Continuing from where I left off, this is the second in the list of stories during our holiday that contributed to creating an experience we would never forget. Actually make it the third. The second story was written, however not published. It was shared with the people who traveled on the holiday and the main protagonist of that story felt that there are some stories which should not meet the public eye, hence I obliged. You never know, some day he changes his mind and I do get to publish the story and each one of you gets to read it. Till then enjoy this one 🙂
We spent the first three days of our holiday at Gili Islands, probably one of the most beautiful places that I have ever been to. The combination of pristine blue waters and white sand just does something else to the human mind. I can go on and on about how pretty the place was and what a blast we had, but that’s not the story. The story is about the commute to and the commute back from Gili Islands. The most popular and widely used way is Speed Boats, and when I say Speed boats this is not your regular boat which houses two to three people, they are more like bigger boats that can accommodate about close to a 150 people. Tickets for these Speed Boats are also not cheap. The Private Operators that run these boats ensure that they end up making enough money. At the time you also don’t mind shelling the money out, because who would not pay to get to “Heaven on Earth”.
The journey to Gili Islands which takes about two hours was one of the best experiences of the holiday (at least for me). When we left Padang Bai, the port from which you depart it was pouring like crazy. This continued till we got on to the boat and kind of dampened our spirits. For the first half an hour of the journey we were sitting bundled up in the lower compartment of the speed boat looking at each other for some inspiration. A little later the rain stopped and the sun came out in all its glory. The staff on the boat came and told everyone that the upper deck is now open for everyone to sit and use. I was the first to move up and it was beyond beautiful- clear blue waters all around you, a sky that looked like God had painted it especially for you and the feeling of being in the middle of nowhere. Words cannot do justice to describe how surreal the setting was. The staff had some music on and there were beers on offer. Standing on the top deck of the boat with the wind in my hair (whatever little is left), admiring the breathtaking beauty of the ocean, appreciating and absorbing everything around me was probably one of the most understated but best moments of the holiday for me. I really felt that If ever I had an opportunity to hold time to a standstill, this would be the moment. In a brief while Karan and Arjun also joined in, disrupting my moment of solitude. We downed a few beers and before you know it we were at Gili Islands
Cut to three days later. We were now on our way back from Gili Islands to Padang Bai on a similar Speed Boat. Leaving from Gili Islands is never a good feeling. If I had my way, I would have probably never left. We were also tired and fatigued as we had barely slept in the three days that we were there. So naturally neither of us were excited to make our way to the top deck. We made ourselves comfortable in the lower deck and surrendered to the air conditioning. Arjun was having something of a heat stroke and kept pouring water on his head, Karan was snoring –with his mouth open. About 30 minutes into the journey, the boat seemed to be going unusually fast and the ride started getting rather bumpy. At first it did not really seem alarming and we felt that it’s just probably a stretch of rough waters so we just ignored it. However the speed increased and the ride became even bumpier, so much so that there were moments where we were literally mid air and then the massive boat would plonk itself back into the rough waters. The fear was whether or not it would land safely and trust me many a times we felt that this was it, this time the boat would topple. Scary AF if you ask me! No one on the boat was sleeping now; everyone had their eyes wide open and looked a tinge worried. The staff came around and attempted to re-assure us that things were fine; they were also carrying puke bags which a lot of the passengers did end up using. The individual driving the boat was showing no signs of slowing down. The three of us tried to throw in some humor in our conversations to lighten the mood, but it was clear that deep down we were scared. We started discussing what we would do if things did go wrong. The best suggestion came from Arjun- “We use Karan as the floatation device”. Looking around at other passengers, we could sense fear on every one’s face. With every bump and elevation of the surface of the boat we were unsure of whether we would land back safely. This ordeal lasted for about an hour.
We eventually made it safe and sound; Arjun claims to have used his superpowers. Although everything in the stomach felt like it had been put together in a blender and churned out at the highest speed.
Now I don’t know if such rough waters and a bumpy ride was normal and we over-reacted. But what I do know is that there was a sense of relief on everyone’s faces the moment the boat docked at Padang Bai. For us – it was like we were alive again. Alive enough to begin the next leg of our journey and with that will the next story. Till then, continue to ride the biggest wave of them all… “Life” 🙂