The title of this post comes from one of my favorite quotes from the movie The Princess Bride. So appropriate…so necessary.
There has been much to write about and no time to write lately. This is just a quick summary of some of the incredible things we have been able to see and do since Brendan and Emily arrived less than three weeks ago. I will take the time and post pictures and details when I can. For now I will share the short version.
They arrived the night of July 4th. The next day we were off to Yogyakarta. The jet lag played to their advantage as we did sunrise at Borobudur, toured the temple, and discovered a plant called the “shy princess”. A partial climb up the volcano Mount Merapi, traditional Indonesian lunch in a hut over a Koi pond, and sunset at Candi Prambanan. The next day was a visit to the Sultan’s palace and touring of the tunnels near the Water Castle. The highlight was Emily joining some street musicians in the tunnels for a couple of songs! We fit a batik factory tour, massages, and some chill time at the pool before dinner. That night we saw a Javanese ballet performed in an open-air theater with Candi Prambanan lit in the background.
Our next trip will probably forever be the highlight of the visit. After a couple of days in Jakarta we flew to Bali where we overnighted in order to catch an early morning flight to Komodo Airport in Labuan Bajo, Flores. Our group, which included the four of us and three very dear friends were met at the airport by our cruise director Michael. Soon we were on a tender boat heading to our home on the water for the next 6 days and 5 nights…the beautiful Samata Liveaboard. In the next days we were treated to beautiful sunsets and sunrises and incredible weather to sit and relax. We went scuba diving at dusk and the kids went on their first night dive (awesome!) We dove with sharks, manta rays, and sea turtles, and some of the most colorful fish we have ever seen. There was beautiful coral to see while snorkeling and diving. The kids have become quite the divers and I envision more family vacations that will include dive spots!
The water did not hold the only beauty and wonder on this trip. We took the tender to Komodo Island to see the Komodo dragons. We were told it would be hard to see them at this time of the year but not too long into our hike one came ambling down the path we were on and yes, they have the right of way. Our guides moved us slowly into the brush on the side of the path and asked us to be absolutely quiet and to not move. For the nine of us we had two guides each with only a forked stick that stood between us and one of the most deadliest creatures on earth. It was like seeing a dinosaur. Before we left the island we saw deer, wild boar and four more Komodo dragons!
Another day we visited a different island nearby and went to a small village. After spending time with the local children we climbed a huge hill to see a bat cave! On the last night of our trip we stopped near a mangrove island and as the sun set we watched thousands and thousands of fruit bats fly to nearby islands to find food. There were millions of stars at night and I did see the Southern Cross for the first time! Worth it!
The boat crew was amazing. The chef should be in a 5-star restaurant. Everyone had multiple jobs and the two girls on the crew gave great massages! The best night was barbecue on a beach on a vacant island. We had a bonfire and after Emily and Brendan did some singing and guitar playing we discovered our captain was a guitarist as well. Soon the entire crew was singing along and everyone was dancing. The beauty of nature, the warmth of friendship, and the wonder of God’s creation will not soon be forgotten.
Our next stop was Bali. We spent two days off the beaten path and discovered the “real” Bali according to our friend and guide Mardy. We saw the making of sea salt, the carving of lava stone for temples, visited a community of local painters, met some local carvers, relaxed in a hot spring, went to a volcano, participated in an abbreviated Hindu cleansing ceremony, ate at a local warung, watched a temple ceremony with local villagers, drove to a mountain with beautiful lakes, went to a monkey forest, drank Kopi Luwak (poop coffee), saw a Barong dance, learned a lot about the Hindu religion, and Brendan and Emily both held bats, snakes, and iguanas. We were hosted by our friend for a Balinese dinner at his house where Emily and Brendan wore traditional Balinese clothing. Our last day in Bali we spent at the beach, shopping the alleys for bargains, spending time at the hotel pool and finally discovering the night life in Legian. We literally danced the night away. I haven’t closed a bar since I was in college!
Now we are back in Jakarta to relax a bit and enjoy the city for a week. Next stop is Thailand. I’ll check in with you after that!