I think I will remember when 2010 became 2011. To be honest I have to tell you that I remember very few New Years Eve’s mostly because I usually go to bed early – why wait till midnight – it’s already New Years someplace in the world.
This year was different. I was on vacation in Gili Trawangan, Lombok, Indonesia. In backpacker circles, Gili Trawangan is know as the party island. It’s small, you can walk around the perimeter in an hour or two. And there are no motorcycles or cars or trucks. You can rent bicycles or ride in little carts behind horses. It’s borders are all beaches perfect for snorkeling. It’s an hour boat ride away from the main Lombok island. I had arrived there 2 days before. Angela and I had completed the 3 day overnight English Camp with our schools and had headed off on our 8 day vacation. We met up with Luke and Noel, Erika and Gio and we saw Agnes, who is the volunteer support person in the PC office. We were staying at a home stay – several rooms that a local person rents out. Each room had a bathroom but the water was salty, so you never really felt like you could get clean. An interesting invention was a sink with running (salty) water but no drain pipe so you could wash your hands and feet at the same time. The beds did have mosquito nets and they turned on the generator in the evening so there would be lights and the ceiling fan would work.
Every day we would get up and walk around, do some shopping, some laying on the beach, some snorkeling and find food. There was an excellent Mexican food place and a breakfast café that had great bread.
On New Year’s Eve we walked to the sea turtle sanctuary next to the ocean. There were several hundred baby sea turtles swimming in 3 big pens. The sanctuary had a roof and we all sat on the steps and looked out at the fireworks lighting the sky across the bay on the main Lombok island.
Then we went to an Irish bar where the music was loud and the tables and chairs were on a little deck over the ocean. The rocks and the surf were about 5 feet below us. Some guys were shooting off fireworks from the beach and the rocks. Heavy duty, commercial fireworks – the kind that go hundreds of feet up into the air and then blast into a big fire ball with sparkling lights on the ends. I saw a guy shoot off a big tube with 6 of these loaded into it, then it stopped and he looked inside to see why. Totally unsafe. I really enjoy watching fireworks but I don’t like the danger. My brother’s best friend’s little brother died in his mother’s arms after a fireworks accident. Another guy started lighting off more of the giant display type fireworks and then he dropped it and it started shooting in the direction where we were standing. I felt sparks on my legs. There were so many people, you couldn’t move out of the way. Some big Indonesians who looked liked bouncers came over and then there weren’t any more fireworks in the trees. You could still look out and see them on different parts of the beach and across the water on other islands.
Then it started to rain, a lot! People stopped walking in the street and crowded into the bars. It was packed, body to body with everybody dancing. By 1:30 I was cold and my feet were tired of being stepped on. I had danced till my feet hurt and was ready to head home. Angela came with me and we stepped out into a knee deep flood of water that we walked for about a half hour till we got to our home stay “hotel.” I had my sister Pinky’s chaco sandals so I was able to navigate pretty well. Angela had her shoes on and kept trying to go barefoot, but the rocky road was a little rough under all that water.