Hello all my dear DG friends! I just got back from Bali, trying to catch my breath. We hit the ground running because of all our various activities, plus graduation (a big deal on an island this small), and rehearsals...my darling daughter and I are in our community theater production of The SS Minnow II, and I've missed 3 weeks of rehearsals! I have tons of things to tell you, and lots of pictures of the incredibly beautiful island of Bali, but I also have 5 and half pages of threads to catch up on with the haps for all of you. It may take a while! Here is a teaser of Bali...stay tuned for more.
Okay...I am on page 5 in my catching up...rabbits and cows, fog in Hawaii, and morning walks through Carol's magnificent garden...all accompanied by Dave's expertise and Randy's sense of humor...how I have missed you all! Slowly but surely I will make my way through...
We used to have a direct flight (well, sort of direct), from Kwaj to Denpasar, Bali. That bit the dust back when airlines were fighting for their lives and so many didn't make it. So our trip to Bali was convoluted to say the least. We started here on Kwaj with the island hopper to Guam. Stops at Kosrae, Pohnpei, Chuuk and finally Guam where we had to get our luggage and go through customs. Mad rush to get to the plane for Cairns, Aus. They were calling our name on the loud speaker while we were "randomly" chosen for explosive searches!
Tropicbreeze, did you have all the medical questionaires and doctor gaunlets? We sure did! Filled out all the forms, then Docs came on board before we were allowed to disembark - then we had to run the gauntlet through dozens of scrub-clad medics and get photographed by an infrared camera in search of fevers! As if traveling was easy to begin with!!!
Layover in Cairns - which we love - spent a pleasant couple of hours with the gardener at our hotel. Fascinating man and so knowledgeable! Breakfast and off to the airport again. Landed in Darwin with a 5 hour layover. Darwin's airport is pretty much an "excuse me" place...no amenities whatsoever, so we took a shuttle into town. Middle of the afternoon, and all the shops and restaurants were closed!!! Finally found sustenance at a place called The Hog'sBreath Saloon. Terrible name - great food. Back to the airport. Landed in Denpasar somewhere around 9 pm. The plane was out of all the forms, so we had to locate them and fill out same...more medical screening. Went to get our bags and four guys with enormous smiles had collected them and each one wanted to be the one to carry them out and find us a driver! The couldn't believe that we wanted to roll them out ourselves! Much discussion. Finally, bags in hand we ran the gauntlet of money changers that line the exit hall. There were dozens, but it felt like hundreds...each one clamoring about their rates and no commission. We turn the corner into the waiting area, which is outside, and are suddenly surrounded by hundreds (literally!) of drivers trying to convince us to choose them. The sound was deafening!!!
We had already made arrangements with a young man that many of our friends here had used in the past, and had exchanged e-mails with plans etc. Suddenly there he was...a short, slight man in western clothes, holding a sign with our names. His face was gentle and peaceful, and his eyes were large, dark and so very kind. I felt a calming influence immediately - even though the noise level hadn't changed. As he recognized us, he came and got our bags and walked us over toward his car. Then he stopped at the curb and turned to us, bowed, introduced himself - even though we knew who he was because we had pictures- touched his hands infront of his chest and said "Om swasiastu". That was the beginning of one of my most cherished friendships - we have sort of adopted Gede (G'Day), his wife and 8 yr old son. As you will see in the posts that follow - he is a remarkable young man, and a truly gifted tour guide!
Glad to see ya back Shari! Sounds like such an adventure.
Normally I wouldn't invade your thread with this post, but there's a little note at the bottom that applies to you and a few others here at DG..ya know who you are.
Shari, when I fly through to Cairns, even though I haven't left the country I still go through all the international customs, anti-terror, swine flu, etc., checks because the plane comes from Singapore. But your observations are interesting. Not sure where the taxi took you if you found all the shops in Darwin closed. Darwin is only a small city compared to Cairns and the surrounding region is remote and sparsely populated. Whereas Cairns is larger and is surrounded by a densely populated region. Darwin city is a tourist place, the locals only go there to work, otherwise they're mainly in Casuarina. But the places in the city are still open. Where you had a feed is called the Hogs Breath Cafe, never been in there myself though. A good place to go for a feed and spend a little time is the wharf precinct. Good food and reasonably cheap. A stroll around the botanic gardens would have been great as well.
Well my dears, I have been informed that I should put my Bali adventures under a title called "Bali" or some such, so I will do that, and keep this one open for "catching up". I know I'm late, but you all were talking about spring several pages ago...along with whale counting and spices and ...and...and. I think I am about 4 pages back now...getting there!
Randy, my dear friend...no words, you know I adore you.
Here is one of my "spring" contributions...I do love my Hibs!
Graduation was last week. Last day of school was Wednesday last...the exodus started last night. I swear half the island took off on vacation. It is the summer ghost town syndrome around here. I need to get you and Christi & Mike, Carol and Bob, Jenny and the whole Braveheart gang...all of you - out here where there is now room to explore and play and have lots of fun! Ahhhh, if only I could twitch my nose and "make it so number one". But dreaming is also fun.
