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roaming the world and enjoying the scenery...

Summer 2015

So there was soooo much going on – we traveled to Chicago (in the previous post), we drove out to Montana with Christy and the girls, she and Rob got married, we prepped Alea for college, and we finalized everything for our move to Poland. Couple with that the fact that our truck threw its transmission and we were without a vehicle for the last week, and you’ve got a pretty crazy period of time. Here are a few pictures from all those adventures…

Bali Break (part 1)

We headed off to a week in the sun on Bali’s east coast. Diving (scuba), driving (scooters), and dining (seafood) were the only things on our agenda. Our hotel was fabulous, and we went under the sea a few times as well. Here are a few shots from around our resort, as well as some of the undersea life we saw on our first day of diving. More to come!!

Pretty pictures from this summer

Took a lot of family-type pictures in Minnesota, Montana, and Wisconsin this summer, but these aren’t them. I needed a few new desktop wallpapers, and these are some of the shots that I thought fit the bill. They had to be in a “landscape” format, so that naturally eliminated a few that I like, but these are the first batch that have been adorning my computer for the past few weeks…

Diving Bunaken Island Sulawesi

For spring break, the family headed to Sulawesi (formerly known as Celebes), one of Indonesia’s largest islands. In addition to eating traditional foods (see the other photo album), we spent a couple of days diving off the smaller island of Bunaken. Armed with a point-and-shoot camera and trusty underwater housing, we took a few pictures that show a little of the glorious beauty we found.

Diving on Gili T

We pulled out the trusty underwater camera and headed to the sun and surf paradise of Lombok for October break. This collection of photos are from our below-water adventures…

Diving pictures from Bali

This is the same set that I put on Facebook here, but I’ll also put them on the blog for a “permanent record!”

Swimming with the fishes

Just a quick post of some pictures from our underwater adventures. I borrowed an underwater camera from a colleague, but discovered on arrival in the islands that there was no memory card! Luckily, one of the diving instructors has a side business of taking photos for groups that he takes out, so on our last dive we had a “professional” shooting us. I played around a little bit in Photoshop on these with the colors and such, but they still don’t do the underwater world justice.

Just a bit of informational interest here – the turtle that we saw was an endangered Hawksbill turtle. It was actually a rare dive or snorkel during our visit (I think once out of all our time in the water) that we didn’t see at least 1 turtle. Our record was 4 during one bit of snorkeling!

Enjoy the shots (which are in a random order), and we will be out of touch (again) for the next week as we travel to Yogyakarta, Indonesia’s cultural capital!

Dream diving vacation

We’re back from our vacation on Lombok and the Gili Islands. We had an absolutely spectacular time learning how to scuba dive and just soaking in the sunlight on some of Indonesia’s deserted white sand beaches. While the lack of internet connectivity cost me any shot at a fantasy football championship, that was a small price to pay for such splendid isolation!

We are throwing a little New Year’s party tonight, so rather than a full travelogue, here are some pictures with quick descriptions from our travels. Click on the first shot to begin – and have a happy new year!!

A few from Oman…

Yeah, we’re just back from spring break, but still knee deep in Christmas pictures. No promises that they’ll all be up by the time we leave India. I still have shots from Varanasi last May to put up! There are a few on the webpage now to go through, go get ’em while they’re hot…

Return from Rajasthan

And we’re home again from another week in the hinterland. For our last big vacation in India, we revisited Jodhpur and Udaipur, while introducing ourselves to Jaisamler, the Jain temple at Ranakpur, and the huge fort at Kumbhalgarh.

During that time, India won the cricket world cup, an Indian activist started and ended his hunger strike, and the festival of Gangaur took place. Granted, we didn’t know too much about the hunger strike bit, but we sure had first hand knowledge of the cricket tournament and the festival!

We will – inshallah – get many pictures and travelogue bit added to the webpage, but I’ll just post a few here for the time being. There is a whole album on Facebook which anyone can access, so you can see a few more shots there.

Now it is time to settle in for the home stretch!

