After successfully opening Gili Meno Eco Hostel and working there for a week after the official opening, it was time to move on. The lack of volunteers and staff meant I was working 16 hour days and I was super burned out. I decided to spend the last two week’s I had in Indonesia before my visa expired, on my favourite island Gili Air.
It was sad to say goodbye to owner Michelle and family at the hostel that had been my home for a month, but I was looking forward to some much needed downtime. I had also planned to write a couple more articles about food on the Gili’s for local publications and travel websites, plus visit a number of restaurants which I was invited in to review, like I had with Karma Beach.
On Gili Air I rented a small room inland which was comfortable, but the paper thin walls and my neighbour Phil didn’t mix. As lovely as he is, Phil’s an early riser and enjoys making vegetable shakes pre-7am, which meant I failed to catch up on any of the sleep I desperately needed. I had booked a flight to Perth on the 21st of August, the day my visa expired, as it was one of the cheapest flights out of the country and a good excuse to catch up with my friend Mel who came and met me in Gili T in July.
I had been feeling unwell for a couple of weeks, which I put down to long hours at the hostel. But things got considerably worse after a couple of days on Gili Air. I just wasn’t feeling myself and before long I had developed a fever and struggled to move from my bed. The next two days were pretty much the same, but luckily I was well looked after by friends at Mowies. Each time I’ve been ill when travelling I’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness of others, who may not have known me long but have gone out of their way to make sure I’m ok. It’s the kindness I received from everyone on the island that reminded me why Gili Air is such a special place, full of special people.
Unfortunately, I didn’t feel any better and given my past history of ending up in hospital whilst backpacking, decided it was sensible to book an extortionately priced last minute flight to Perth. I didn’t want to leave Gili Air so soon, especially not without saying goodbye to everyone and enjoying one last Happy Salmon bun from Mowies, but there was a chance I would feel worse by the time my original flight was scheduled and I didn’t want to risk getting stuck on an island with limited medical facilities.
Eight hours after booking a new flight to Perth, I was off to Lombok Airport. I was lucky that my friend Rad was also in Lombok that day so shared his private driver, Abing, who happened to be the guy I was renting my room from. The journey was a long one and I took Abing for an iced sugar drink when we stopped off at a local Warung just outside the terminal. After indulging in quality western-style food from Mowies for the last few days, it was only right that my last meal in Indonesia was Mie goreng; fried noodles, fried eggs and lashings of Kecap manis – a thick sweet soy sauce with a treacle flavour.
The public boat to Lombok and drive to the airport was far less stressful than I had anticipated and I arrived over three hours early. By the time I was in the air I felt pretty rough and couldn’t wait to get to bed. Air Asia have a habit of waiting over an hour before coming round with the drinks trolley, I was convinced they were testing me to see how long it took before I’d keel over and die. I was so thirsty by the time the trolley arrived, I spent twice as much as I had planned on ridiculously overpriced water, even though I had full bottles before boarding the plane. Be warned, if you have an international flight from Lombok, they are super strict on taking liquids onboard so be prepared to pay sky high for drink on the plane – Aussie dollars or card only!
As soon as I touched down in Perth I was like a kid in a candy shop. I felt like crap but I couldn’t help picking up a McDonald’s on my way to Mel and Shaun’s apartment which overlooks the beautiful swan river. I was pleased by the most simplest of things like hot fresh water, flushable toilets and McDonald’s drive throughs. I was equally displeased by the fact that I was reminded of a thing called rain, the temperature can drop below 25 degrees and there are these objects called shoes which I learnt, have to be worn in the majority of public places.
Mel had kindly moved my doctor’s appointment forward to the following morning, so Shaun dropped me off in the centre of town. Funnily enough, my old Uni’ house-mate Sarah emerged from the shop I was outside and came running towards me. Who would have thought I would bump into an old friend on the other side of the world! After an unsuccessful two hours at the doctors, racking up a $350 bill, I decide it would be better for me to go straight to hospital. I wasn’t feeling any better and the doctor hadn’t performed any of the necessary checks (such as take my temperature when I said I had a fever!) plus, I would have to wait a week for the results. I knew something wasn’t right and I needed urgent treatment.
After a three hour wait in the emergency department I was admitted to Perth’s Royal Hospital, my second time in hospital during my adult life, both being in Australia. My first backpacking trip in 2009 ended with a five week stay in Nambour Hospital on the East Coast of Australia with a sever kidney infection. It was so serious my poor mum had to catch the next flight out. On this occasion I was adamant I was just being overly cautious and felt terribly guilty that I was taking up a bed which could have been used for someone who felt much worse. Let the diagnoses begin…….
Living life, loving travel,