hi there! i'm michelle, southern california based photographer and curator of the coco gallery.

welcome to my blog where i share my life, my latest adventures, photo projects, random nuggets and the occasional stray thoughts.

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Monday, March 2, 2009

mila | adventures . indonesia

we were out clubbing one night in bali at this super fun place called skybar.  it's 3 floors up and open air with good music, a steady flow of yummy lychee martinis for me and beer for curtis and petra.  that's where we met chris.  his this tall, lanky dutch kid that had a koolness factor of +20!  an absolute magnet for interesting personalities and loads of fun.  he was talking about going to gili island.  without really pondering what it would take to get there we agreed to meet him for the road trip.

there were stormy clouds up ahead and nobody said anything about the possibility of not getting a boat to the island.  we were 3/4 of the way there (8 hours in) when the bus driver told us there were no boats to gili islands that day because the water was too choppy.  we got stuck in a city called mataram.  an almost dry muslim city.  dry as in ... we walked up and down 5 blocks in search of beer.  the only beer we could find was WARM beer!  nobody was pleased.  there were a few of us staying in the same hotel and with the heat the only thing we could all think of was ... we wanted cold beer.  we settled on buying a case of warm beer, jaunting over to the nearest fast food place (KFC!!!!) begged for a couple of bags of ice and we were happy.  we spent that evening playing poker, muttering over the place we were stuck at and enjoying our beer.

on a side note, the toilet situation in indonesia really gave me something to ponder over.  they typically had ceramic bowl holes in the ground and i had to figure out my squat style.  face forward or face the wall kinda thing.  then there was the odd flushing convention.  instead of providing a flusher there was a large tub to the right of the toilet that you would need to scoop water from to use as flushing water.  just not sure why they didn't complete the plumbing and just set up the flush mechanism.  scratching my head about that still.

we finally made it to gili island early the next day.  it's a tiny island.  gili, unlike bali, is muslim territory.  not so much temple and offerings to be found but there was a regular prayer broadcast over the PA system (audible thru the whole island) first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening.  you could walk the whole island in 2 hours.  it's got a main road choc full of cute restaurants and dive shops.  kinda reminded me of boracay but minus the annoying vendors.  oddly, there are also a lot of cats and not a single dog to be found on the island.  not really sure why that was.  also, where bali had an abundance of motorcycles to get everyone around, there was only a handful of motorized vehicles on this island.  everyone seemed to be using horse drawn carts for transport.  oh and they sell mushroom shakes everywhere hehehe.

how many of you know that i don't really have any bad habits?  i don't smoke, i barely drink (total cheap date) and i've never even smoked pot in my life.  really as in really.  so ... mushroom shakes.... decided to give it a try that week.  very very very colorfully interesting.  and squatting to pee in that state... more interesting still.  lol.

all in all it was a great trip.  chris was an awesome island buddy to have, he took charge that week and found us good places to stay at super happy prices.  we met a few more people along the way which added to the whole experience.  i just wish the distance wasn't too long -- 10 hours is just too much.  can't scottie just beam me up?  when are they going to invent hover crafts and time machines already?  --- smart ass curtis just injected that they already have hover crafts.  whatever.  you guys know what i mean.

this is ben (from utah) and canada (from canada... her name's actually ariane but we called her canada.)

this is chris from holland.  funny funny guy.  we were so lucky to have met him.
curtis brags that he has a personal photographer but we've been having issues lately.  when we were on the beaches of la union, i would get lazy and fall asleep on the sand as he surfed or i'd be awake and there wasn't any surf to speak of.  i think i got fired a few times from the official photographer job.  this is me trying to fulfill my role and curtis trying to give me something to shoot.  

there really was no surf that day.  this is matt, met him at gili island as well.  another surfer on a hunt for waves.  he was so determined to be the last man standing out there.  
gili island is known for it's great diving and snorkling.  so we went.  i'm not trying to be biased as i say this but really and trully, the philippines wins hands down on snorkling.  i've never been diving but i'm thinking that we've got indonesia beat as well.

curtis having fun under the glass boat, took this picture of mike from the bottom as i took the picture of him above (from my point of view he was staring at fabian).  

the picture above is a sea turtle that bobbed out of the water as everyone was jumping in.  funny that i didn't even have to get wet to see this guy.  the rest of the crew were splashing around trying to find him.  matt was so excited to get in the water and see the turtles that he jumped in face first.  as you could see, it was a v.v.bad idea.

yep... those are mushroom shakes.  muwahahhaha.


  1. Is it just me.. or do others feel exhausted after reading your adventure and seeing the photos?! Those are some unbelievable experiences you have there! Oh and I like that shot of the carriage! AWESOME!

  2. This is the longest vacation ever! And yes, toliets in Asia are interesting. I still don't understand them...

  3. Michelle, the stories and images are great! I'm even more stoked to go now!