We staggered like refugees onto the beach at Gili Trawangan, the largest of the three tiny islands just off the northwest coast of Lombok. Dogs and motorised vehicles are banned on the islands and the infrastucture is nascent, making them peaceful idylls for sunseeking travellers. The lack of dogs might also contribute to the prevalence of cats, patrolling the beaches and eateries, brushing and scratching bare legs to beg for scraps of freshly barbequed fish. The main strip is a small village of bars and tourist accomodation, its traffic a trickle of flip-flopped walkers, bicycles and jingling ponies pulling small traps. We found a fish market full of barbeque smoke and flourescent light, selling Red, Black and White Snapper, huge shrimps and squid, Baracuda, Parrot Fish and many others. We picked a particularly beautiful “Sweet Lips” fish, with narrow yellow and blue stripes on its sides and leopard print fins.
We had missed the last ferry to our planned destination, Gili Air, so we spent the night there in Gili “T”, in a cosy place run by a lovely young guy called Deb. The next morning we made the short, comfortable crossing on an open-sided wooden boat. Landing to find a new island that was even more of a postcard paradise than the last one, similar in features but quieter still, and surrounded by a reef populated by fecund marine fauna.