The manager of our hotel “Adeng Adeng” on Gili Meno is a hilariously likable, big, Bavarian woman named Karina. Adeng Adeng, which means ‘Slowly, Slowly’, kind of a local mantra, is a very highly rated hotel for the money. It shows. The grounds are beautiful, the AC is strong and the service is incredible.
As I cross the garden paths from my bungalow to the kitchen at 5am, it occurs to me that Karina has done what no other resort or hotel owner has ever allowed me to do, which is boil my own water for coffee before the kitchen opens. It’s that kind of little thing that makes the difference in a lot of these places.
The non-existant wifi and lack of hot water are minuses, but this place is easy to love. (In the afternoon they put a heart shaped decoration of hibiscus petals on our bed.)
Surprisingly, no one sleeps late. I guess we are still on Rinjani time when we got up before dawn. Maybe it’s the many attention-needy roosters sqwaking. Karina serves breakfast at 7am, English pancakes (kind of heavy and eggy) and some scrambled eggs. The coffee is pretty good too. Nearby is the island of Java, which gave coffee it’s nickname but a lot of the good stuff goes to export.
Our plan on Meno is exciting: beach, eat, nap, catch up on social media. Adeng Adeng has a little beach restaurant on the shore. We play in the water a bit but the waves aren’t that exciting. A long morning blurs into a long afternoon. We all move Adeng Adeng. We need the recovery time.
For Dinner we eat at Wee bee, a little place down the road. All the menu’s seem the same. Delicious fruit juices, mei goreng and nasi goreng which are fried rice and noodle dishes. There are often amazing-looking grilled seafood and sometimes some crappy pasta. Tofu and tempeh seem to be available off menu, and we tend to eat that. Lily enjoys multiple servings of Raja Raja – breaded shrimp.
Despite having had a day off, we’re pretty tired. Emma doesn’t like the food she ordered and she gets quietly upset. She had a very very limited palate, and though she has gotten a lot better, she still can’t easily get full on our trips. Asia is the hardest. I tell her “Emma, I’m sorry you have a hard time eating, I know that must be frustrating. And I’m very appreciative that you never complain.” She tears up and says ‘Thank you.’ She’s like her mom, stoic and undemanding.
On our second day, we up the ante. No more sleeping and lounging around! We head straight for the Mahamaya resort up the road for some masagges. The girls go first, followed by Amanda and me. They make me put on a silly little black mesh puffy underwear. And it’s a decent massage – for $35 an hour it can’t be beat. All of use have to tell them to go easy on our legs, especially our calves.
Afterward we make the walk into ‘town’. Town is a string of ten or so hotel/restaurants with a gift shop and an ATM in the middle. As we approach there is nother couple, a man playing guitar, and a waiter or two standing outside the mostly empty restaurants. We joke about it being ‘city life’ with lots of traffic, hustle and angry people.
The ‘Nautilus’ hotel and cafe would not be the place you’d stop under any circumstances, but we had been informed they had the best pizza, and indeed there is a brick pizza oven. The pies sound pretty good with a few vegetarian options. And surprisingly the iced cappuchino.
Gili Meno’s one attraction, other than rest and relaxation (and good snorkel/scuba – but we’re gonna get a lot of that next) is the tiny turtle farm near the beach where we landed two days ago. It’s run by a woman who hatches and cares for turtles until they are old enough to be released in the wild. There are hundreds of them, and I presume they don’t all survive. But apparently many do, and it’s nearly impossible not to see a turtle on the north shore of Gili Meno while snorkling.
Many of the beaches have little roofed platforms on which one can relax and get served drinks by the local hotel or restaurant. It’s supposed to be high season, but it really doesn’t look like the island is full. Anyway, it’s easy to walk up and grab one. Emma reads her book, Lily gets some better waves, though they are still small.
Amanda and I take our last beach sunset stroll, hand in hand. It reminds us of the beach on which we got engaged just a few months ago. I’m a very lucky man.
Tomorrow we’ll depart for our next adventure. One more day here would have been ok but more than that would get boring. For Dinner we go back to the unassuming brick oven pizza place. On the way home the entire island has a black out for a few minutes. Amanda let’s out a little yelp, and we all chuckle, knowing that she is easily startled and teasing her a bit. She’s family now.