A Travellerspoint blog

July 2008

We’re taking a vacation from our vacation!

…onward, to Gili Meno, one of the Three Gems of Lombok.

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Actually this will be the second vacation from our vacation this month! Last week, it was Singapore for 3 days. We stayed in a big hotel right on the river, far far away from roosters and screaming children at 7am. We slept in and drank champagne, which we found at the tech mall! How fitting. We were shopping for a computer for Mike and low and behold: a wine bar! That’s our luck – go to shop for a computer, come out with 2 bottles of champagne. Of course we had to drink them both in one sitting, quite a feat considering we haven’t drank but a beer or two with dinner in the last 2 months. I was still hung over 2 days later when we flew back to Bali. Also during our stay in Singapore, we rode the Singapore Flyer, which is the largest Ferris wheel in the world! It was a fantastic view, and thankfully it didn’t go very fast, cuz I think I would’ve vomited….uuuugggggh, hang overs! Singapore is quite a metro town – the shopping centers are HUGE and you can find anything you want. They have a mall dedicated to electronics, one to home entertainment systems, one to makeup/perfume, one to clothes etc…it was slightly nightmarish in that I’m not a big shopper, but it was nice to know we could find the things we wanted while we were there.

We had sushi both nights while we were there. Two sushi restaurants flanked the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel where we were staying, so we tried them both. They were both fantastic, but our stomachs aren’t used to eating such rich foods, so we were both a bit green after dinner both nights.

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Breakfast and lunch were anticlimactic and barely edible – we actually left two plates of “food” virtually untouched at breakfast the third day. We ate at the mall housing Cartier and MAC makeup, so we thought it would be safe…but no. The eggs were an unnatural color of yellow and tasted of plastic, and the sausages were white white white (made of so-called chicken, I assume) and tasted of bandaids. You know you’ve tasted one! Maybe when you were a kid? Anyway, it was a breakfast straight out of the microwave, for sure. Even the coffee tasted unnatural…we were soooo outta there!

Now back in Bali, we’ve enjoyed 4 days out kiting. You should see me!!! OMG it’s the most funnest fun thing ever. I’ve not only stopped (for the most part) doing my famous KimPlant, where I hit the water with my face so hard that water goes into my eyes and out my ears, but I’ve also started going upwind! Going upwind requires that you are able to think about your body position while you’re hauling ass across the ocean. Previously, I’ve been trying to not burst with adrenaline, but I’m getting more and more skill and confidence out there, and am able to think about my positioning. You have to pull your toes up and lean back onto your harness against the kite, which causes the back edge of your board to cut into the water and you start heading out to sea, across the wind instead of straight downwind. Yesterday, the 24th we got some great video footage from the kitecam and also from the beach.

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I think one of the best things about kiting here is that while you’re lugging your gear down to the beach, no one bugs you for “massage? Transport? Manicure?” Whole herds of Balinese women wait for tourists to walk by so they can follow them down the beach path and bug the crap out of them to buy more crap like what they’ve already got. “Sarong like the one you wear?” Why the hell would I want a sarong just like the one I already have? So that doesn’t happen to me when I’m carrying my kiting gear, but without it, they’re on you like shit on flies. Or like shit on…wait….aw hell, now how does that go? Oh yeah, like stink on shit! (Did I just have a Peter moment? …there was a kitchen sink in there somewhere wasn’t there? Did I mention I miss my friend Peter? He is a funny, funny man.)

So I started to say, we’re planning a vacation! Our destination: Gili Meno, Lombok. It’s a teency weency island just off the northwestern coast of Lombok, which is east of Bali. The Island Express will be shuttling us across the choppy Indian Ocean for about an hour to reach Gili Trawangan, another of the three islands. From there we’ll have to find a raft or slow moving whale to climb aboard to get to Gili Meno. Walking around the island takes approximately 1 hour, to give you an idea of the size of this place…we’re hoping to escape the rooster who darkens our door day and night. As I’m typing, it’s 5pm, and he’s still cock-a-doodle-do-ing! Here he is:

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I've no idea if there will be any wind on Meno because of it's location...I'll keep you posted! We’ll be there for 5 nights, and then back to Bali to climb a volcano and do more kiting – more on that another time. Oh yea...and I got a new bathing suit!
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And here's me with 4 miiiiiiillion Ruipah (cue sinister laugh)!
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And a couple pics of when Mike and I went horseback riding...when I posted that blog, our connection was too slow to handle photos.
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Posted by kmpossible 03:44 Archived in Indonesia Comments (4)

Updated Itinerary

…just incase you’re wanting to come visit!

