It started a week a go, before 8th of October 2011. A friend of mine, Ache offered me to spend weekend at her home in Gili Meno. I felt so excited. I grabbed my memo and wrote it down with the red ink. Then the following week, I found my self along with her, passing the zigzag and jolted road by motorbike while enjoying the tropical Pusuk forest that is beautified by swinging, sounds and the red faces of monkeys under the cloudy sky. It made the hilly road is no longer become a great barrier to reach Ache’s home. And 45 minutes ride seemed run in a glance. Bangsal harbor was in front of us. The verdant of boats were anchored. Many local and international visitors were queuing for their ticket. Suitcase and backpacks were standing disarray with their owners. The smell of salty water that filled my nostrils silently told me that I would be in one of those three islands in a minute. It takes more than 45 minutes to cross the Gili Meno straits in the rough wave. Fortunately, the waves calmly roar. The breezy swung my hair goes and back as if I am advertising a number one brand of shampoo.
There’s nothing more than such a freedom when I stepped my feet on GILI MENO. The wonderful subtle color of its turquoise water and its sand are sparkling under the sunlight and harmoniously embraces the rhythm of the waves. Touch your ear drum, knock your heart, and offer the bliss in the silence.
I was very welcomed by the hospitality of the islanders. Originally, they are the descendant of Bugis tribe that inhabits the southern part of Sulawesi. They speak extremely unique basa Sasak who belongs to kutó-kuté dialect. Many vocabularies spoken are distinctive from other dialects at general. I was a bit confused in conversing with them. It took me awhile to understand what they were saying in Sasak. However, most of the villagers speak Indonesian and English.
When the night falls, Ace walked me to Sophi’s resident. The plantation teak wood, gol wood and coconut tree firmly stand along the wood. The dimly light from the almost full moon was enough to illuminate our way. Sophi was a classmate of mine at Uni. He introduced me to his boss, a vast knowledge English named David. We all were absorbed in conversing about an ideally beachfront resort where Sophi will work at.
When the dawn breaks on the east, I walked around the island. I was in simply dim pink t-shirt with white sarung. My barely feet rubbed against the white sandy beach. My footprints were erased by the waves. It hid the place where I would go to.
In the afternoon, on my way to the Salty Lake, I dropped in the Gilli Meno Bird Park. I saw more than 50 species of birth are nested. Palm cockatoo is extremely friendly, it was be perched on my arm and walked to stand on my shoulder. Moreover can experience feeding some bird from my own hand is super fascinating. I just need $5 to enjoy the species diversity of bird in Indonesia.
Gili Meno is not only the most special amongst tree Gillis due to its tranquility, the bird park and the turtle nursery but also it is the only one Gili who has the salty lake. Salty lake is surrounded by the greenly mangrove and it is a place of brackish fish to live and of swans to play. Around the lake, some women are making a heap of salt by putting the salty water under the sun. Thus the water will evaporate and only remain the white salt. This salt then sends to the traditional market to sell. After enjoying each activity that can be seen in the lake, I walked to the western part of island, then sitting on the sparkling sandy beach, see the horizon in the rob of the crimson sunset.
My last night in Gili Meno was in beautiful ending. I dinned at YaYa cafe with Ace, Sophi and our new acquaintance from USA Eric. He taught Ace, Sophi and me a tongue twister “how much wood can a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood”. It is hard for me to pronounce it, my saliva was drizzling and it was embarrassing.
Though I have such a great time there, I was a bit upset to leave this island because I haven’t seen the underwater paradise yet. Well I’ll come back next six month to see it.