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My oh my, how times flies…

The intermittent entries of this blog has somewhat disappointed me. To be honest, this blog didn’t really start out with a clear focus, it was just a blog, a figment of my imagination and my mind poured out onto the pages of the interweb. Then somehow, it moved into a travel blog (thanks to Miss Molly :)) and I have a purpose to write something again. I did enjoy it as I has so much to write about, so many experiences to let people know about. It was fun, real fun. Not as much as the actual traveling was though!

Indonesia was a great experience and it made me realise just how much I love to see new places and experience new things. The truth of it actually is, that I just love SE Asia. That is what I love the most and I wish I could go there more often. In fact, I would go as far as say that I would love to live there.  In fact I would settle for being able to travel all the time. I often think of how amazing it would be to have a job like a photographer for National Geographic or a hotel reviewer or something like that. I’m used to traveling on my own so it wouldn’t be a problem. I’ll settle for having been to 2 countries so far this year, a third coming up in a few weeks and with any luck a fourth later this year and maybe a fifth!

…so things move on. My career has taken a real change to the more exciting. I have learnt so much in the past four years then I think I have done in my entire life. Here, there and everywhere all to lead to this point? I think so…maybe…yes. Deffin. Art. Lee. A new country possibly becons…red China, the excitement is too much to think about right now.

And so to my point of this blog…there isn’t one. Sometimes you can plan how things will work out and sometimes you just have to roll with it. Things happen that you’d least expect and you better be sure to grab the opportunity. That’s quite a statement coming from me, the king of over analysing everything and missing out on chances. Time for a change me thinks.

I’m not a believer in fate, I don’t like the idea that for every choice there is a pre-determined set of events that I have no control over. However, I don’t dispute that sometimes events arise that we need to take full advantage of without thinking. Time to forget about the risks and do things without thinking.

Thailand next month for some much needed relaxation and sleep. God I need a break. Nothing much to really blog about except the beauty that will be surrounding me. Sun. Sand. Sea. Trees. Blue. Green. Yellow. All the colours that long for. All that work recently has meant I deserve this, indeed I do.

Lastly, The Tai Pan will continue his adventures in a new place. Finally getting around to getting it finished! I can’t wait. More to follow soon.

I can’t say that I am a fan of dogs but this one totally rocks!

Flickr

This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

The next step

I know I know…I’ve been so crap at keeping this up to date. In my defence I have had all the other blog sites to update at the same time. I have therefore decided move this blog to its own custom domain so I can finally update the CSS properly and add in Div. What is it with the free WordPress that doesn’t allow you to add you own ad ons? Not good.

Anyhow, I shall be sorting out the dedicated Tai Pan domain shortly to really take control. Watch this space.

More posts to follow about Indonesia – I promise.

I thought about writing this blog for a long time. Shall I, shan’t I? For reasons I will come to, it is a good idea but for some reason it prevented me from doing it for a time. Anyhow, I will come to that in more detail shortly.

After leaving the delights of the Menjangan Islands and the crystal clear warm waters around the reef, it was back to the challenges once again. The afternoon was still really hot and with some time to relax before another day’s traveling on the morrow, the pool and beach were calling along with a couple of chapters from my accompanying novel. The beach had volcanic sand and didn’t seem as appealing as the traditional yellow and white kind. That was out. The pool was made off limits by the pool cleaning guy who had accidentally added a few zero’s or missed the decimal point when measuring the amount of chlorine to add to the swimming pool. It was one of those moments that I was poised to lead into the cool water when out come a chap shouting and waving his hands saying, “no no, pool not good”. It was surely have wiped off my developing suntan and replaced with a nice all over read and bleached white skin. Mmm, nice!

The next day was time to head off back to the center of the Island and the lush green that I was starting to miss already. This is when my memory of the travel takes a different turn. Casually driving in a van along the main road when a woman on a bike suddenly decides to take a sharp right in front of us…then bang! We ploughed straight into her. I’ve never been in an car accident before and I sincerely hope that I will never again.

To cut out the sobering details the lady was fine, or as fine as you could be when getting hit head on by a minibus. What happened around this was something quite special. Out of nowhere, lots of people appeared all dressed in traditional Balinese dress. I found out later that it was a funeral parade for a local man. Throughout the island we had seen lots of preparation for funerals but never really got to appreciate the spectacle that it is…until today. Check out the video below…

In a nutshell: after death the body is burried for a short period and then exumed for the burial ceremony. A large tower like frame is built out of bamboo for the body to rest in and is then taken through the streets. The large dog like creature is supposed to accompany the body to the afterlife for protection.

