The volcanic eruption had provided me with an unanticipated extra stint in Gili T, where I had just spent an amazing and unexpectedly emotional week – and this time I had a plan.
I would head straight for the Broken Compass, or the very nice hostel directly opposite the very fun yet sometimes too noisy and a little worn Gili Castle (formerly Gili Backpackers). My plan succeeded as my 11:30am arrival at this accommodation saw me able to snap up the last ensuite private room that they were still cleaning, and which was the same price but much nicer than the digs in which I stayed for a full week at Gili Castle.
On my way back into town for cash I passed the Swedish lady I had met the night before in Seminyak – a friend of the UK Gili crew – and she booked a night at the same place, also. I then proceeded to take advantage of the comfortable and quiet room with quality light-blocking curtains and had a very long, still-needed nap.
My next few days on Gili T passed in a similar pattern as before: I would relax and nap during the day, take myself to different restaurants to grab some lunch or a snack and cocktail, join the party boat yet again on the Wednesday (what else is a girl to do?) and once more strongly intend to make it onto the snorkelling tour (I still had my voucher) that I ultimately never did. Three more nights of partying introduced me to more new friends, and the managers of Gili Castle were happy to see me again and invite me to join the crowd each evening, although I was no longer staying there. It soon turned out that many others weren’t, either, and that there were even cheaper locally owned bungalows down the road; although as far as I was concerned I was now on the dime of my travel insurance and would have my accommodation covered.
On the first night I arrived in time to join a large crowd head to dinner at a quality and nearby Indonesian restaurant I was sorry to have missed during my first stint, and we partied on as usual at the two venues that mainly comprised ping pong tables. I coincidentally met the two guys who had sat next to us in Sky Garden the night before when I was not in much of a social mood.
On the second night and after the boat party (during which I recognised a girl who had been behind me in the queue for my return flight) a ‘Black Moon’ party was being held at a previously unknown-to-me open air bar down the beach. Consequently, everyone went there to dance to EDM music after the usual Wednesday Irish Pub night finished up at around 3am. The music wasn’t my thing so I didn’t stay too long after that; however, I had met some very friendly people at the Gili Backpackers over a funny game of Kings that involved us running up and down as a ‘rule’ and so enjoyed their company up until then.
My third night became unexpectedly my last and spelt the demise of yet another well-intentioned snorkelling trip when I abruptly received word from my Australian friend, Scott, whose trip had also been extended by the volcano and who was heading to Ubud after all. We made plans to meet there the next day, which involved me rapidly booking a morning ferry and obtaining a refund for my following two nights’ accommodation (this was an easy task as they don’t take bookings and only accept walk-ins anyway). That night a merry group from the hostel partied at the bar the Gili Castle often frequents, but it wasn’t long before I called it a night in anticipation of my next Bali adventure and an unexpected new destination.