Sunday, April 30, 2006

Rachel's Grad

Part of the reason why I ended my SE Asian backpacking trip when I did was for this event. My sister graduated from Trinity Western University on April 29th after the past 5 years of study. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Kinesiology.

Next up for Rachel aside from looking for a job is her wedding which is scheduled for September 23rd of this year.

Rachel and her proud sister!Rachel and her fiance, Dave.
The gong show that is my VERY blended family. (Front L clockwise) John (my grandad), Granny (Mom's side), Rachel, Tracey, Dad, Joy, Grandpa (Dad's side), Grandma (Dad's side), Mom, and Dave.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Indonesia - in Review

My last night in Indonesia was spent chillin with some locals at one of the guys' houses.
One of the dudes had a wig, so we busted it out for some pictures.
At a club in Kuta called Bounty, wrapping up the last night I was to spend there.
This guy was selling very large knives on the ferry between Lombok and Bali. He didn't mind posing for pictures.
Gili Trawangan. What a wicked beach.
Mmmmm surfing.
This little girl was the daughter of the manager at my hotel in Kuta. She loved my ipod and wanted to keep it along with my camera. She didn't speak English at all, but only every said "Allo, Allo?" when she wanted to find me. She was very cute.


Hey There

Well, I've been back in the motherland for a few hours and it's been crazy so far. I had quite the grand reception at the airport in Vancouver when I arrived. The loudest voice was by far Dave who was screaming, "Yeah Dude, Yeah Andrea!" at the top of his lungs when I walked out of customs.

I haven't slept much. I napped for about 30 minutes before my sister woke me up by getting in my face saying, "I got an A+ in my class!". And here I am thinking..."Who cares, I'm sleeping!"

Tonight me and a few friends headed out to The Landing despite my incredible exhaustion and had a few drinks. It was definitely nice to be around really rad friends who missed me a lot (and whom I missed as well!). We had a really good time and I'm looking forward to tons more hangouts to come.

Korea was a good time as well. I had an incredible reception from the friends I left behind there and we ate really awesome bulgogi (thanks Nathan and Lydia!) and had a good last chill night before I caught my 11 hour flight home. Let me tell you, that was incredibly weird knowing that my plane was this time bound for Canada.

It's bitter sweet ending my time backpacking, but it's always good to be home. Good to be home long enough to start planning another trip!

Monday, April 24, 2006

To Seoul!

It's 5:30am. Yikes.

I'm at the airport now in Singapore waiting for the last of the flights that I booked and paid for on this trip. I can't believe it's over!

Matt and I flew into Singapore one day ago and spent yesterday just chillin in this place and eating some good food. We got stuck in a pretty intense rainstorm yesterday after many hours of killer heat. It reminded us both of last summer in Korea and those disgusting monsoon rains. We were both drenched, but still showed up to the famous Raffels Hotel Long Bar for a Singapore Sling just the same. Pretty sure we looked like drowned rats, but who cares, it was our last day of hanging out together so we had to make it worth our while.

After our Slings, we grabbed some Sushi at a cool lookin Sushi Bar near Raffels. It was nice and very chill. I started this trip with Japanese food and managed to finish it that way, which is pretty perfect.

I realized yesterday that after living in the same grubby clothes for the last two months that I didn't even own any pants at this point and that Korea was going to be considerably colder than the tropical countries that I've been hanging out in for the last little bit, so I picked up some pants and a long sleeve shirt. I just hope that its not as cold as I think it's going to be. Considering the temperature for me everyday has been about 30C, I'll probably feel the change anyway.

Well, it's early and I'm off to track down a Starbucks Coffee somewhere in this massive airport. That and I have to try and blow the rest of my Singapore dollars on random duty free products.

I'm stoked to be heading in the right direction!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Back to Kuta

Well, I'm back at Kuta Beach, a place that I was about a week ago, but this time sans Matt Davis.

Matt decided to check out a little town called Ubud a little bit north of here, while I decided to take another crack at surfing. I had visited Ubud a few years back when I was in Bali the first time and wasn't particularly interested in seeing it a second time, although I remember it being a cool place. The beach is just too much of a draw for me.

Anyway, went surfing again this morning for a few hours. I did alright today and even started to get the hang of turning my board on the wave so that I could ride it for longer. The ocean definitely kicked my ass though and after a severe pummeling I had to pack it in for the day. My entire body feels exhausted to the point that I feel like I couldn't lift so much as a pencil, or even a drink to my mouth...yikes! I'll sleep well tonight though, that's for sure. Despite the burn on the back of my calves, I'm pretty proud of myself for not scorching my back. I've still gotta invest in a rash shirt, but I just can't shell out that much dough right now.

I had the same surf instructor as last time. I actually met him on the street when I arrived in Kuta and hooked up a deal that way, not even through a company this time, so that was pretty sweet. I think that he was sometimes surprised at the weakness of my arms and my inability to paddle as fast as he could...but seriously, the guy surfs every day...arms of steel? I don't know, but I surely don't have them. My arms are die.

So, Matt and I have decided to reconvene at the Denpassar airport in Bali to catch our flight together to Singapore. Actually, the closer this trip comes to an end, the more I wish that it wasn't. I was more excited about a week or two ago to head back, but I can't say the same now so much. I think I could stay in Bali forever, it's frigging wonderful. And to think that Matt and I almost didn't come here! For the love.

Hope all is well. See you in a few days!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Gili Islands

I just realized that I've left it about 10 days since my last post. Partly due to crappy internet connections, partly due to laziness, and partly due to the fact that my life is so incredibly chill I am struggling to find things to blog about.

