Gili Meno, Week one
I can’t believe we have already been on Gili Meno an entire week but the calendar does not lie. Shamefully, it took us almost that week to make it into the beautiful sea, which entirely surrounds us and at its closest point is only two hundred metres away. It’s been hotter than a hot thing on hot night (a technical measure of hotness if ever there was one) and we lived in the pool the first few days but then I had a full on skin allergy to maybe the heat, maybe the massage oil, (BEST MASSAGE more details to follow) but whatever it was kept me in the shade and out of the pool for two days. This was actually ok as we had a bunch of studying to do for our PADI advanced open water.
But we made it into the sea eventually and after we swam out of the sand cloud being caused by the rather aggressive surf and swam along the coast, had a lovely time. The beach dropped very quickly through a line of coral that was continually being pounded by the waves and then maybe five to ten metres of sand and coral later, suddenly sloped away into nothingness. It was pretty cool and at the time of writing I cannot wait to dive it and see what is down there and how far down it goes. But as we were snorkelling and unable to go into the depths it scared me a little, so we stayed along the shallow edge, JHubz protecting me on the side of the drop *grin* and saw a shoal of hungry looking jacks, thousands of what I think were anchovies and various parrot and brightly coloured little reef fish, pretty damn cool for a first snorkel and certainly bodes well for future ones.
On our first major exploration of the island it took us a little longer than the suggested one and a half hours to walk the circumference of Gili Meno, about twice as long actually. I think you’d have to be rushing to make it in less and we don’t like to rush and we do like to stop for libations along the way. It’s only about four and a half kilometres around. There are a fair few new resorts and villas’ being built but there is also still plenty of space in between, as yet undeveloped or previously developed and now abandoned resorts.
While leisurely walking along we scoped out the resorts and restaurants lining the route; some pretty scary wood ones, I’m anti all wood accommodation surrounded by woods even though they might be the most environmentally friendly, they are also the most bug friendly, which I am not. Of note along the way there is an awesome little eco village sandwiched between a couple of very nice looking private villas and some casual restaurants. Much further around we came across an offputtingly white, Ibiza style beach resort, with a tiny and overcrowded pool mid beach, overlooking countless sun loungers, not our cup of tea but clearly very popular.
This brings me to our favourite, Karma Reef, which is really quite lovely. We’ve taken to having dinner there as it is easily the best food on the island and naturally the most expensive. Budget be damned I guess. As an island it’s definitely way more expensive than we were imagining, captive audience for sure. It’s nowhere near as reasonable as Thailand or even Malaysia, other than Singapore I think it might be the most expensive place we have been so far. Which for what you are getting (barring Karma Reef which is exceptional) is overpriced. None of the food (again barring Karma Reef) has been anything to write home about for the price. Maybe we have been spoilt, but when we can have an outstanding meal at a street stall for a couple of pounds each, I’ve grown to expect a bit more for my buck.
Karma Reef really is something special, perched on the sea line, you walk past funky Balinese style dwellings, open living areas on the raised ground floor complete with sofas, hammocks and a kitchenette, closed in bedrooms above, to reach the main restaurant which rises majestically from the sand. Great swaths of bamboo artistically joined together to form the sweeping roof, a triumph of man harnessing nature. There are an array of seating options artfully scattered around the raised open air restaurant, standard chairs and tables, inviting two metre wicker circle sofa beds, cosy looking wicker tub chairs and tables and raised and covered bamboo platforms complete with bean bag loungers. The whole feel is of relaxed decadence. Even though we love a pool, which it lacks, had we been here for a few weeks on holiday and not as part of our grand adventure, we would for sure have chosen to stay at Karma Reef. The cocktails are delicious and the quality of the food, it’s cooking and presentation could compete with that in any top notch London restaurant. And no they aren’t paying me for this review, I like what I like and I like to share what I like. Planning a trip to the Gilis? A visit to Karma Reef is a must.
Now to the massage! Oh my massage saga is a long and sad one, I am pretty sure I have finally found my massage voice and indeed in Melaka told several masseuses to ease up as I screamed internally, as they painfully scraped and/or prodded me, still nursing some bruises some three weeks later. But I am not a quitter and having had lovely massages in the past I was pretty convinced I could find another good one. And find one I did, and right on our doorstep too! In the middle of the plot our resort Tropical Hideaways sits on, is an open sided canvas covered massage cabana, and in it magic is worked. I fell asleep for sure, at least once, maybe twice, and I can’t sleep when I am in pain which means that she did not hurt me! I am not the most sensitively skinned woman in Christendom after all, woohoo! We’ve had two each now and so excited that I finally had a relaxing massage, we immediately signed up for a course of ten between us. If you could see my smile right now you would know I am a very happy woman indeed.
We plan to start, or at least plan to start our PADI, tomorrow, Ma arrives in a week and it would be nice to have it wrapped up partially if not fully by the time she does. Whatever your week ahead holds I hope it holds at least one thing you love Xx