Today was a beautiful, albeit strange, day in paradise. We spent most of the day lounging on the beach. When we got tired of that we decided to walk through the village. I’ve never seen a place with such unique charm. Once you leave the main road of Gili Tarwangan, you’re not in Kansas anymore. The streets were lined with eclectic houses and messy shacks. Everyone was so lively and warm. I could have wandered for hours. Somewhere along the walk we set our sights on making it to the other side of the island to watch the sunset. We stopped here and there, including stopping to watch the local soccer game. It seemed like the whole village was wrapped up in this match.
Suddenly people were running wildly. My eyes followed the crowd and as I looked up I noticed a dark cloud of smoke. We ran along with them, stopping only when we got to the house set ablaze. People were coming from all over trying to help put the fire out. Buckets, water hoses and even a fire extinguisher, but it was too late. The house was gone.
Next people rushed to pour water on the nearby houses. This kept going for a while until someone must have brought people’s attention to the fact that something might blow up. People began running and screaming in what seemed sure to be a stampede. We thought it best to get away from this chaos and decided to keep chasing the sunset. I am so glad we did.
Just passed the soccer field the houses opened up to a long, winding road flanked with palm trees and the occasional calf or rooster. It was stunning. I didn’t care anymore if we reached the sunset because I was awestruck right where we were. I’ve been in the middle of nowhere a lot, but this felt different. I almost felt like I was in Africa. It was dry, but tinged with elements of the tropics. I highly recommend spending a day getting lost in Gili Tarwangan. Can’t wait to uncover more of this island tomorrow.