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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Private Island

This is what paradise is made of: sunshine and beaches and palm trees, swinging in a hammock on your own personal porch 5 feet from the ocean waves, waking up at dawn and taking a half hour walk around the edge of the island hunting for the perfect sea shells that washed up on the shore during the night, finding shells so big you can only carry one at a time back to your little bungalow on stilts.

It’s called Gili Nanggu, Lombok, Indonesia To get there you take a fishing boat from the harbor for a half hour ride to the sea turtle sanctuary island. There is a protected holding area where the eggs are buried in sand and several tanks where mini sea turtles swim for a year under the protective care of the staff.

The snorkeling is awesome. At first I wanted a partner – I mean it’s the ocean and it’s big and who knows what is swimming out there. By the second day I was content to cruise by myself over the coral beds, looking 3 or 4 feet down into a living aquarium. I would hold my hands out and wiggle them and little fish would come up to my fingertips. I counted over 50 in view at one time. Neon green and fluorescent blue, pink ones and black and white stripped ones, angle fish and nemo fish. Occasionally bigger fish, like the kind we ate for dinner would swim by in schools. And all this just 20 feet from the shore with gentle waves and no current.

On the main Lombok island I bought a pearl pendant, bracelet, earrings and ring – all for $10. I had shopped at the fancy stores and I didn’t care if the pearls were slightly misshapen, so I bargained with a woman on the beach.

If this sounds like an ad for coming to Indonesia – it is! $25 a night to rent the bungalow, meals about $5 each, free breakfast – what more could you want! Just take a flight to Bali, then a fast boat to Lombok and you are on your way to bliss.

So, to all my family and friends who are looking out their windows at snow – come visit me and share in my paradise. Check it out on the internet.


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