My time in Nusa Lembongan finally came to an end and it was the first time during my trip that I was actually sad to leave. We’ve all gone through this, it’s usually the last day of vacation and you spend all day thinking that you don’t want it to end and try to savor every moment. A friend told me that the next place I was going to would probably be just as beautiful so I tried to keep that in mind.
The next stop was the Gili Islands near Lombok (another big island in Indonesia). There are 3 islands in the Gilis and there are no motorized vehicles allowed on any of them, just bicycles and “pony-drawn-carriages” called cimodos. Gili T is the most well known and a huge party island, think Cancun during spring break. Gili Air is the next most popular one that still has a party night-life just not as big. Gili Meno is the smallest of the three with a population of 400 and is known for being calm and quiet where everything shuts down at 9pm. For those of you that know me, I’m sure you’ve guessed which one I picked.
Another girl I met in NZ, Helen, had recently been to Gili Meno and said that it was an absolute hidden gem and that she stayed at a really great place that was cheap. The only problem? She forgot the name!! However, she did know the first name of the owner. I told her that I was nervous about arriving somewhere without pre-booked accommodations because, well lets see how I can put this…..I’m totally type-A and like to have everything planned out!
She assured me that it would be fine and gave me explicit directions on what to do and where to go once I arrived. After arriving at the boat harbour she told me to go to the restaurant directly to the left and ask for a man named Ronni who owned the new bungalows. She promised me that someone would know who he was and point me in the right direction. This was crazy, it felt like I was on the Amazing Race, I couldn’t believe I was doing this.
From Lembongan my boat went direct to Gili T and then from Gili T I would have to wait 2 hours for a local boat that went to Gili Meno about 5 minutes away. I really didn’t feel like wasting 2 hours when I didn’t have a place to stay so I made nice with a worker on my first boat and she asked her friend who was taking a group of people to Gili Air to drop me off on the way and he said yes. Cool, and it only cost me 5 bucks! Since it was an unscheduled stop they just took me to the first stretch of land on the island they saw and barely stopped to let me get off. They took my bag, chucked it into the sand and rushed me off the boat. They didn’t even fully pull up to the beach, I was in knee deep water as I got off the boat. They had pulled away before I’d even gotten to my bag. I hoisted my backpack on to my back and looked around, ok this was definitely not the official harbor of the island, how was I going to find Ronni from here? The sun was beating down and I just wanted to find a place as soon as possible so I started asking everyone that I saw if they knew a man named Ronni. They all gave me blank stares and said no. One asked if I was looking for a room and I said that I was looking for a room and the owner’s name was Ronni. He replied, yes Ronni is my sister and she has rooms for you. Sorry buddy, Ronni is a guy, caught red-handed!
I continued along the shore asking a good 10 more people for a Ronni but no one knew of him and they told me to keeping walking further down towards a cafe. Yes, this must be that cafe that Helen told me about! Once I got there someone said that Ronni owned a place called Tunai Cottages and explained to me where it was. Unfortunately it was all the way back from where I had just come from. By this time, my clothes were drenched and there was not a dry hair on my head (I really need to pitch some things to lighten up my bag). As I passed back down the street everyone I originally talked to ask if I found where I was going and I said “yes, I’m going to Tunai Cottages”. Once they heard that they said, OH RRRRRRRRRRRoni with a big “rolled R”, “you were looking for RRRRRRRRRoni, yes we know him”. Ha, ok I thought I said Ronni pretty clearly when I first asked them but since I didn’t roll my “R” they had no idea.
After 20 minutes of roaming around, I finally found RRRRRRoni , a 27 year old boy who owned the bungalows with his wife. It was a simple room, had a bathroom with a salt-water shower and a fan (we’ll see how long I’ll last without AC). All in all it ticked all the boxes and I talked him down to $15 a night!
Once he put me in my room he turned to look at me and said, “miss if you want you can take a shower, you look very sweaty”.
Ronni the man of the hour-in front of my cottage.