Festival of Nations

American FamilyWell, India pulled it off last night, and so Saturday is the big final match between them and Sri Lanka: in Mumbai – whoo hoo! For better or for worse, we will not be around, as our spring break starts Friday, and the Stutz family is off on our fourth (4th!!) trip to Rajasthan.

As is the norm, our last day before break is our school’s celebration of all the nationalities and cultures that make us a community – our Festival of Nations. And, as is the norm, we came decked out in our USA best. Here’s our picture of the day from our family, and we’ll be back blogging after the break. Adios!

 

Bishnoi

A simple word meaning “29,” the Bishnoi are a tribe that lives in Rajasthan, scratching out a living from the desert (and often working as long haul truchdrivers).

We visited a household during our spring break trip last year, and the pictures (and travelogue) are now posted.

Enjoy!

Spring break?

No, not an upcoming spring break – a previous spring break. That’s how far behind we are over here at stutzfamily-dot-com.

I’m finally getting around to posting some of the webpages from our trip last April, just as we’re getting ready to leave for Christmas break! Where does the time go?

In any case, here is the beginning of our trip to Jodhpur, Rajasthan. I’m still lagging a bit on the internal navigation, but at least the pictures are up and there is a minimum of text to accompany. I’ll try to get the rest of these posted before we leave again!

Last Goa pictures for a long time…

So our second set of Goa pictures from the last break are posted. Kind of sad to think that it will probably be years before we ever visit those beaches again (if, in fact, we ever do).

Sun, sand, surf, and food poisoning

Sunset over Benaulim beach in Goa, IndiaYum, yum, yum. Isn’t that an appealing blog post title? The simple truth is that we got a lot more of the first three than expected because of the presence of the fourth – a mixed blessing some might call it.

So here’s the deal: Alea, Breck, and Dave were gone the whole week before our Diwali holiday on school trips. We were planning on turning right around on Friday afternoon and leaving on a trip to Hampi (a historical world heritage site in southern India). We were going to follow up that visit with a jaunt to Goa for a few days of relaxation.

Well that didn’t happen. On the second day of his trip, Breck ate something that made him violently ill, and by the time 15 other students and 4 teachers on the same trip were hit by the bug, the entire class canceled the event and came back to Mumbai early. Alea and I didn’t know anything about this until we got back from our weeks in the wilderness, so we found that Susan had managed to nurse him back to almost-health, but he was still not strong enough to travel safely.

So everything to Hampi got canceled, we made backup plans to spend the whole time in Goa, and when he was back on his feet we were off to the beach. We had a super relaxing time despite the rocky start, and we’re starting to post pictures. Check out the travelogue from the first few days on our webpage, and we’ll try to get the rest posted soon!

Breck’s graduation – and the last day of school!

Breck and Susan at his 5th grade graduationIt is official! Breck finished elementary school and is no longer (sniff) a little kid – he is a Middle Schooler! That means both Stutz kids will be in the ASB middle school next year (although neither of them will have their father for a teacher!)

Breck’s graduation ceremony went awesome, with the teachers saying little blurbs about each student. The word that he said describe our boy was “Enthusiasm,” which Breck exemplified by his enthusiastic walk across the stage afterwards.

And now today is our last day. People are busy signing yearbooks, saying goodbye, and getting ready for summer travel plans. As is tradition, we took an “end of school” picture – which I had to bark at the kids to pose for – and add it here so all can see what great young people Alea and Breck are. (To see them in other years, check out our “school pix” archive!) Have a great summer one and all – we are off to the USA tomorrow night for family, fun, and fishing!

Alea and Breck on the last day of school, June 2010

Final Bali pages

They are finally up and ready! Only three months after the end of the vacation, we have sorted the photos, written the stories, and organized all the different stuff that needs to be organized to post our Pemuteran, Bali pages online and finish the trip!

Allow me my soapbox for a moment: I realize that many people prefer to post things on Facebook after their trips, and I’ve been given some grief for not doing so (*cough* Karla *cough*). I also realize that there are some very important positive aspects to doing so, especially 1) the immediacy and 2) the ability to get feedback.

