Saturday, July 12, 2014

I never tire of saying the word: Indonesia

It was a pleasant surprise that the heat didn't seem to be nearly as intense as I had anticipated.  I'm unsure if this is simply because my body has changed after living in the warm, humid temps of the Caribbean for awhile, or if the forecast was wrong.  It was incredibly comfortable, and not as humid as home, which was a wonderful reprieve. 

The first 4 days I spent at an amazing resort located a couple of hours North of the airport, near a town called Candidasa.  The Alilah Hotel & Spa is set directly on the beach, stretched over acres and acres, giving the place a nice, spacious, open air vibe.  The staff are hands down the most phenomenal, attentive and friendly people I have ever met.  They practically read my mind.  They greeted me with ice cold, refreshing washcloths for freshen my face, then a nice spritz of Frangipani water and a to-die-for light & refreshing welcome drink.  My room was up on the 2nd floor, and overlooked the beautiful swimming pool.  Dining at the Alilah left me wanting to lick my plate, at every meal.  I loved watching the waves crash on the nearby rocks, while drinking coffee each morning at high tide, and the dragonflies land on the lily pads that sat among the ponds surrounding the restaurant.  Frangipani flowers quickly became part of my every day ensemble in Indonesia.  They are such beautiful, delicate little flowers that grow in bundles on trees.  The best part is they smell UH-Mazing!

Yep.  Almost too good to be true

Alila Mangiss Pool, Bali

Gorgeous Frangipani Tree

Frangipani Style

Bali Tea and local snacks were served every afternoon near the pool, by possibly the sweetest Balinese fella I met the whole trip!  He was seriously adorable!!  A nice break from the excessive lounging that took place all afternoon.

Bali Ginger-Honey Tea and traditional snacks

A little R&R... Okay, a LOT!

Lily Pads at every meal

On day 4 it was finally time to do some diving!  Up the coast to Telumben, and a famous shipwreck called the USAT Liberty, which was hit by a Japanese torpedo in 1942 during World War II.  She sat beached until 1963 when the tremors from a volcano eruption of Mount Agung caused the vessel to slip down the slope to where it now lies.

I literally woke up in the morning, walked to the ocean 30 steps away, where my gear had been carried & set up for me.  All I had to do was wander into the water and dive.  It was brilliant!  Within 10 minutes of my first dive in Bali, my guide had shown me 2 huge purple and orange nudibrach, pygmy seashorse about a half inch tall blended in perfectly to the purple coral fan, a painted frogfish a 1/4 of the size of my palm, another hairy frogfish (which my guide screamed with excitement when he spotted it, which is when you know, it's a BIG deal!), an ornate ghost pipehorse and loads more!  All the things we dream about seeing back home, were everywhere down there!

Beautiful Nudibrach

Painted Frogfish

Hairy Frogfish (image by others)

The cutest little Pygmy Seahorse  (image by others)

Ornate Ghost Pipehorse

The underwater world never seems to let me down.  Always something new and fascinating, especially on this trip!

Stay tuned for the next leg of the trip...  things get even more interesting!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Late Night Taiwan

After a quick hop to LA, I boarded the two story China Airline monstrosity for the longest flight I've ever done; 15 hours.  Ay yai yai!  Fortunately, a great friend of mine had given me 2 sleepy pills before I left Portland.  One for on the way to Taipei, and one on the way back.  The first few hours were easy to kill, getting settled, orienting myself with the movie, sitcom, music and video game selection.  Eating a meal, solely to see if it really is as good as people claim.  It was not, though I've had worse.  After a few Tetris marathons, I popped that bad boy and slept for 7 hours straight!  4 hours left was totally fathomable, I was so pleased.

The gal next to me was traveling with a few others, and stopping over in Taipei on their journey to Cambodia to share a teaching curriculum in some of the schools.  We all had the same layover, something like 11 hours, and decided to try and catch one of the night markets Taipei is known for.  All but one of their group joined in the adventure.  I transferred as much as I could from my purse into my carry on, and checked (all 7 kgs, thank you China Air...) into a long term storage desk.  One guy stayed behind in the airport's transfer hotel.  His passport does not allow him to leave the airport, because he is Chinese.

By the time we made it to the city, it was about midnight, too late for the night market.  We wandered a bit and ended up in a nightclub, and stuck out like sore travelers.  We mooched outlets to charge smart phones, brushed teeth in the bathroom & I'm sure tested the cocktail waitress' patience while slowly counting out the local currency, some in paper and other in coins.   We had each exchanged a little bit of money at the airport, enough to buy a couple of beers and a little mystery meat on a stick from a street vendor afterward.  The latter part of our evening/early morning we found ourselves sitting in the grass in front of the World Trade Center sipping canned beer, until about 4 am when we decided to head back to check in for our flights.

On to the final leg of my journey to Bali.  5 hours from Taipei to Denpasar, BALI!!!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

@GirlGoneInternational #Girlgi #Aweekinmylife

I've been invited to guest post 'A Week in my Life' for Girl Gone International's Instagram feed.

I've been following other GGI's for at least a year now, and am excited to have the opportunity to share mine!  I hope you'll join in the fun, here is a link to their Instagram feed, be sure to Follow the page to receive updates on my whereabouts over the next week!  

You link to my Instagram feed right over here

Taipei, Taiwan in front of the 101 skyscraper