It was a diversion I had long considered during my prolonged encampment in Kuta and had yet until now resisted the decision to layover in beach resort Senggigi as opposed to the nearby city found me stupidly close now, I followed Lin's plans in tracing the Gili Islands. World renowned as a beach paradise cum diving/snorkeling spot, I could ill afford the time required for yet another seaside excursion, and yet having come this far it made too much sense to finally see what all the fuss was about. Besides, a few days in paradise with a sexy Taiwanese chick by my side didnt sound so bad. Resisting the persistent hawkers during my beachside brekkie, lines were then formed on the beach for the onward Perama services, and whilst it was no surprise to find plenty other itinerants, it was one to realise that our 90 minute transfer to Gili Trawangan would not be in Perama's sweet looking ketch offshore but a much smaller taxi boat. I had already been stung once that morning, having rolled over in bed to suffer the novel ignominy of a bee's wrath, the large red sore would bother me for a week. Trawangan was the largest of the 3 islands and the farthest from the mainland, the only one reputed to be something of a party scene.
Tracing Lombok's beautifully rugged palm fringed north wets coast eventually revealed it to be the only one with any topography too. Deferring to Lin's wishes we turned south from the eastern "harbour" in search of aquiet spot by the beach still amenable for Trawangan's concentration of notably upmarket services. Since Lin was in holiday mode and baulked at hauling her bag in the heat, I submitted to her desrire for a Cidomo transfer, horse drawn carts which ran on car wheels which were a novelty of Lombok. The hopeful's wouldnt come down from their 100% touristy mark up though and in pursuit of another away from the harbour ambush spot we found it to have already been commandeered by a brace of divers, we hoofed it laden through the heat in the end after all. Finding our den of choice closed for renovation, Lin moaned en route to a recommendation which unexpectedly found us on the opposite western side of the island, a thoroughly desterted spot redeemed by its telltale name sunset, rustic sunscorched bungalows with unusual roofless step down Mandis to the rear. In tracing the similarly silent resort next door we encountered a few sizeable crabs scuttling about and it was no great surprise upon return to find that the largest one I saw had taken up timely residence in my bathroom. IT was far enough away from the littoral to have me wonder if the were a land predating species, irksome purple and green beasties larger than the span of my hand and with comparable dexterity. Upon finding that my new housemate had somehow managed to scale the first step towards the bedroom all of a foot high, I declined his offer of company by promptly peeing on him from above, whereafter he retreated to the lowly drain outlet never to foray forth again. After ablutions and a laundry routine my rsestless nights in Senggigi compounded by the midday scorch caught up with me, and so I crashed out until 5 to learn that Lin had usurped my dreams in cycling the few Ks around the island alone. Though Lombok had at no time been discernible from the coast
of Bali, a rare glimpse of Gunung Agung, the Hindu islands' volcanic crown now punctured the clouds, the dramatic rounded cone disappearing into the gloom of a disappointing sunset further compromised by an isolated nearby party spot pumping out wholly inappropriate trance music which assuredly drove off any scant custom which might have otherwise made the effort. We dodged more crabs, goats and Cidomos around to party central then, plumping for a pricey beachside restaurant in desire of a Brugaq, an elevated seating platform arrayed with cushions and a squat table, akin to Middle Eastern practice.
It was still for largely indiscernible reasons but the past few days had been punctured by a series of petty bust ups, being accused of being too serious which was undoubtedly true, and not being able to relax which I certainly could. Perhaps it was a cultural difference or symptomatic of our opposed agendas, but my propensity for conversation was time and again criticised since Lin only wanted to relax, I struggeld to equate though that that should mean an enforced silence. We shared stories, mine mainly about the many trials and adventures of my trip naturally, and though Lin told of her friends, family and frustrations it still held the potential for her seemingly perplexing criticism. What angered me that night was to be accused of being an alcoholic since Lin didnt drink and obviously frowned upon it, I succinctly had to point out that 2 beers with my lunch and 2 again at night was far from becoming a problem and in defiance to the pervading party scene around us I was probably one of the soberest people on the island. The intimidation of a 20 minute walk home through largely pitch darkness brought us back together. Next day we promptly decided to decamp in deference to the facility of the east coast, plumping for an inland village Losmen boasting spanky rooms with great rarity a sink and mirror so that I might shave. A tour of the island was the only distraction save the snorkelling and so we opted for a scorchy hot strut around the shoreline, where again my observations and remarks fell unappreciated and Lin slinked off in huff mode along a deserted beach. It was difficult for me to apologise for my highly active mind since I was in no way ashamed of it, but in my defence I felt I had little choice to point out that her mood betrayed that I was far from being the only serious one, in 5 days together I couldnt recall seeing her smile once. I put it to her that it was very simple, if she didnt want to be with me then she simply had to say so and that would be that. Perhaps my use as a guide was too precious for her though, or maybe she was just stubborn. In completing our circuit of the very dry sandy track around Trawangan which revealed resorts open and closed of all ilks and standards, I headed out in pursuit of my desperate need to still burn my photos to disc and so free up camera memory. The young guy with no English seemed to be making a hash of it but that was just the way of it here. With no alternative available I simply had to pay top dollar and hope he didnt screw it up. After dinner that night of my default chicken curry and Bintang we sought isolated pockets of darkness in appreciation of a spectacular array of stars which studded the night, though here again my passing comments on the constellations provoked more irritation in Lin to the point that she fell into a sulk again. For a girl who took an active pride in having studied the art of listening, I thought it perhaps betrayed the fact that she was missing half the story. Conversation was a 2 way process which required she open her mouth too, and if she didnt want to hear it, why persist with me? Long determined not to let any woman take the piss out of me for whatever premise, I walked back to my room with a single comforting beer, and she was surprised to see me there out on my verandah upon her return, she had presumed me to be stereotypically frequenting one of the raucous bullshit party bars full of twentysomething cherrypickers. Under the premise of returning my Tiger Balm we made up one more time, I was starting to lose track of just how many times we had ridden this emotional rollercoaster full circle.