Matt and I left a place called Padangbai on the coast of Bali a few days ago. We got on a ferry headed for Lombok, the next big island over (it's not big at all). Anyway, before I even get on the ferry, this team of Indonesian men grab my bag and start marching toward the boat. I'm not sure what they're doing, but I kinda say "hey, um can I have my bag please...". No response, they keep marching. They get on the boat, set my bag down and about 5 men are blocking it from my reach as they demanded 10,000 rupiah (a little over 1 CDN dollar) for the return of my bag. So, I reply, "Screw you, I'm not giving you anything, gimme my bag!" I grab it and walk up the stairs, meanwhile reasonable Matt Davis reaches into his wallet and hands the angry mob the money they want to avoid a future altercation. I was pretty pissed about the whole thing. That won't happen again, no one's touching my stuff.

Anyway, so we get on the boat and sit on this dirty deck outside. The boat is seriously a giant piece of rusty metal crap. Its only about 9am by this time so we park it and lay down on our bags. I fell asleep for about an hour and a half and woke up dirty, hot, and still tired. I had a conversation with an Indonesian man about the differences in price between our countries. We concluded that for a pack of smokes and a beer in Canada an Indonesian can live for almost a month. Isn't that ridiculous?

After the worst ferry ride of my life we get off and get on a tiny little dirty bus that takes us on a curvy road for about an hour or more. By this time Matt had been feeling quite sick and he was under the least ideal conditions to feel the way that he did.

After numerous touts, scams, and no air-con we arrived on an island called Gili Air where we spent about 4 nights. Locals were friendly and we had a good time relaxing on the beach and doing not much at all.

We left yesterday for another Gili, this time Trawanagan which is much more populated than Gili Air, so there's a little more to do.

Today we spent the day snorkling for about 3 1/2 hours and we were actually able to see some sea turtles just off the coast here chillin in the water. It was great. Good coral and great fish. The conditions were very ideal.

Yesterday after Matt picked up a menu that featured an "Easter Special" we realized that, "Holy crap, it's Easter!". Not much of a celebration here, other than the fact that we're going to that restaurant to eat the "Easter Special". It'll be good...and cheap. Just the way I like it.

In other news, I'll be home in 9 days. I have a long trek ahead of me to get back home, but I'm looking forward to being well as my short stint in Korea.

See ya all soon!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Surfin' USA - update!

Just a quick post...

I just returned from about 3 hours of surfing and it turns out...


Not in the trendy "I-wanna-look-cool-with-a-surfboard" kinda way, but I genuinely loved my day of surfing. I was a little nervous when I woke up this morning cause I wasn't sure what to do or what to expect, but I had a great instructor (who turned out not to be Australian, but from a different island in Indonesia...he spoke English with an Aussie accent if that's what mattered...).

Anyway, I'm nice and sunburned from the day, and my arms are flippin killing me. That sport is a LOT of work let me tell you. If I kept that up everyday I'd have arms of frickin steel!

I hope to go again, but we'll see what happens, might be heading toward Lombok in the next couple of days and I'm not sure if there's a good surf out that way.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Surfin USA

Today was an eventful day that began with snorkling and included Matt and I holding various animals that this guy kept throwing into our hands including a sea turtle, a tucan, an eagle, a bat, a clingy little monkey like creature, and a snake (only held by Matt cause there's not WAY anyone's gonna make me hold a snake!).

It was a good time.

Afterward I decided that since I'm at Kuta Beach in Bali, Indonesia, which is one of the top surf sites in the world, that I'd book a surfing lesson. For pretty cheap I get an Aussie dude to show me what the heck I'm doing. I'm not sure if I'll like it, or if I'll absolutely hate it and never want to try again, but we'll see what happens after tomorrow. I guess the whole "when in Rome" thing applies yet again.

Other than that I'm having a great time. This place is very chill and I'm seeing another side of this island that I didn't see when I was here in 2002 (pre-Kuta Beach terrorist bombing). It's nice and things are very cheap here, which is always a plus.

In other news, I have a flight booked home! It's official. At 11:10am on April 26th I'll be arriving in Vancouver and looking forward to seeing everyone! It's not for 2 1/2 weeks yet, but I'm still looking forward to just chilling out at home for a bit.

It's been a while...geez has it ever been a while.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


I'm in a town called Sandakan and it's probably one of the most uneventful towns that I've ever been to in my life.

For example, Matt and I walked around looking for something do drink for about an hour before finding something very sub-par. Also, this morning we were looking for a corner store to buy some water and we barely found one after 10 minutes of looking.

We went to the Orang-utan Rehabilitation Center in Sepilok today though, and that was very cool. I figured we'd see possibly one or two Orangutans, but we actually saw quite a few of them during their feeding time. We also saw smaller monkeys who were like rats (though bore no resemblence to the rat I saw on the side of the street last night!) and acted like the clean up crew for the orangutans.

Anyway, it was pretty cool to see. We had to actually go into the jungle to see them, rather than seeing them in a zoo. It was a lot closer to a natural habitat and actually, if the orangutans decide not to come back for feeding, they're free.

Despite this boring town, I'm still having a good time. Matt and I are trying to make some plans to leave in the next 24 hours or so...due to the boredom. We're not exactly sure where yet though, so some decisions are being made even as this blog post is being written.

Only a little over 2 weeks left now, which is totally weird to me. I just hope that my ticket is waiting for me in Korea when I get there. If it's not, someone's goin down...likely it's Plus Academy!
Pictures of Masjid Omar 'Ali Saifuddien, a Mosque in Brunei