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A more recent update…. All of the other posts are basically background information to catch people up on my life here in East Timor. So here is what has been happening for the past 3 weeks or so. (beginning of November through the 3rd week).

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Bali

Kay (the woman I am dating) left East Timor to go back to Washington D.C. She is quitting her job with the World Bank and moving to Sri Lanka where she will start a new job with the UNDP (United Nations Development Program). So what other choice did we have than to take 5 days off and spend them in Bali, Indonesia. So I worked overtime to get comp time and then we took off for Bali…my contract doesn’t give my any vacation or sick days.

We decided to head up to the northeast coast and go diving. After some confusion at the airport we rented a car, got a horrible map and took off on a 4 hour odyssey to find the right roads. It was a great time and we saw a ton of Bali by getting lost in the back mountain roads and small villages. We finally arrived and stayed for 3 nights in a resort right on the water that had a dive shop attached. We did two dives the next day, one to a ship wreck that was massive and about 25 meters down and the other to a drop off full of coral. We saw all of the normal tropical fish, such as puffers, clown fish (think nemo), a school of mackerel in a circle and even a giant barracuda.

It was a really relaxing time and was just what we needed. We took the car out and explored the area and found terraced rice fields up in the mountains. They were so beautiful and such a vibrant green.

On our third day we headed back to the south coast near the airport area and stayed at a small villa in the middle of rice fields and about 10 minuets away from the beach. We took our time shopping and spent a half-day taking surfing lessons. It was amazing and after surfing first in San Diego and now in Bali I think I really need to add it regularly to my life…more on this later. I was a bit bummed because I had been hoping to take kite boarding lessons (where you use a kite to pull you across the water on a board strapped to your feet), but the timing was just not right and between heavy rain and low tide I had to settle for only scuba diving and surfing…..Yes I know I have a rough life.

So to sum up Bali…great time, great weather, awesome sporting activities and possibly one of the best atmospheres I have encountered around Asia. The Balinese have a great sense for design, whether it is for architecture, sculpting, furniture making, or wood carving. I would be very happy if I could outfit my future house (if I ever settle down…just joking Mom…..maybe….) with anything from Bali.

We got stuck in about 15 festivals while driving. Bali is a mainly Hindu island and these festivals were to celebrate the full moon.

A view of rice fields from the road above.

Me and the rice fields…


Kay and I taking a break from driving

Some more rice fields built into the side of some mountains.

Traditional Balinese boat…you didn’t think all the pictures were going to be of rice did you?

Having fun on the boat

Back to Timor-

I arrived back to Timor (alone…sniff sniff) and jumped right back into work. I am coming up on the end of my contract and the seminars/workshop I am organizing need to get done, and quickly. The problem is negotiating the agenda and content with my boss and still keeping the impact of the content close to my vision. In either case the situation is very fluid here and without notice the police and military have begun reconciling with each other (they had been shooting at each other just 3 months ago).

Yes, I know this sounds like a good thing…and it really is. But it makes organizing the seminars more difficult because the security sector has its own program going (with all the right secret handshakes) and getting our agenda picked up is going to be even harder. So what do you do when work gets difficult…go on a camping trip with friends.

5 of us got on our motorcycles and drove an hour up the coast to Dollar beach (no I have no idea where the name came from) and camped out for the night. Yup, just one hour away and you get a nice deserted tropical beach. The ride out there was amazing as we zoomed over mountains and hugged curves that dropped hundreds of feet down to the ocean; through little villages and past fishermen spear hunting for dinner. I had bought a camping hammock in Bali, complete with a mosquito net. However, the breeze kept going all night so not only was it cool, and the sky star filled, but all of the bugs were blown away.

The next morning I hiked up a small rise to see the sunrise and then went snorkeling over the reef. Kay and I had come out to the same beach about 3 weeks ago with a friend to go diving so I had a pretty good idea of where all the fish were. It is amazing all the fish and other creatures you can see even just snorkeling.

Some locals were trying to bounce a truck on tires to get it high enough to work on its axle…so we got off your bikes and decided to help. Not the easiest way to raise up a car but when you don’t have a garage near by it is the only way.

Yup that’s right, that me and 125cc of pure power. This is the spot where we set up camp.

My new camping hammock and mosquito net. This is a single and I should have bought a double. Maybe I will buy a new one on my way through Bali next and one you lucky souls might be getting a slightly used single camping hammock as a present…one can only dream.

Dollar beach at sunrise…the next picture is from the small hill in the distance.

A view of the beach from a small hill.

Sunrise

Well that is basically what has been going on with me up to about 2 weeks ago. I will update you all soon on the past 2-3 weeks….

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