Days 35-37: Gili Air

Ahhhhhh....white sands, turquoise water, full sun, good food, great company and mushroom tea! Ha! That about sums it up. The rest is just details about giant monitor lizards, bad psy-trance music and snorkeling. I really needed a vacation while on, um, vacation. I had been working for four weeks straight, three weeks teaching hoop dance at Sacred Circularities and one week assisting and performing at Bali Spirit Fest.  I hadn’t had the chance yet to just full on relax, and when I saw Tammy while riding down the street on the motor bike, saying “Im headed to the Gili’s”, everything in me screamed “I’m going with you!” And so, I did.
I packed a little bag, grabbed my hoops, extracted some funds from the ATM and hopped in a cab with Tammy and Sita to catch the boat to Gili Air. There are multiple Gili Islands, all of which I want to visit someday, but today we were headed to the Air  Around this time of year there is always a big after party for the Pirates Retreat, which is a small fire and flow festival that happens on it’s own little private island.  The Pirates after party consists of non-stop psy-trance music which to me is some of the worst music to my ears on the whole planet, except music that has negative lyrics. I have no judgement, it’s just far from my personal preference of musical choice. But it's all good, I'm not going for the music, I'm going for the people and the place. Plus, it's healthy for me to step out of my comfort zone now and again.
We arrived on Gili Air after an hour taxi ride from Ubud and an hour boat ride from the port. We took a horse and carriage (no motor taxis here) around about half the island to find a bungalow for the three of us to share. We found one called Puri Air and made ourselves at home. We unpacked and went across the street to have a sunset dinner. After dinner we decided we would ‘take a nap’ and then head to the party. I went to sleep around 8pm and I had my alarm set for 10:45pm. It never went off. Instead, we awoke around 4:45am and went to the party then! It was still bumpin' full on. We enjoyed the sunrise and danced to some not-so-bad psy-trance, practiced some hoops and watched the crazy kids who had been burning fire all night continue to spin away. It was actually pretty fun. I saw my friend Yul from Peru who I had spent two months in the jungle with out there. We told each other we would end up meeting and Bali, and there on Gili, we did! We danced and I hooped and we could only take so much of the crazy psy-trance and littered beer bottles. It was time we went for our breakfast. 
After breakkie we rented some bikes and headed to the local reggae bar for some magical mushroom tea. Yes! 
We sipped on tea and did yoga and headstands and then got into the water. To me, this was the most the magical moment of the trip. The water was perfect in temperature, color, current and caress. My body really appreciated soaking in the salt and my eyes were happy with all of the brilliant sparkling ripples and waves. I felt like a mermaid! Sita and I just giggled and swam around. I recognized what a blessed life I live, and I would need to hold on to this moment of recognition later in the day when events took a slight turn downhill....more on that later.
After what felt like hours playing in the shallow waters of shore we decided to rent some snorkeling masks. We rode our bikes a little further down and came across our good friend Gail O’Brien who had just finished teaching at Pirates. She took us to her super cute little cottage and walked us around the garden. In her garden were these crazy huge monitor lizards that looked totally prehistoric and like they could definitely eat me if they wanted to! I took some film and footage from a distance. There was this one moment where I thought the lizard was going to attack a little cow right in front of us, but no! It just made a weird little farting sound and slithered back into the water. It was certainly an odd site to witness! All on camera. I’ll eventually post it on my YouTube :)
After some lizard watching we went for a snorkel with Gail. It was kind of sad for me to see that the reef on the shore was all pretty much dead from blasting it back in the day for fishing purposes. Now there are still some really beautiful fish, but the reef is grey. I experienced the same thing snorkeling in Australia, and in the Bahamas. I have yet to see live, vibrant coral reef. I know it’s out there, but it is a sobering reality to see how much of it has vanished. On the bright side however, there were sea turtles and beautiful rainbow spectrum fish, polyps and all sorts of interesting creatures that I dared not go near, but enjoyed hovering over the seascape and the beauty that resided there. 
After snorkeling with my lady friends we took our bikes all around the island. It doesn’t take long to ride around the island at all, maybe 30 minutes, but we took all day between tea and friends! We did some shopping and had a nice lunch. I got lots of nice little gifts for the kids back home, my parents, my friends and my lover. I realized I needed to go to the ATM after all of that and lo and behold, guess what I found was missing?! MY ATM CARD! I didn’t panic though. I remembered how perfect life felt only hours ago in the rippling light waves of the ocean, smiling and feeling at peace. I made all the calls needed and was able to borrow enough from my friend to get back home. Thank God for my sweet Beloved Kellen who went above and beyond to make sure I could access all of the funds I needed for the remainder of my stay in Bali, and baggage fees backs to the islands. It takes a community sometimes to help you out in a time of need, and I am very grateful my friends were able to say when I needed to ask.
We had a nice hoop session on the beach. I have become obsessed with practicing balancing the hoop on the tip of my middle finger over my head. After our sunset beach hoop session, we had a nice dinner of yellow fin tuna and caught a horse back to our bungalow in a downpour. Another early bedtime for us crazy kittens.
We awoke, had our morning meal, watermelon juice and tea, and then made our way back on the boat and in a cab to Ubud. I only had three days, two nights left, to be in Bali, with a few loose ends to tie up, so I checked into a cheap bungalow with a nice pool and decided that after all of this time with friends and faces, I needed to just chill. Me and the pool. That’s it.
I love this place so much and feel so honored to have been here for five whole weeks!
I am definitely returning next year with more time, more money, and more space in my schedule for unplanned adventure, as this spontaneous trip to the Gilis was just what I needed.
Truly, a blessing of blessings to lounge in blue water on white sands with good friends by your side. Looking forward to having my lover with me next year as this place is totally romantic. If you are looking for a lovely place to honeymoon at anytime, Bali is your best bet! Until next time, stay shining....
and Be The Love,
Shellie White Light