Bali: July - August 13

Thailand:
Koh Samui: August 14 - 27
Koh Samet: August 28 - September 8

San Francisco: September 9 - 22
Illinois: September 23 - 30

UK: October 1 - 23

Vietnam:
Saigon: October 24 - 27
Mui Ne Beach: October 28 - December 1 (Candy visits from Seattle!)

Philippines:
Boracay: December 2 - January 2
Palawan: January 3 - 30

Cambodia:
Phenom Penh: January 31 - February 15 (Vipassana 10-day silent meditation)
Angkor Wat: Febraury 16 - March 1

Posted by kmpossible 19:54 Comments (0)

I wouldn’t be caught dead…

…ridin’ no friggin JET SKI!!!

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Or maybe I would…it’s a long story. Let me start at the beginning.

You see, yesterday we rented a car and drove down the southeastern coast of Bali to scout out some fresh beaches for kiting. At one point Mike or I read somewhere that Nusa Dua was a kiting spot. I say, nay! As I’m walking out toward the beach, I can hear this horrible buzzing, which got louder as I got close to the water. Out on the pier, I could see dozens of jet skis, as far as the eye could see. They were all up and down the beach, and hauling ass. It was like there was a freeway right off the beach – it was awful. It seems to have killed all other forms of water sports there, including kiting – who wants to get run over by some half-drunk tourist idiot while they’re trying to swim? NOT ME! So instead of kiting, we ended up back in the car…onward in the search for some tasty waves or some flat water, or both! We ended up finding our next place to call home in our quest, so that’s good. We’ll be relocating tomorrow to the Little Pond Homestay…our current location includes a wakeup call every morning by 4 whiny, screaming little Balinese children at 7am every day and we’ve had enough.

Today there was great wind and we were graced by high tide, so we hit the water…myself, I hit the water several times with my face, in true form. The most notable was my second run, which ended in a tangle with – you guessed it – a JET SKI!!!! It could have been much, much worse. Luckily, no one was hurt, just scraped up a bit and very, very scared for a moment. I was almost at the end of my second long run (I’m getting so much better!) when I approached the jet ski, which was tethered to a buoy in the water. My first run I just hopped off the board and body-dragged across the line between it and the buoy. This time, I was a little more than one lines length away from it, when I crashed myself into the water, followed by the kite. Of course I got pulled down wind, and the kite went straight into, and then over the jet ski. Luckily Mike was there and swam out to untangle the lines, which had gone over and around the darn thing. I don’t know how I managed to haul my ass out of the water and grab the kite as it washed up and onto a huge piece of driftwood (it looked like a school bus). As I stood there pretty shaken up, a wave came up much higher than the ones preceding it, and knocked the log into me, knocking me over. I scrambled up and over to the kite and finally popped the leading edge.

In hindsight, it really wasn’t that bad, but there was an equipment malfunction in the midst of all this that caused me to freak out a bit. When the kite crashed, I tried to pull my safety – that’s the part that attaches the kite to the harness, which is in turn attached to your body. The safety was totally stuck, it wouldn’t move a bit. There was a bit of plastic attached to the line directly in front of the safety, which wouldn’t allow the safety to move. I’m glad this happened when it did for 2 reasons. 1) In this situation it would have been a much bigger mess if I had pulled the safety – the lines would have gotten really tangled around the tether and jet ski. 2) It reminded me that I should be checking my gear every time before going out into the water. Sounds like a no-brainer, but sometimes you get complacent with issues of safety. For example, how many times have you gotten into your car and not even walked around it to see if all the tires are inflated? I was seriously guilty of that until very recently (last year) when I got 3 flats in the space of 2 weeks. Guess the cosmos was trying to tell me something. And again…ok, ok, I get the message!

