huge Steve Irwin fan:




After the bird park, we walked back to shore and sat at one of the beachside places for lunch. This man accosted us, selling necklaces.

A coke can bobbed and floated on the beach.

Ant’s-eye view from our lunch seats:

I did that tie-dye myself, you know.

The kind of bungalows you can rent on the beach at Meno:

These guys had a turtle conservation center, too:

Sasak handicrafts:

It’s amazing what women in Indonesia can carry on their heads:

After a short post-lunch walk, we decided to check out a little silversmith shop that offered a three-hour lesson where you could make what you wanted out of 5g of silver and they would teach you how. I’ve always wanted to be a medieval blacksmith, so I think this brought me one step closer to that goal.

Melting scrap silver from previous makes:

When you have a wad of the silver, you put it through this double-steamroller device to make a flat piece out of it.

Then, you cut the flat piece into your desired shape:

Alison was inspired by the shavings she made when she cut circles out of the silver, so she found a way to put the shavings onto the flat pieces for a pair of earrings.

The silversmith guy welded the shavings onto the flat pieces:

You put the pieces into a bowl of acid, to get rid of the corrosive color you can see in the above shot:

Voila! Original silver earrings.

We had a great time with the guys at the silver shop. I think we must have passed four hours there.

I stepped out toward the end for a quick shot of the mountains. You can see the peak of Rinjani, the biggest mountain in Lombok and maybe the third highest in all of Indonesia, peeking out in the far background:

That night, we ran across Meno (which was an adventure unto itself – Meno has a vast saltwater lake that was overflowing onto our path, forcing us to detour through the now-swampy woods around dusk – it’s a miracle we escaped without a ton of bites) to grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants on the west coast. It was alright. Food was definitely much, much better at Scallywags, and at Gili T generally.

We took a horse ride back to the east coast, which was a lucky thing because it was dark and kind of scary. Some fish laid out for the eastern restaurants…yum:

We left Gili Meno the next morning, a day of rural island life and silversmithing under our belts. Gili Air, the third and final Gili, was next.

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