It was quite an amazing sight and one which I was so lucky to witness. Despite this, I have to think that if it wasn’t for the accident, I would never have had a chance to see this. Quite a blessing in disguise but I would not have been writing this post if the woman was badly injured. Amazing how things work out sometimes…

After the beauty that was Mt Batur and seeing the sunrise from a Volcano…there was more to see for the day and also to do. However, there was one thing that was preventing the fun and frolicks –  I was absolutely and positively knackered! I was trying to put a brave face on it but you know you’re in trouble when you have to concentrate to eat. Open mouth – chew – swallow – stay awake – don’t nod off into noodles! It might have been funny.

After a quick shower and some time with my face down in the bed blowing some sort of bubbles it was time to get the bus. More to see and do don’t you know!

Wow was I exhausted. Usually I love to take in all that is around me and especially marvel at the beauty of Bali. I also like to see which country can take the award for weirdest shit on the back of a motorbike. So far Vietnam still holds the title! Today on the other hand I’m asleep in one of those weird positions that I just know I’ll regret when I awake. With all this excitement of travelling on the roads of Indonesia, I get a sudden surprise as we arrive at Banyupoh where the scenery is somewhat different. There is no lush green – no palm trees but only that kind of desert looking vegetation. Not much rainfall on this side of the island and there is also one thing that I didn’t expect.

The guest house is pretty grim hee hee :) I have quite a high threshold of dealing with scummy places but this was a little testing. I hate mosquitos and our room was full of them! Kazu filled the room with his ‘mosqueet smoke’ and did the trick for a while. We also didn’t expect to time our visit to the start of Ramadan and neither expect there to be a predominatly area of Muslim religion. Ergo…not much sleep in the evening when call to prayer erupts. Kazy wakes up with a start and looks at me with this amazement of ‘what the f**k is that?’ Made me laugh.

In the morning we take a boat ride out to the fantastic Islands of Menjangan for some snorkling. This is what I’ve been waiting for…the sea and the beach. Neither disappoint the slightest bit. The coral reef is spectacular with a cliff that drops off to this huge abyss. So alive with fish and colour…just amazing. Managed to catch up on some sleep too!

I know I shouldn’t be doing this but I’m really really enjoying this beer. What makes it so much better is the fantastic curry that preceded it all rightly deserved for the long day of exercies which preceded even that. All rightly deserved and going down so well. Quick glance at the watch, still relatively early and plenty of time to have another beer. I should be going to bed and get some rest…hard day’s climb on the morrow. Nine fifteen pm, I’ll have a hot chocolate instead and watch the rest of this football match through the squiggly lines and interference. Bed time.

One of the those mornings where the alarm goes off when you’re not expecting it. I take a look at Kazu and feel like saying, “Have you done that!?” Kazu is looking at me probably thinking the same thing. Three in the am. Not even the butt crack of the morning. We hear a knock at our door then it all comes clear…we’re supposed to be up this early!

Out of bed for a short drive to the foot of Mount Batur. Not that we can really confirm this as there’s no light to see anything at all. Time for a cup of tea me thinks and take some time to figure out what we’re about to do. I’m a definite morning person but I think only when I’m supposed to wake up. If that makes any sense??

Kazu and I decide for going in the fast group. Funny thing was that there was just Kazu and I in the fast group. Rock on Tommy! We get a guide called Mr Trinh. He’s a good fella and does the climb four times a week and tells us that he can do it in 30 minutes. The challenge is on! The going is quite tough, very steep incline with volcanic sand to walk on. This is good exercise and that’s with 3 F’s! :)

Two stops and a couple of pounds of sweat lost later we’re there and the sun still isn’t up! There is a beautiful sunrise awaiting me I can feel it.

Despite a disappointing sunrise that is blocked by a sudden cloud cover, it was still an amazing experience to climb up a volcano and breathe the fresh morning air. It was a good walk and good climb and well deserved for the early night despite the free flowing beer at the beginning of the meal. I felt good and one of those experiences that was well deserved despite a morning tantrum he he. What more do you need to experience when traveling then something that you would never get the chance to do in a million years. Climb a volcano. Indeed.

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