Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Flew into Bali, Indonesia on late Thursday night on a cheap red eye flight,  I had diving to do on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Friday dive one consisted of a coral reef, a large barracuda and clear visibility.  This was my first shore dive excluding certification.
Dive two was the USAT Liberty shipwreck dive.  Over 400 species of fish live on or near the wreckage.  It was very cool to swim through some of the holes in the hull.  The water was warm and this was another first, my first wreck dive.
Spent Friday night walking around town, ate dinner at an Italian restaurant on the beach.
Saturday dives
Dive one was a float dive they called the movie screen.  Imagine one large coral reef wall and a current that carries you down the coastline.  I had to do very little swimming, inflate my BC for buoyancy and float my dive away. 
Dive two was the best dive I’ve done so far at a place called Manta Point.  The name lived up to its billing.  I saw 12 manta rays, The largest manta had a wingspan of about 13 feet and swam right at me, going directly over my head, 4 feet above me.  These beautiful creatures are elegant and graceful.  I almost forgot to breathe and kept thinking about Steve Irwin but I believe it was a different type of ray that killed him.   The water was colder and a parasite in the water attaches themselves to the mantas as the mantas come into to get a good old fashion cleaning from the parasites. 
Spent Saturday night walking around, looking at art.  I bought a sarong and fully intend to wear it but don’t know where yet.  I ate at some famous place for Indonesian food that Mick Jagger ate at.  The servers where happy to point this out to me after they found out where I was from and this is what made this restaurant famous with the tourists. 
Sunday Dives
Dive one was at a place called Crystal Bay.  I would be lying if I didn’t say I was a little nervous about this dive.  I would consider myself in reasonable shape and somewhat confident in my skills to adapt, somewhat fearless in my actions but after the dive briefing, I questioned in my mind for a few seconds whether or not I was capable of completing this dive.  I learned that two people died here in the last three days.  One person who perished was a Japanese lady who I heard dove in a group of 12 with one dive master for all of them.  This is careless but it is the cheap way to go.  The second diver that died was diving alone, without a buddy, also careless.   Off the back of the boat I went in the form of a backwards somersault into the cold water.  What makes this dive so treacherous is the current, specifically the down current.  We had to stay close to a reef wall as we worked our way around the corner of the reef in the search of Mola molas, a very large, prehistoric looking sunfish.  Once we came around the corner to a large rock wall, boom you are being sucked down with the current.  The bubbles weren’t going up to the surface, they were being pulled down with me, I reached out and grabbed the rock wall and then it became hand over hand, rock climbing underwater.  I worked so hard to get to the top of the rock wall and out of the current that my air consumption went from 100 bar to about 40 bar in what felt like 10 minutes, which is a lot.  I didn’t see any Mola molas but was happy with the outcome that I didn’t die while challenging my diving skills.  Win/Win. 
Dive Two on Saturday was an easy float dive, very relaxing, very colorful. 
Uneventful Sunday night
Flew back to Kuala Lumpur and from KL, I am sitting in an airport in South Korea with an eleven hour layover, waiting to head to San Francisco. 

A mountain on fire

Dive site

Getting ready on the boat

The Bali people put flower petals down for me to walk on

The grounds of the hotel

More of the grounds
My Beach for a few days
On a health and fitness note, I haven’t run or worked out in over a month and half.  I was glad for the break.  Mentally as well as physically I was worn out.  Not very pleased with any of my last couple running results so I decided to not bring running shoes on this trip and take a break from it all for a minute and start with a clean slate.  I almost bought a new pair of asics during my trip but couldn’t see spending $200 on the same shoes I could get in the states for $110(KL was expensive).  I am very much looking forward to running for the love it again and getting back to the mountains. 
I forgot to write a million things but you get the idea. 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Kuala Lumpur and Singapore

kind of behind and about to catch up on this entire blogging thing.  
Flew from Bangkok airport to Kuala Lumpur, Maylasia.  The city is a lot cleaner and smells way better than Bangkok.  KL is more Islamic  dominated and I was entering near the end of Ramadan, there month of fasting while the sun is up.   To me, this simply means go out to eat BEFORE the sun goes down.  Learned that the hard way once.  Visited the Aquari and different areas of the town including china town.  Across from my hotel is a huge mall, in fact there are malls everywhere and these people love to shop.  While eating lunch in the food court, right below a Prada and a Gucci store,  I hear shrieking and women lifting their legs off the ground as a huge rat comes running through the food court.  Looking down at my bowl of food, I quietly wondered what I was eating.  The rat disappears and everyone goes back to eating like no big deal.  Definitely would not have the same response in America. 

Took a day trip to Malaccca, which is a city about an hour outside of KL.  Malacca is rich in Portugese, Dutch and British architecture.  Spent a lot of time at a shop called Raz Kashmir talking to the owner about his time trekking and climbing in and around K2 and Mt. Everest.  He is related to Tenzing Norgay, the famous climbing Sherpa who summited Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary.  His pictures of that region and Pakistan have spurred my interest to visit these places.


Took a three day side trip to Singapore.  Cleaner than anywhere I have ever been.  It is against the law to chew gum and if you protest the government, you will be arrested.  This is one of the richest countries(cities) depending on who you talk to,  in the world.  Singapore was made famous in the U.S. a few years ago by the 17 year old who got arrested for vandalism and they caned him.  Dayton Ohio representing at its finest. 

Crashed a wedding, not really but it would have been fun to but I think I would have stuck out just a little.

Took a long hike through a rain forest park and got caught in a monsoon which only lasted a half hour or so.  Saw some crazy monkeys and a snake. 

Ate wonderful Taiwanese home cooking and met a wonderful family with a very gifted young 8 year old child named Olivia. She plays the piano and violin to the tunes of Bach and Mozart.  The family cooked dinner for me and gave me a tour of the city. 

Home made dumplings was the first course.   Soooooooo goooood.
Little Olivia grooving

Went to the night Safari at the Singapore Zoo.  Can't use a flash and being in Singapore, I wasn't about to break any laws or rules.

This maybe the coolest hotel I've ever seen.  The top that connects three towers is a ship that was turned into a full length swimming pool.  In US dollars it costs anywhere between 300 and 500 per night.

After the few days in Singapore, I am headed back to Kuala Lumpur for a few days.
From a beautiful place with beautiful people.