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roaming the world and enjoying the scenery...

Sunset over Bali

For all you all traveling this May Day weekend, here’s a little light from our last Lombok visit to warm your hearts. This was our first sunset of the week, with mist, haze, and rays cuddling Bali’s Mount Agung as the waves crash on Gili Trawangan. Ahhh….

The mountain, the sun rays, the crashing waves - ahhhh

Happy Holidays to all!

We’re getting ready to head to Thailand for the break, and part of my job is to prep all the technology. I was cleaning off the camera card, and saw that I’d never even looked at our “above water” pictures from Bali. One of the last shots of the trip was of this family coming down from a temple ceremony at Rambut Siwi, and I really like it.

Enjoy, and have a wonderful holiday!!

Big smiles in Bali

Diving in Bali – October 2014

We headed to the tropical paradise of Bali for our autumn break, and spent a few of those days on the north shore diving. We’ve been to this area several times before, but not for diving. While we didn’t see the huge schools of fish that we’ve encountered in other places, we did come across plenty of colorful mini-reef life that kept our eyes occupied and our camera busy.

Bali for October break

(Maybe) our last time in Bali 🙁

Dive pictures coming soon – for now, how about some beautiful breakfast flowers…

Bali flowers

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!!

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!”

Starting with a day of silence

We just got internet service at our hotel in Tulamben, and Breck is sick today, so I thought to put some of the “quiet time” to use and start off with our trip tale. The funny thing about this vacation is that it did, really, start off with the sound of silence.

A rain-drenched flower welcomes us to Bali

A rain-drenched flower welcomes us to Bali

Balinese elephants line the walkways to our room

Balinese elephants line the walkways to our room

We’d never heard of Nyepi, but when we started getting all sorts of “interesting” reactions from people as we tried to make reservations, we looked more into this unique Balinese holiday. What we found out was astounding: for the entire day, from midnight (according to some sources, 6am according to others) until 6am the following day, the entire island is shut down. Absolutely. Completely. Stores are closed, roads are blocked, airports are shuttered, TV and radio stations are off the air. People are not allowed to leave their homes for the entire period, which means tourists too are stuck in their hotels. Can’t go to the beach – sorry.

Now, luckily for us, our hotel staff live on the compound, and they were working and cooking food for us, but we had to be quiet and respectful. We were able to go to the pool (in between rain storms), but at 7pm that evening, all outside electricity shut down and the entire island went dark.

Our neighborhood "Pecalang," or Nyepi silentness enforcer, draws his knife with a fierce glare

Our neighborhood "Pecalang," or Nyepi silentness enforcer, draws his knife with a fierce glare

Oh no - Dave turns the tables on him!!

Oh no - Dave turns the tables on him!!

Whew! Good thing it is all just fun and games. Time to turn out the electricity, though, so get your mobile phone flashlight app ready to go!

Whew! Good thing it is all just fun and games. Time to turn out the electricity, though, so get your mobile phone flashlight app ready to go!

I had the chance to meet the neighborhood “enforcer;” these guys walk all around the communities, making sure that things are as they should be, and he was pretty friendly, but it was certainly an interesting concept to think about an entire island shutting down for the day. Once we were able to move around the island, and we headed up the coast to our diving spot, we saw remains of the large effigies that had been burned in the days leading up to Nyepi itself.

Raining on Nyepi

Raining on Nyepi

The remains of an ogoh-ogoh, a burned Nyepi effigy

The remains of an ogoh-ogoh, a burned Nyepi effigy

Into the firestorm

Well, hopefully not, but we leave tomorrow for a week in Bali. We plan on visiting Tulamben, a place we stopped at during our trip a few years back, but this time we will go as certified divers!

Our week here has been a bit crazy, with course selections for next year’s classes, end-of-term exams and projects, volleyball tournaments, Family Fun Fairs, and all sorts of social events (including a Bollywood party!). Poor Breck also came down with a nasty cold that kept him home for 2 days, so hopefully he’ll be recovered enough to enjoy the water.

If all that isn’t enough, today we got an email from our administrative team, pointing out this little tidbit of news. Then when we opened up the news here at home, we saw that this had happened and hope the events aren’t related. Oh well, maybe it is a good thing that we are landing in time for Nyepi and won’t be able to do anything anyways!

In any case, this is our “farewell” for a bit, as we head off into internet-access-unknown locales. We’ll post stories and pictures when we get back (and I’ll find out how my NCAA brackets are holding up – KY, MSU, OSU, KS – MSU to win in one bracket and KY in the other). Until then, here are a few shots – mostly stolen from Susan’s Facebook page – to tide you over.

Easy choice

yeah yeah yeah50 Cent’s big concert is happening this weekend in Jakarta!! Whoo hoo!!!! Tickets start at only $90 each!!

What a joke. We’re off to Bali for the week. Beaches or boneheads – a very easy choice.

Ciao for now – see you next Saturday…


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…

Bali trip – snorkeling off the east coast

Our second stop over the Christmas vacation was to a dive area on Bali’s east coast.

I’m sure you are saying to yourself, “But wait – what about the first stop?!!” Really, I know you are.

Don’t worry – we are putting these up all out of order. This is the second stop (Amed), next up will be the first stop (Sanur), and then we’ll go on with places three (Ubud) and four (Pemuteran). Trust me.

In any case, the Ahmed webpages for our Christmas trip are now online.They don’t hold any navigation to other parts of the Indonesia pages because, honestly, none exist right now. But scoot on over and enjoy the pictures and stories that are already posted – if you are enjoying a nice cold winter, the sun will help warm you up inside!

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!

Happy New Year – we’re back!

View over the Balinese rice paddies to a volcano in the distanceInstead of the traditional “pine cones and holly berries” this holiday season, we enjoyed “palm trees and lots of snorkeling.” Our Christmas jaunt was to the island paradise of Bali, where we enjoyed 3 weeks of sun, water (both in the seas and from the skies), shopping, and a bit of culture all rolled up with a healthy dose of relaxation.

Part of that relaxation piece was a complete disregard for any sort of electronic access. Sorting through hundreds of emails this weekend has been a daunting task, but I think we’re just about caught up. Now all we have to worry about is school starting again!

In terms of stories and pictures and all, those are all coming up at some point – but not tonight! Here is a quick list of some highlights (and lowlights) of our time in Bali: snorkeling right from the shore, schools of gorgeous fish, colonies of radiant coral, sunburn, sunken warships, rice paddies, motor scooters, monkey attacks, wood carvings, dances and chanting, tropical skin disease, sea turtles, and of course – ice cold Bintang!

We’ll start getting things sort of organized for the webpage and all, but for now this is just a shout out that the Stutz family is back online. Whoo hoo!

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!