So no one was hurt, and all my gear is intact. Phew! It was a great two runs, but that little fiasco zapped all my energy, so that was to be my last run of the day. We then drove to Seminyak to check out the shopping strip and see about real estate prices. Seems possible to buy a really nice property here for a reasonable price. I think we’re gonna take some tours later in the month with a couple agents just for fun!

Posted by kmpossible 19:52 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Umalas...

...Balinese for "sore ass".

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Yesterday, Mike and I went riding at the Umalas Stables in Seminyak, Bali. We opted for the 2-hour package, which was a ride through the rice fields and out onto the beach. It was really fun...but I think we oversold ourselves going into it.

Mike emailed them last week to set up a ride, and when they asked what our riding experience was, he of course said "expert." I'm pretty sure they saw this as an opportunity to get their "special" horses out of the stable for a change...mine had ADD. We took off from the stables in single file, as I expected. It seems that the horses had done the trail before. When we got to the beach, the leader asked if we wanted to canter for a bit, and we said yes. So he took off, and my horse immediately started to buck. Yeeee haaaaw! Did I mention that we're riding on Hunt Seat saddles? Nothing really to hold onto except for your own ass, which by the end of the ride was raw and numb from all the bucking/cantering/kicking. He finally started to gallop full on...there was no controlling this horse. I've been out of the saddle for quite awhile now, but it's the sort of thing you don't really forget, like riding a bike. When presented with the option to canter, this horse could either 1) jump and buck in place or 2) run headlong down the beach like a maniac. It got scary when he started veering from side to side of his own accord. I looked over at just the right moment to see Mike's horse go from a full on gallop to a sliding stop in the sand! He was lucky to not go over the front.

Aside from the near trampling of a bunch of little kids on the beach, and almost falling off and getting dragged by my stirrup, it was all gravy. The beach was sprawling and beautiful with lots of palm trees and huge rough waves. There was a nice sea breeze to keep us cool.

On the return trip, we passed by an open bit of short green pasture with 2 wooden frames, one at either end. I realized that it was a soccer field when I saw the kids with their ball, shooing a cow from the middle! Watch out for the cow patties! Also along the way we saw lots of baby chickens, a pig, and lots of cows with their calves. Now I see why the hamburgers here are so terrible - the cows are VERY thin...I wonder if it's the heat? They seem to have plenty of pasture.

We arrived back at the lovely stables just in time for the blisters on my hiney and inner legs to burst - luckily I was mostly numb by that time. The stables were really quite impressive. The walk way to get to the horses pastures and stalls was all stone with several bridges over little koi ponds, lined with tropical flowers and trees. We passed by the surface tension pool next to the restaurant on our way to drop the horses at the washing station. They have the most beautiful stallion (named Zorro) I've ever seen. I'm not sure what breed he is, but he was pretty small, black as night, with feathers (long hair on the lower legs and around the hooves), and the longest mane and forelock...the hair was about 3 feet long! I'll try to get some pics up when I get to a spot with wifi...too slow here at the internet cafe! We had the option to take a dip in the pool and stay for dinner, but we were too wrecked, sore and tired, so we headed out to nearby Kuta for a lobster/snapper on the beach.

The Ganesha Restaurant was lovely...lots of tables out on the beach, so we sat near the water and watched the sun set while enjoying our meal. There are several huge restaurants nearby, so there are tables on the sand for as far as the eye can see. Also nearby is the Denpasar International Airport, where we flew in 2 weeks ago, and we watched the planes land and take off into the night.

I had to keep shifting my weight from cheek to cheek...ouch! ...we got out of there just in time to avoid being serenaded by the onsite 4-piece band...if I hear "No Woman, No Cry" one more time....

Posted by kmpossible 20:00 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

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