THE PEOPLE OF GILI MENO.

I always find that no matter how beautiful an island is: at the end of the day, the best memories always come from its people. The people of Gili Meno are special because they live in a special place: originally from Sulawesi, these fishermen came to the island to barter fish with the rice from the bigger and greener island of Lombok. When they decided to settle down, the island became a mix of Bugis, Sasak and other people coming from Nusa Tenggara. Even though Gili Meno is far from being an unknown secret paradise, this place managed to keep a very laid back way of life despite its rising popularity in the tourism industry.

IMG_6954The first person i met was Ofick, a guy from lombok, who found a job on the island running the bungalows where i stayed. He loves the peaceful and simple life of Meno, and here he has found his dimension.

IMG_7021While taking care of the bungalows, he has the time to work at his crafts, in order to sell his products to the tourists once the busy season kicks in.

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IMG_7378He’s also a great singer and he loves playing guitar. At night he likes to go to his friend’s warung (local restaurant) and spend the night jamming with his mates.

IMG_6965Everybody seems to love the music in the island, especially Jun, a young fishermen, descending from the original Bugis people who came to the island decades ago bringing their traditional sounds. Nowadays he’s trying to conserve the heritage of this music: he leads a group of local musiciand including his grandfather and his uncle, and he managed to build his own instrument using jackfruit wood and fishing strings. They own a PA system and from time to time they perform during functions of in some touristic resort.

IMG_7641When i started recording the traditional musicians, all the village came to see the sessions, children included !

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IMG_8116The children of the island learn to fish very early: this young boy spends few hours on the beach every morning, patiently fishing from the seashore. At the end of the day he’s so young but it provides the food for his family.

IMG_7211Meanwhile, some other youngster, enjoys riding the waves of the south eastern tip of the island.

IMG_7224Everywhere i went there was always some cute little baby to play with: my youngest best friend of Gili Meno was definitely this little girl: her name is Mila, she’s 2 and an half years old and she’s incredibly smart for her age.

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IMG_7535Her mother runs a little food stall on the beach. She cooks nasi campur (the daily local meal), plus fried bananas and one of the best coffees of the island. No surprise this place became my favourite spot.

IMG_8333Mila and her little friend are free to play on the beach and have fun in the beautiful sea, just few meters from their mothers.

IMG_8336Beside the food stall, some locals spend their days preparing the glass bottom boats. Once the big season will start, they will make a living taking the tourists for a ride on the clear waters, enjoying the coral reef from the boat.

IMG_7525Scratching the old vernish can be a tough job in the tropical heat, so the young workers often have a break for a cigarette and a cup of  kopi susu.

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IMG_8350My favourite place to eat was indeed this lovely warung, called “Warung Tia”, from the name of the owner’s daughter.

IMG_7589A classic local spot, where you can sit down, grab a drink and wait for Ibu (the indonesian equivalent of Mama) to serve you some great local delicacies. probably this is the place where i had the best nasi campur ever. 

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IMG_7600The husband, a fisherman, spent the afternoon hours repairing the fishing nets in the gazebo in front of the house.

IMG_7813Students, workers, tourists, all the people of Gili Meno, rely on the daily boat service to go to the main island of Lombok. 

IMG_7960There are only few boats a day, therefore the guys of the harbour spend longtime chatting, smoking and playing backgammon on the seaside. These are the first and the last people you will see during your visit in Gili Meno, and their relaxed lifestyle and friendly vibe are the perfect example of what you’re gonna experience in this beautiful little island.

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One response to “THE PEOPLE OF GILI MENO.

  1. Really love reading these blogs, takes me back to the beautiful, tropical Asia before I head off to work in not so tropical Norwich. Thank you MM – songs sounding great too.

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