Globe and Mail

The bells. That’s the first thing you notice – clanging, ringing and dinging, a collective cacophony of chaotic sound. A rhythmic racket of horse-driven taxis that, more often than not, are coming straight for you.

I’d just been dropped on the beach by a fast ferry from Bali, slipping off my flip-flops and hopping into the warm clear Indian Ocean to stride up the white, sandy beach to the Gili Trawangan’s main thoroughfare. Within a few minutes, I’m packed into the back of one of those equine cabs and make good time, en route over an impossibly busy, thoroughly unpaved road, to a beachside paradise.

Indonesia’s Gili Trawangan, often known by its breezy nickname “Gili T,” is the largest and most populated of the Gili Islands – a few round dollops of far-flung Indonesian earth that weren’t settled until the 1970s, though a Japanese prisoner of war camp was set up in the Second World War. Gili T sits just off the coast of Lombok, about 35 kilometres east of Bali and, perhaps more importantly, a full day’s flight from North America. It’s the perfect postelection getaway, far from the hyperbolic airwaves of an anxiety-filled fall; a place to escape if you are wrung out from contemplating the fate of our American cousins and the presidential election’s effect on our own country… [read more at]