Deep blue

June 17, 2009 § 4 Comments

Picture 401

The past is not something I like to dwell on but for this post I have no choice but to bring it up. On a trip to Coffs Harbour around 4 or 5 years ago a dreadful event occurred. As mentioned in the post below I fear I am hardly an outdoors enthusiast and this applies to land and sea. Although I am very happy to watch dophins dodge around waves from the confines of a ship once in a while and go kayaking in a small calm river, any more extreme attempts would immediately incur feelings of dread. Knowing that about myself unfortunately doesn’t stop me from my occassional moments of crazy (see below), and on that fateful day at Coffs Harbour I decided to go snorkelling for the first time.

For unknown reasons whenever someone mentions snorkelling I always conjure images of myself in knee-deep water, by the sandy beach, admiring colourful fishies and corals merely meters from the safety of the shore. Surely everyone knows this is not the case, and by the time I realized this the boat was already on its speedy way across the deep blue sea. And what do we know about the deep blue sea? It’s choppy as hell. And what did I find out about myself that day? I get very very sea-sick. Easily. So not 10 minutes into the boat ride with kids and adults excitedly chattering away, the combination of the smell of old wet-suit, the rough waves, and cleverly having a full lunch right before going, I puked my guts out. While everyone jumped and splashed in the water snorkelling away, I got so sick that I had to get out of the water after less than a minute and stay on the boat. Apparently they saw a baby shark. Whatever.

Anyway the point is I attempted snorkelling a second time in Bali, almost putting that incident out of my mind forever thinking time would heal all wounds. Not really, but the short of it is, I managed to successfully snorkel for about 15 minutes without throwing up my guts. The sea was less choppy but as I chewed on a handful of mints to keep nausea away, I made a mental note not to go snorkelling again. At least not without taking anti-nausea medication.


Conquering the top

June 13, 2009 § 2 Comments

Sunrise at Mount Batur

As far as I can remember my childhood was not one filled with much physical activity. In schools where brains were considered superior to braun, I always saw P.E (Physical Exercise) class as a waste of time and I would usually lie and tell the teacher it was the painful time of the month to opt out of doing anything other than sit on my lazy ass. Outside of school, ‘exercise’ was limited to:

– Walking to the front porch to get into the car.

– Playing badminton with my brother over the front gate of our house.

– Riding my bike about three blocks from my house.

When I moved to America, imagine my horror when Gym class was introduced to my lackluster body and I was later even more horrified when I discovered that it didn’t even include real gym. So in my years there, the hardest thing my body ever had to do was run a 2km stretch every week, cleverly engineered by the ex-army teacher who thoroughly enjoyed telling me I was running all wrong. Beyond that all my future attempts at ‘sport’ has been complete and utter fail. I have tried all manners of it – archery, basketball, netball, volleyball, bush-walking et cetera but the only thing I ever succeeded in finding out was how poorly I was in all of them.

Now in 30 years of my body being so allergic to physical activity, how on earth I convinced myself to scale a volcano I do not quite comprehend. In a moment of madness filled with an alien vigour I set the alarm clock for the ungodly hour of 1am in order to be able to start the ascent at 4am. It was a 2 hour drive from the hotel and it was essential we began at that time so that we could catch the sunrise from the peak. And so with sleepy eyes and a small prick of nervousness, we began our climb of Mount Batur.

Along with a cheery Indonesian guide Peter and my equally enthusiastic climbing companion, we set off in the pitch black darkness of the jungle with a couple of other small groups. Not half an hour into the trek, I began to question my earlier enthusiasm. After about an hour groping in the dark and trying to catch up with everyone else (so as not to be the last – too many ghost stories), all excitement had but vanished into thin air. In the end Peter literally had to pull me up the rest of the volcano. The sunrise was almost at hand. It took more than 2 hours since I had to stop about a million times. My companions were patient. We finally made it to the top, just barely to see a sunrise masked by clouds, but spectacular nonetheless. With a mixture of pity and amusement, Peter presented me with a breakfast of eggs and bananas cooked by the heat of the volcano. It was surreal.

By around 8am we decided to descend, which I harboured renewed happiness about as I foolishly thought it would be a breeze going down. However my legs and feet had totally disengaged themselves from my body by that time, and amidst struggling not to tumble head over heels down the steep black rocks, poor Peter had to give me a helping hand once more. Although my stopping was less frequent, I trailed so far behind that at moments I was quite alone in the deathly silence of Mount Batur. I could vaguely hear my (subtle) companion and Peter snickering way ahead but I took my time and in utmost physical pain I dragged my jelly feet along kilometres of unruly paths and beaten roads filled with awful smells. Finally civilization in the form of some huts began to emerge and all I could think about was the nice white fluffy hotel bed.

Anyway that’s the story of the first mountain/volcano I’ve ever scaled. So for a true city girl, I think I did ok, though it would have been nice if my lovely companion hadn’t been making fun of me the entire trek. Next time, the story of my second attempt at snorkelling.

Sounds of silence

June 7, 2009 § 3 Comments

Picture 193

Just when I’m having one of the best vacations ever, my voice has also decided to take a vacation. I don’t know where it’s gone, but it’s definitely not here. Maybe it’s because I’ve been indulging in so much lobster and nasi goreng and desserts and arak. Maybe it’s because I’ve been having too many Bintang beers. Maybe it’s because of that damn monkey who tried to eat my finger. And my voice just said, I’ve had enough, I’m pissing off somewhere and I don’t know when to get back. Great. My throat is itchy. When I try to speak a croaky sound comes out. My voice thinks it’s funny to replace itself with a frog. So I’m on vacation, but I sure would like my voice to come back. Come back! I promise to eat less chilli today.

Achtung baby

June 4, 2009 § 5 Comments

Caution small army of readers. Stop now if you are adverse to feelings of envy. Still reading? Ok because I’m in paradise. Or a little island called Bali. After all those months of roughing it out in Europe, I thought of splurging and checked into a resort hotel. At US $45 a night it’s a bloody good deal. I’ve opted for the ‘superior’ room and though I can’t judge how superior it is compared to the other rooms, but with a huge king sized bed, marble floors, fruit basket and one-hour massage, I do feel a bit superior. People here are super happy and nice even though I found out their monthly wages are equal to what I earn in a single day. Jimbaran beach makes up for its grungy reputation by being extremely quiet. Last night at midnight, with my companion we sat and watched the stars and planes pass us by by the crashing waves, with one of the restaurants’ pet dogs for extra company. Today consisted of lounging by the pool and later a walk on the beach to watch the sun set on the horizon. I figure I deserve this before returning to the real world. Wish I could upload photos to induce more feelings of envy but this sneaky free internet from my phone browser won’t let me. I know, I know, life is tough.

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