Happy Thanksgili!

By Dave Fox
(Headed to the Gili Islands in Indonesia)

It’s Thanksgiving tomorrow in the United States. To celebrate, I will be partaking in the classic American pastime of traveling to a small Indonesian island I know virtually nothing about.

The Gili Islands: Ox carts and bicycles are the preferred modes of transport. (Photo: Kok Leng Yeo / Creative Commons)

The island is one of three islands referred to collectively as the Gili Islands. As it turns out (I just learned this on Wikipedia), “Gili” means “small island” in Sasak, the local dialect, which means I am going to the “Small Island Islands.” Imagine if New York City were called “Big City City.”

But I digress.

We are flying tonight to Denpasar, Indonesia, on the island of Bali. We will then catch a boat Thursday morning to Gili. The Gili islands, like Gilligan’s Island, have have no motorcars. Therefore, we will ride to our accommodations via ox cart. I am hoping we will get lucky, and the ox cart company will upgrade us from an economy ox to, I dunno, a business class ox? I’m not exactly sure how the ox pecking order works.

(If you have speculations or first-hand knowledge on the difference between an economy ox cart and a business class ox cart, please offer your thoughts in the comment box at the end of this article.)

We are making this journey with several of my wife Kattina’s teacher colleagues and their partners. We will be sharing a house, and doing things teachers do on tropical island vacations such as debating the hidden meanings in Shakespearean sonnets and sipping soy milk on the beach.

I do not anticipate we will have traditional American turkey on Thanksgiving. It’s hard to find turkeys in the Gili Islands. The oxen have scared them away.

The other thing I am sad to be missing  this Thanksgiving is Black Friday, an American tradition in which people stand in line for 19 hours with the intention of purchasing a cheap television set, but instead get trampled to death. While I will not be purchasing a cheap television set, we did manage to score cheap round trip tickets to Bali for 63 Singapore dollars ($51 US). This is, of course, on a low-budget airline, which is about as pleasant as getting trampled while standing in line at Walmart.

In any event, I shall have more reports about these sparsely populated islands, unless I get eaten by oxen. (And more bloggage from Burma is coming soon too!)

To those of you who celebrate the seventeenth century European occupation of North America, happy Thanksgiving! To those of you who do not, have a nifty weekend anyway. To all of my readers, I shall hoist a refreshing glass of soy milk in your honor. Actually, it’s been a very stressful last couple of weeks. So I shall hoist several.

Published on Wednesday, November 21, 2012

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