The Magic of Gili Trawangan, Indonesia

We arrived to Gili, stayed at Didi’s, talked to Yoyo, laugh with Nana and learned the true magic from Dingdon. Gili Trawangan, is the more tourist island out of the three Gilis, it has lots of accommodation and is where the young crowd comes to party. Every other day there is a big party at one of the venues like the Irish Pub, Marlins, or Rudy’s, where the entire island comes and drinks. The island is small enough to walk around it in 2hrs or cross it in just 20 minutes. The center of town “downtown” is on the west side of the island, and that’s where it all goes down. It’s a common getaway destination for people who visit Bali and want to explore a bit more.

The natural beauty of clear blue water and the rainy clouds will make it a sight to remember, additional to old flip-flops, broken lighters, red bull bottles and all sort of plastic washing away on to the shores. It’s sad to see such an amazing place, one of a kind on this earth surrounded by washing away garbage. The locals don’t care much for it; they just toss whatever they have to the water. Aside from the garbage, the white sand beaches are amazing, the more north of the island the better the beach. Perfect for snorkeling or scuba diving, or just taking a stroll around the island and occasionally bumping into a naked guy who likes to have an even tan. Iza and I got lucky, not only did we see the nakedness we also got a smile.

Short tail cats rule the Gili, there are no dogs allowed on the island, just cats. These cats are fucking everywhere. We had one meowing by our room every day for the 10 nights and days we were there, it just never stopped. I though he was dying, but he never died just kept meowing. Most of these cats are stray, homeless, skinny, with flees and diseases. Usually I will feel bad for them as I have two of my own but in this case they are a different species. Never saw any mouse or rats on the island. Meow, Meow, Meow!!!!
The nice addition to chilling on this island is the “no motorbikes or car” policy. You can only find horse carriages that are used as taxis. Tiny little horses and big carriages fly by ringing jingles, reminds me of Rudolf and the holiday season.

The Magic of Gili.
“The best magic grows here at the Gili Island” told us Nana, a local Indonesian guy who we met on our first day at Didi’s or the Easy Bungalows. When he said magic he was referring to magic mushrooms. On the Gili Island it’s legal to sell and use magic mushrooms, signs of “Going to the Moon” are all over the place and local guys shout and advertise all the time. Smoking pot? You will be arrested and can possibly do life in prison or face death penalty. Eating hallucinogenic mushrooms is all good.
Nana offered to take us mushroom picking one day, an offer we couldn’t resist. In Eastern Europe it’s common to go mushroom picking, for the editable ones of course. Mushroom picking is in our blood, Iza is a natural, she will spot any mushroom on the planet, I on the other hand never see them. Too camouflage for me, and as some of you might know I am freaking blind. After two lasik surgeries and extensive eye exercises as a kid, I am still blind and I can only see 80% out of my right eye.
My excitement of magic mushroom picking quickly faded as the Gili’s noon heat kicked in and I could not spot the magic. “Look under the palm trees, on an old cow shit,” said Nana. “That’s where you will find them”
Really??? I can’t see anything, and I do not want to die from a falling coconut. By the way more people die getting hit by a coconut then by a donkey kick. According to Nana, we needed to get at least 15 medium mushrooms to fly to the moon. Of course he was the winner and picked most of the mushrooms, Iza was second best and contributed to the pile, I honestly probably picked two or three. I really liked the idea of “going magic mushroom picking” more than actually doing it or eating it. We were a bit hesitant to eat them at first so we asked Nana to keep them in the fridge for us.
In the meantime, we focused our 10 days at the island with things like eating at the Green Café, a vegetarian spot that is near the food market, serves the best food on the island. We practiced Yoga at the yoga studio in the center of town. Kate, our teacher was one of the best teachers I had in a while; she managed to slowly transform our bodies and added pain to our daily muscles movements.
On some days we went to the Cinema Café, where they display loud movies and served drinks and popcorn.
Scuba diving was also in action, everybody always hears how scuba is amazing in Indonesia, so I was not going to pass on the opportunity to explore the Bali Sea’s reefs and fishes. I gave 2 tries before I gave up on the Gili scuba. I was a bit disappointed with the marine life and the reefs. I guess I am spoiled; the Caribbean just have the best scuba diving for me, a nice combination of everything. Maybe it had something to do with the rainy season, maybe when the weather is nicer the visibility and marine life will make the difference.
We also met cool people at the bars and got drunk a few times. We bumped into our friend Tommi, who we met in Australia with the volcano ash thing, he was there with his friend Marcus, two Fin guys who were ready to party and surf. We played a game of “Ring of Fire”, a drinking game, where we got extremely drunk. That game is something else; I will make a note not to play this game ever again. Without getting into details, the next day, I woke up with serious scratches on my hand, arm and back. I looked like I was attacked by one the homeless cats. I like to think that I fell into the bushes while riding a bike, but it’s still a mystery. Iza, managed to somehow put a decent size hole into our “going out dress”. She also has no idea how it happened. Ohh, the strength of “Ring of Fire”, kids don’t play this at home!!! Unless you are ready for the consequences!
On one cloudy day, Nana came by our bungalow with a mix of pineapple, Fanta and magic mushroom juice. We went under an umbrella with a view on the crystal blue water and rainy dark blue doomed clouds and drank the magic juice. With patience we waited for the magic to shoot us slowly to the moon. Half an hour passed, and we were still waiting patiently for our mind reaction.
We were lying on the pillows, speechless, slightly giggling, with slightly enhanced vividness. No sign of the moon nor the sun, just gloomy day and us under the weather. “Nana, are you feeling anything?” I asked. He just smiled and said not much just mellow. “Iza?” and she had a similar response. So we took a walk, admired the beautiful scenery of the beach and just explored our minds. Nana found some more magic mushrooms, quite big, this time we just ate it straight from the cow shit. The reaction was the same, slightly buzzed, and a bit of vividness, but nothing out of the ordinary world, just a mellow day.
On our last day at the Gili, we met Dingdong, a local guy who we initially didn’t want to talk to, but somehow fell into a conversation that lasted 2 hours. We talked to Dingdong about everything and anything that dealt with Gili Islands and in general Indonesis, the conversation got interesting when he got into the magic of Gili.
“You didn’t try the right magic.” He said. “Here on Gili there are two types of magic mushrooms. One that grows on cow shit and one that grows on horse shit. The common, seller here is the cow shit mushrooms. What do cows do? They eat, shit, and sleep. Cows are mellow and don’t have too much power. That is exactly the effect you had. MELLOW. When you try mushrooms from the horse’s shit it’s a different story. Horses have lots of power and are super strong. Eating mushrooms that grow on horse shit will make you have a strong, powerful trip to the moon” He continued to explain the metaphor behind magic mushrooms on the Gilis, as Iza and I sat there and listen with interest.
“I’ve sold horse shit magic to two Americans, who after eating it had so much power that they ran around the island twice, fearless, joyful and with braveness.” He said while laughing. “I just sat here and watched them and hoped that they were not going to get the ‘Monkey Face’.”
What’s the magic effect of the “Monkey Face”? When you fly to the moon with too much power, and the power shoots you over the moon is when you reached the “Moneky Face”. There is no return and you live your life in the monkey world; hopping around, scared, lost while people point fingers in curiousness. If you choose to fly to the moon make sure you reach it slowly and explore with care. Up on your return you will have experience the magic of the moon, the Gili and the shit.
Next day we were on the way to Kuta, Lombok.