Randy...I am serious...get that passport! I yearn for great discussions on the lanai late into the night! I can arrange a sail in the lagoon to watch the moon rise...I can show you turtles, and rays and so many fish you'll grow gills! For peace and quiet, you can't find a better spot...except maybe Bali, or Moorea, or Kosrae...oh yea, the costa del sol, Spain...okay so maybe you can find a better spot...but you can only find ME here!!!
Shari ... aaah, the tradewinds have been calling my name for 61 years, but alas I am a bit leery of being on airplanes for more than 2 hour flights (and my DH has been teaching in the aviation field for 34 years!) I'm good on the little "puddle jumpers" and Island hopping would be fun ... the islands just have to be not so far apart, LOL. From photo's I've seen, I know if I were ever to make it to Hawaii or the South Pacific Islands, I'd never want to return! Looks like heaven on earth! Were you born and raised there in the Marshall's?
We need to get passports ... I picked up the forms 5 years ago and still haven't filled out them out! We've got to do it before next summer ... DH wants to take the boat back to the Bahamas for a vacation, and passports are required as of this year. Before we could travel back and forth with just a birth certificate or drivers license ... times have changed but I'm all for safety and precautions. Hopefully we won't have to go through all the searches like you did for your Bali trip.
One thing I found out on my last trip was that the cheapest way to the US from Australia is via Guam. Fly from Cairns to Guam and then use the local airlines rather than international to go the rest of the way, via Hawaii. Sort of like a back door, or tradesman's entrance, and cheap. With my mortgage and my budget, cheap is always good.
It was David Liddle (the hoya man) who told me that, I haven't checked actual prices. He said you use the US domestic flights from Guam onwards which are cheaper than the main international flights out of Australia. Worth checking out to see if the reverse is true.
Just be careful which "local flights" you take out of Guam! Don't get stuck on the island hopper if you can help it. Not only is it tough on the body with all the up and down, but it is pretty expensive as far as we can tell. Continental (as our dear Randy knows) has a monopoly out here pretty much, so they can charge what they want. Between Guam and Hawaii you would stop at the following: Chuuk, Pohnpei, Kosrae, Kwajalein (but you couldn't get off the plane here), Majuro and then Hawaii.
Lin, Nope...just a transplant from the States...born and raised in California/Mexico then moved to Colorado when JB and I got married. Moved out to Kwaj in 1986, left in '91. Have lived in other parts of the world, but came back here about 5 years ago.
Jenn - Last time I was in the CdS was '93. Sheesh! Hadn't realized it was so long ago!
We spent most of our time in the little villages inland from Marbella...even though our villa was right across the bridge from the international pier. I know it is different now...friends who have gone recently tell me that the Spaniards are no longer friendly to Americans. That hurts my heart. Maybe Obama can repair that damage. I love Spain!!!
I almost got stuck on the Island hopper once getting out of Guam. and how fast ones fate can turn, from jump seat in the cockpit of the Island hopper to First Class non stop to HNL, when I first class person no showed...whew..I was sweating. Haven't been back since.
People still after all of these years confuse Direct flight, with Non Stop, and in airline terminology can be the difference of Heaven & Hell. Direct you see in airline talk, means a single line, of which a flight can stop..lets see..the Island hopper stops what..5 times...that is called a direct flight to Honolulu...one must ask for a NON STOP flight.
HAHAHAHAHAHA- As if! There are 1300 people out here who would kiss Continental's collective feet for a non-stop. There are only two ways out of Kwaj unless you take a boat, and both involve island stops where you have to get off the plane. We can't quite figure that one out. You go through all this security to get on the plane, and then I guess they figure that something can happen at 10,000 ft that poses a threat to security, cuz half the plane has to disembark and the other half has to gather their stuff and move to the other side "for a security check". So what happens up in the air??? Oh well. It's an adventure. And we always get off on Kosrae anyway to buy tangerines. The Kosraen tangerine is one of nature's gifts to mankind. Green, lumpy, and so sweet and juicy! They are sold only at the airport for a dollar a bag. each bag has about 10 tangerines - and you can't take them into Guam. So on the plane between Kosrae and Guam the fragrance of citrus fills the air - and people share their bounty so everyone enjoys the great fruit. On the way back to Kwaj, nearly everyone buys multiple bags to bring to family and friends. They really are wonderful!
unfortuneatly our express jets can't make it non stop, which is about the load we would have, 50 or less customers...it's too expensive otherwise. We have to pay 2000 on average everytime our wheels touch pavement, and that's just the beginning of the money we have to pay out ..it's absurd, we are the most taxed corporation in the travel industry.
Thanks Islandshari for sharing your trip to Bali. Lots of interesting and useful info. Regarding the Guam trip from Hawaii...actually I would love to island hop all the way and have a few days on each island ... it being a once in a life time trip. Will have to check into it...thanks for all the info. aloha
Stellamarina, I don't know how the "few days" would work. The island hopper is usually only on the ground for about half an hour, and only goes in the same direction every other day - not counting Sunday. It would definately take some research, but as you say it could be a very cool "once in a lifetime" trip. Good luck!
No riding. No time and no money. Still at the store and am back inside full time now. All but a few plants have sold and the ones that are left I water. I am planning on opening a greenhouse in town in the hopefully near future but it's still in the dreaming/planning/learning stage.
The Lippizaner Stallions were in KC a few months ago but I never made it there. One of these days I will!!!