In all fairness, I could easily enough put together an album of 142 pictures from every trip and upload them the day after our trip (taking care of #1 above). The problem that I see with doing this is that A) then there would be none of the quality control/cropping/etc (aka Photoshopping) that goes in to touching up the pictures on the webpage, B) there would be no descriptors or travel talk like we try to put in the webpages, and C) who really looks through albums of 142 vacation pictures with no idea of what is going on in them?

Since all of these take time, having the choice between putting things on Facebook or my own webpage, I prefer to put them on our own webpage. There is an additional reason to consider: what happens to those pictures on Facebook? If something happens to the site (notice the news about Bebo today?), what happens to all your pictures?

But having said that, I also realize that the number 1 thorn in my side right now is the inability for people to comment on pictures (or even just pages) in a static webpage. That is an ENORMOUS advantage that putting something on Facebook enjoys, and one that I’m really not sure how to address. If I could find a snippet of code that would allow me to turn my Web1.0 pages into something with more interactability, I would certainly do so.

But, until I find that magical snippet of code, please enjoy the Pemuteran pages from our Bali trip!

Bali pages update

Resting during a camel trek in RajasthanYeah, yeah, yeah. So it has been a long time since I’ve added a posting here, mostly because we’ve been on vacation for the past week. Not to Bali, mind you, but to the deserts of Rajasthan. We enjoyed days of 100+ (Farenheit) degree weather, incredible rock fortresses, and wild journeys through a wild country.

But this post isn’t about Rajasthan (although just to be fair, I’ve posted what is currently my desktop wallpaper: an image taken on an afternoon camel ride).

Nope, this post is about our Christmas trip, from which I am still organizing and setting up the webpages. This section is, understandably, the most involved, as Ubud was our ‘cultural’ stop and had a lot more to see and do in terms of shopping, temples, dancing, etc.

Rice paddies surround the town of Ubud, Bali

As I was looking at the Bali pages that have already been posted, there had been a total of 8 previously completed. Today, I present to you 9 new pages, all about the city of Ubud. There are a couple in here for which Susan wrote the travelogue, and even a video – plus a bloody picture of a post-monkey-attacked-finger, so go ahead and enjoy yourself!

Bali trip – First stop, Snore!

We’ll get this chronological order stuff figured out someday. Susan wrote the webpages from the first part of our Bali vacation and we’ve got them posted now (even though we already had the second stop online. Go figure).

In any case, our point of origin on the island was the beach resort of Sanur – also known as Snore for its boring nightlife: perfect for us!!

After settling in our villa with some welcome drinks, we spent the next few days, sunning, snorkeling, and recovering from the detrimental epidermal effects of sunning and snorkeling!! Enjoy the pictures…

Free verse Friday – Monkey Attack!

Based on a true story from our Bali trip:

We went to feed monkeys in Bali
Like all of the white tourists do
No problem, we thought
Since we had just bought
Bananas – their favorite food

We fed them and had such a good time
Took pictures with chimps on our head
They were oh-so-cute
Just point-and-shoot
Nothing more needs to be said.

But then Dave went and upset a mean momma
She jumped him and took a strong stand
He’s now worried ’bout rabies:
When he played with her babies
She ripped a deep cut on his hand

She jumped, grabbed, and swiped with her long nail
Tearing a gash down to the bone
The blood squirted out
Amid a loud monkey shout
And with her babe in her arms she was gone

Lucky a doctor was real near
Who cleaned out and stitched up the cut
To stop new infection
Dave got an injection:
A tetanus shot right in the butt.

So finger wrapped, swollen and aching
He was glad to be out in the clear
The rest of the break
Special treatment he’d take
Internal meds: cold beer!

Catching up before taking off

So I finally got around to finish up our Egypt webpages from the trip way back in April. At least I got them online in the same year!

We are leaving Friday evening for an extended vacation to Bali, and will probably not be posting too much between now and the start of the year (although I will pre-post one more entry to appear right around Christmas). On behalf of the Stutz family, let me wish all readers (both of you) the merriest  Christmases and the bestest New Year ever!

