If you ever visit the Gili Islands, do yourself a huge favour, and save a lot of time; just go straight to Gili Air. Trawangan is far too developed, Meno is way too quiet...Air is somewhere between the two.
I'd gone there for a day after chatting to a Derby fella named John who was running a branch of Manta Dive there; we'd spoken on the boat to Meno after my run-in with Napoleon and his cronies. He told me to look him up if I got to Air. I'd been tempted to just head back to Bali after the islands so far, but got up too late for the boat and headed to Air instead. It was fate I missed the boat, as Air is a lovely island. The locals are different to Trawangan; far friendlier and laidback...they'll chat to you just because they want to, not to get your business. And the fact that the only way to get around is on foot or by horse-drawn cart adds to its charm.
I was chatting to John at the shop when a girl I recogised from Kuta, an English girl named Lynsey, walked up the beach with her friend Juta. They'd chartered their own boat for the last few weeks since we'd met in that lame bar...self-confessed Champagne Backpackers. I spent an amusing afternoon on the beach with them. Lynsey I already knew, and Juta was a German with an acid tongue and very sarcastic sense of humour, so I decided to go get my bags that night and return the next day.
I was glad I did, we had a right old laugh for the next few days...doing nothing more than smoking weed, drinking beer and watching the sun go down. The girls looked after me, too...their budget was way beyong my meagre means (cue violins), and they bought me dinner a couple of times. It was much appreciated. Lynsey's actually pondering leasing a restaurant and running that for a year, she liked the place so much...I expect to see her still sat on that beach should I ever return.
There's nothing much else to report about Air, but we did meet a very odd character (you certainly meet them travelling) while sat in the Chillout Bar one night (I pine for their orange milkshakes). Rama was his name, and he wore the typical hippie outfit...this included the hated (by me) Thai fisherman pants, and an obviously feminine bag which banged around his knees. He came over to our table and told us all about his mystic existence, and that he was a Children's Entertainment Specialist with a psychology slant. Bizarre. Wouldn't let my kids near such a character.
Juta quizzed him as to his biological heritage, as he looked a little exotic.
"Well, I'm American raised, but I'm 20% Cherokee Indian, 50% Indonesian, 25% Italian, 10% French, my mother is half Chinese and I'm also 30% Swedish."
I gaped. Lynsey sniggered. Kuta just huffed loudly and unsubtly "Maths not his strong point..."
Didn't see much of Rama after that. Thankfully.