Thursday, June 3, 2010


I arrived on Gilli Trawangan almost 2 weeks ago and I could possibly spend the rest of my living days here (if a certain someone was here to enjoy it with me, ahem). It is a little piece of heaven. No motorized vehicles on the whole island. There are barely roads, and the only things on them are miniature horses and carriage and beaten up old bicycles. The population of this island is less than 1000 people. I am paying less than $10 a night for a little room by the beach with a hammock, and breakfast included. Life is good.

During the first week I spent a huge amount of my time at about 30 metres underwater. I started off just doing some 'Fun Dives' and was enjoying it so much I decided to do my Advanced Diver course. Amazing. Nothing like the initial certification I did almost 15 years ago (which was sooo technical and boring). This level consisted of 5 segments: Deep Diving, Underwater Photography, Underwater Navigation, Fish Identification and Night Diving. My instructor was amazing, a Swedish girl named Malin. I was doing at least one dive a day and the underwater life here is so beautiful. I have seen so much underwater variety and after learning about all the fish I can ACTUALLY identify some of them too! Manta rays, sting rays, sharks, crabs, squids, octopus, turtles galore and more fish than I could even begin to list off. I am addicted to diving and its so cheap that its easy to do a dive a day.

In search of an adventure, some mountain fresh air and a little physical activity, I signed myself up for a 3 day trek up Mount Rinjani. Mt. Rinjani is on the island of Lombok, just a 20 minute boat ride from the Gili's. It has an active volcano on it, and a lake with hot springs inside one of the rims. This mountain is also almost 4000 metres above sea level (similar to Mount Fuji), and let me tell you the climb was HELL! I know I'm not exactly the picture of perfect physical health but I was NOT prepared for what I got. It was 3 days of about 8 hours a day of walking up and down 90 degree inclines on rough terrain. Needless to say my body was not too happy with me. It was an amazing experience (easy to say now that I'm back on the beach, but at the time I probably wouldn't be so forthcoming). There were 6 of us in the group with one guide and 3 porters. We climbed up, up and up on Day One. We arrived at the first rim, and set up camp. At 3am the trek (to make it for sunrise) was made up to the summit and then by early morning we broke camp and climbed all the way down to the lake and base of the volcano for lunch (did I mention there was a live volcano that erupted every few hours and at night we saw the glowing red lava flowing down the mountain? amazing stuff!). Afterlunch weclimbed BACK up to the other side of the rim and camped there.On the last day it wasa good6 hours of climbing STRAIGHT down. By the time we finished I was swollen, bruised, broken, sore, tired, hot, dirty, blistered, and... did I say dirty? Why did I chose to this recreationally? Who knows. But in retrospect it waslovely. Met some cool people, saw some cool stuff, that's what travelling is all about.

Now I'm back on Gili and so happy to be back in flip flops and a bikini and on the beach. It is OFFICIALLY one week till D-Day, when I start my long journey back to the motherland! So for the next week I'm kicking my feet up and sucking up every bit of relaxation I can get.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Oh India, it was fun while it lasted, but now I've moved on with my life.

Welcome to Indonesia.

I flew into Bali just over a week ago and this place oozes with ease! The exact opposite of India, and just what I needed. I went into extreme culture shock for the first 24 hrs from when I landed in Kuta. It felt more like I touched down in Cali, not Bali. Surfers everywhere, tourists galore, big massive shopping complexes, 24 hr convenience stores....even McDonalds delivered on motorbikes. I spent the last 3 months trying to cover as much skin from showing as possible and here everyone walks around completely naked. I couldn't even figure out what to wear my first day! Initially, I wanted to get out of dodge as soon as possible but slowly I remembered how nice it was to have all these amenities at my finger tips, like....COFFEE!!!!

I stayed in Kuta for about 2 days and the novelty actually wore off pretty quickly. At sunset, it was tough to find a square foot of space on a beach that went on as far as the eye could see. Time for something a little more private. First stop: Nusa Lembogan.

Nusa Lembogan, 2 hour boat ride from Bali, population 5000 people. Tourist are usually of the surfing or diving kind. Not much else there, except for seaweed farming. I met 2 great surfers from LA on the boat over and ended up spending a few days hanging with these guys who kept me highly entertained and also taught me the basics of learning to surf (just to clarify we did these lessons at the bar over beers, not actually on a surfboard in the water).

I went on 2 dives, the first of which was one I will not soon forget. We hopped in a boat and were in about 15 metres in the deep blue by 8am. The dive site was called Manta Point. I spent about 60 minutes hovering in the same general area with massive mantarays swimming over and under and beside me. No fear. They were completely unphased by the divers and carried on with their life. It was amazing. I could have kicked a fin and been close enough to stroke one. When they swam above me, it was a clear blue day and the mantas were so big they would block the sun and a huge dark shadow would swim over me. What an experience!

The next dive was fun, but nothing in comparison to swimming with massive mantarays. Such a great start to diving a part of the world that is famous for its underwater life. Since the only reason I came to Nusa Lembogan was to dive, and that mission was accomplished, I caught a fast boat out the next day to make my way to the Gili Islands, just off Lombok.

Next stop...PARADISE! The only thing missing from this picture, to make it complete is Garry. xoxox my love ;)