Hiking in the Himalayas

Monks spinning prayer wheels in Mcleod GanjThe webpages from our Dharamsala trip are online and rarin’ to go. This last week has been really weak on the blog entry front, and I’m worried that trend might continue as we enter the holiday season of things.

We did have an exciting event this last weekend, as we went to downtown Mumbai for dinner with the parents of one of my students. The interesting thing about it is that the husband happens to be the 34th richest man in the world (this after having his net worth drop by $42 billon last year. Yes, you read that correctly. He’s only worth $10 billion now). When all is said and done, however, he and his wife were delightful hosts and we had a fabulous time.

But that doesn’t excuse me from neglecting my internet duties now, does it? Until I get back into the real swing of things, go take your mind off your other problems and check out all the fun we had a few weeks back!

Down from the mountain tops

Himalaya FamilyAfter 2 weeks off – 1 for the school’s Week Without Walls trip and 1 for our Diwali holiday – we are back in Mumbai and raring to go. Of course, since it is now report card writing and parent teacher conferencing season, there are no guarantees as to the number of immediate updates, but at least we have access to the internet again!

(and might I throw in that I was pleased to note my fantasy football team eeked out another win, even without my managerial help, to pull their record to 4-2. Go Stutz Slumdawgs!)

For a quick rundown of our family vacation, I’ll just cut and paste an email Susan sent, along with a picture of us in the mighty Himalayas. I’m sure there’ll be more – but you’ve gotta be patient, like a Tibetan monk (of whom we saw plenty)!

We are back safe and sound and busy doing laundry and unpacking.  We had a wonderful time in the mountains.  We had two hard good days of hiking – one up a waterfall and one up to the tree line on the Dhauladhar Range.  We also spent a day with a guide who took us to all the Save Tibet museums and preservation/education centers. So interesting…

We spent another two days with easier walks around the area and local sight-seeing. The Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile is in McLeod Ganj, so we learned a lot about the Chinese occupation of Tibet.  I’m sure you remember the fuss about all that during the Olympics.  I guess the Dalai Lama just met with Obama??

We had an earthquake in the mountains!!!  It was at night and our bed shifted a full four inches and settled back – my first one!  We’ll get some pictures and video up soon.  Off and running – Hugs to all.

Free verse Friday – Last day of school

Alea and Breck on the last day of schoolThe books are all stacked
The laptops all packed
The posters are down from the walls
The lockers unlocked
The grad balloons popped
No kids running round through the halls

Goodbyes have been said
And tears have been shed
With hugs hard enough to heart ache
The yearbooks are signed
Money in for book fines
As people depart for the break

We’ll head out from Mumbai
To homes far and wide
Keep in touch with Facebook emails
Some’ll be back in the fall
Some – never at all
So til next time we meet: happy trails!

The last day of school also marks the start of the blog’s summer hiatus. We are flying out for the USA tomorrow, ready to spend the vacation meeting with family, hanging at the cabin, and (probably) buying a townhome. Since our internet connection will be spotty at best, don’t expect a whole lot of updates until August.

Have a great summer!!

Home for the home stretch

Sphinx viewOur conference/vacation in Egypt has wrapped itself up, and we have made the long slog home safely and soundly. We rolled in around 8 this morning after a bit more than 12 hours of travel time (Cairo-Dubai-Mumbai), and we are spending the day unpacking, settling in, and trying not to think about school tomorrow.

During the first part of the past week, mom and dad attended education-related workshops while the kids saw the Pyramids, visited a Pharaonic village, and created art products with other attendees’ children. When the work was all done, we banged around Cairo a bit, and did a whirlwind tour through Luxor (the site of ancient Egypt’s capital city and the Valley of the Kings burial area).

We had 2 cameras with us, so the picture count is well over a thousand (gulp!), but it may be a while before extensive organization and description will take place. Until then, enjoy the classic shot of the Sphinx!

(And oh yes, due to the travels of this week, we will be Easter egging next week. Since that is Orthodox Easter, we figure we’ve earned the right to celebrate it then because of Yiayia and our time in Serbia!)