Jet Lag!

I woke up at 4:30am in Singapore, caught the 7am flight to Tokyo, flew 15 hours with an additional 5 hours of layover in Tokyo and Honolulu, watched 3 bad movies, ate 2 breakfasts, lunch and 2 dinners and arrived in Maui before noon on the same day. Crossing the International Dateline is just weird. I never really internalized the concept that I was living in ‘today’ when everyone at home was living in ‘yesterday’. In any event, after all that travel, I pretty much feel like something Paul and Megan’s cat, Beans, puked up. Disoriented. The floor is rolling (actually, visually) under my feet. My stomach is upset. I don’t think I would have been on NASA’s top prospect list haha.

Anyway, we are happy to be in our home away from home. I think I may just burn the clothes I wore and washed in the sink every other day simply because I hate them now (cuts down on the laundry task too 🙂

What a great trip. We met some very interesting people, saw wonderful cultures and learned from both.

My favourite people were the elderly 5th generation owner lady of the Kyoto Hiiragiya Ryokan where we stayed. A proud, strong and still beautiful woman still staunchly presiding over her family’s lodging business in the traditional Japanese fashion and sporting a different gorgeous silk kimono each day.

Ketut, the pretty but poor woman who gave me a terrific pedicure in Singaraja, Bali, who proudly told me all about her 2 children and the additional 2 that she is raising as her own, after her husband just brought them home one day when he found them abandoned. She just couldn’t believe that Duane and I live in a house, just the two of us! No mother in law, no children, just us. She was amazed.

The jack-of-all-trades concierge at the Alila Manggis hotel in Bali, who cheerfully toured us around the local open market as knowledgeable as a trained chef, who administered an almost holy blessing (complete with almost holy water) at the hotel shrine, dressed in the traditional robes and who accompanied us to a small village and helped Duane to locate and purchase the traditional flutes he had hoped to find.

I think most people think that travel is about the places. I think it’s about the people. Granted, we saw some amazing sights which I gleefully documented with 4 devices (compact digital camera, point and shoot camera, iPhone and iPad….. nothing like a little overkill on the pictures eh). And we experienced different climates (think humidity here), cultures ( I am a really good bower now as they bow in Bali as well, with hands in prayer position) and tasted many new foods ( you remember the candied octopus, no?!). But it’s the people that we engaged that will stick with me. Not everyone has the same view of course. About half of our cycling group blasted through the week not really spending time to get to know the others. The rest of us came home with some new friends. What a great deal!

A couple of myth busters type notes. I always had thought as a child that nothing could survive at the equator. It would be, my 7 year old brain thought, a barren desert wasteland!! Busted! 3 million people in Denpasar and a jungle so thick at a 10,000 foot volcano was hidden proved that one wrong haha. My first time across the equator so I had to deal with some very old beliefs!

The water draining down the sink thing. You know. It whirls one way in the north hemisphere and the other in the Southern Hemisphere and goes straight down on the line. Well I tried to test this in Bali (8 degrees south) and the results were not uniform. Many times it seemed to go straight down, no whirl at all. And others it was counter clockwise or even clockwise. So nothing conclusive there and Duane points out that many factors can play a part ie.shape of the bowl, etc so we will let that one lay for now. My inner scientist requires more tests be performed!!

The southern sky. I have always wanted to see a different night sky than our familiar one. Unfortunately this one was a no go either. In Japan it was either too bright (Tokyo) or cloudy, (Kyoto ) and in Bali, we were just never in a good location without a ton of trees overhead to check it out. On our last night we did see the Big Dipper and Cassiopeia so it was not totally foreign. So we will just have to go down under to see the southern cross I guess.

Thanks for reading! I sure enjoyed blathering to an audience. Until next time….. Africa maybe???


It makes you think

It’s our last day on Bali, I’m sitting at breakfast enjoying the view and the French toast, when a parade of local women walk into view on the rockwall above the beach. They are each carrying a sack of gravel on their heads. One by one, they tilt their head at the designated spot and their load dumps out without missing a stride. They are the human wheel barrow. The procession, which consists of a dozen or so women, continues all day from 7 am to mid afternoon.

Bali has been a wonderful experience. It’s beautiful and lush, green beyond belief and populated with kind, gentle people. But there is hardship. Poverty. The sight of the women, not young by any stretch, makes me reflect. I am privileged, spoiled beyond belief actually, by a life of plenty, a life that never once included carrying a 50 lb bag of gravel on my head.