Komodos only exist in Indonesia on the Komodo, Rinca and Flores Islands. There is nothing like them anywhere else in the world. Although they are mortally dangerous because of the poisonous bacteria in their saliva, there are only a couple of incidents per year. They stick to water buffalo and deer. The giant lizards kill by biting and waiting until the poison takes its effect. They follow their target until they die a week later. It was very exhilarating to see them up close. Keep reading!
We made our way to Gili Bola, our first island stop, to spend the evening. (“Gili” means island in Indonesian) The highlight of that day was seeing thousands of bats flying above us at sunset. They were “flying foxes”, a species of huge fruit bats. We weren’t sure where they were going, but it was spectacular.Keep reading!
We had been entertaining the idea of going to see Komodo Dragons for some time until we finally arranged a 4 day boat trip from Lombok to Flores while staying on the island of Gili Trawangan.
A quick mention about the Gilis; they are 3 small islands north-west of Lombok. One of them; Gili T, became a popular backpacker destination in the 80’s. Back then, there wasn’t any law enforcement and it was one of the few places where people could experiment with drugs, usually mushrooms. Even though it’s not quite the same now (although we did get many random mushroom offers in the street) it continues to be a very popular destination in Lombok, mostly for diving and the party scene. We spent five days here. The second day we went scuba diving at Shark Point. The dive was about average, but it was good practice before diving in the strong currents of Komodo. After the dive we had some beers at the beach with five Australians and a couple of locals playing the guitar and singing. They knew some “Mana” songs, which surprised me. I really like being in Indonesia and listening to music in Spanish, familiar words in a faraway place are nice. At night we wandered down to a big street food market for dinner. I had a soup but don’t ask me what was in it. The last three days in Gili T we both caught some sort of flu and spent most of the time shivering together in bed. It was a good chance to catch up on our movies 🙂
Back to the dragons, Keep reading!
We had a great time in Bali, but as many people warned us, it was all very touristy and crowded. So looking for a more local feeling we made our way to the next island east of Bali: Lombok. We opted to pass up the flight and fast boat to Lombok options, instead joining the locals on the slow boat (ferry). This by itself was quite an experience. Aside from one other traveler, we were the only foreigners cruising on the boat. Inside was hot, humid, crowded and smelly. We went to the deck and found a little corner underneath some shade. It cost us seven dollars total and it took five hours to get there.
Reaching our limits of remoteness at some Indonesian island.
One of the favorite places we visited in Bali is the monkey forest located in Ubud. Watching monkeys playing and assaulting people is hilarious and entertaining. They are smart! They go for the pockets, open bags and zippers, take sunglasses and hats, anything that they can user to barter for food… those little sneaky bastards.
Bali screams culture the moment you step out of the plane. It quickly overwhelms the senses – Hindu statues ornamented with flowers and fabrics everywhere, the thick smell of incense, feeling the humidity and warmth… and the food! An Asian spicy sweet island mixture of flavors, it’s delightful!