Wednesday, August 24, 2016

They grow up

Today Sarah checked into May Hall--easternmost of Helaman Halls. She is rooming with her cousin Lucie and there are several Springville High friends up and down her third floor hallway.

 Lucie traveled thousands of miles from Tanzania while for Sarah it was an eight mile drive.

The door tags on the south half of the third floor were oddly cowboy and alien themed, much preferred by Sarah were the northern tags which were Victorian literary themed.

May Hall must have once been for men.

The head resident of May Hall recognized me when I went to borrow a rubber mallet to raise Sarah's bed. On a whim she took my SE Asia class ten years ago. Later she got called to Thailand on a mission and was glad she had taken the class. She told me she still remembered looking up and seeing me holding a fussy baby while its mother was taking the final exam. As I bounced the baby she thought, "only at BYU." It's nice to know that there is already a connection between Sarah and the head resident.

Sarah's plants.

While unpacking Sarah found a note from Joel that made her smile.

After school I took Joel (en route to the orthodontist) by to see Sarah's in-the-process-of-decorating room (the only day boys are allowed).

Joel is now exactly as tall as his dad.

Later Marie took Will by for a visit. These boys are sure going to miss their big sister.

So are the parents.

 Yesterday Joel started his sophomore year at Springville High.

Will ready for sixth grade.

Sunday, August 14, 2016


We left the high, cool elevation of Bromo after noon--by then clouds had rolled in. By now the running joke of our travel was that my answers to questions about how much longer that were based on estimates by the drivers and my looking at maps were always much less than the much longer actual driving time.

If we had all done the sunrise hike we would have been on the road three hours earlier. The cultivated mountains around Bromo are loaded with cooler climate crops like cabbages and onions.

It was a thirteen hour drive and ferry ride to Seminyak (north of famous Kuta) Bali where we pulled in at about 2:00 am. The plan was for everyone to have a morning at one of Bali's famous beaches before heading to the hills of Ubud. Most however opted to sleep. A sleep-in evaded me so I went to check out the waves. They were good sized and fun to jump. As I was getting ready to leave I decided to body surf one of the nice waves. It unfortunately caught my prescription glasses with safety strap (not as tight as I normally wear it) just right and off they came in the tumble of the wave. Searching the waves, water and then beach was futile, especially given the fact that I am nearly blind without glasses. Luckily I was able to make my way along the beach and inland three blocks to our hotel.

That night in Ubud four of us went to a delightful Kecak performance of part of the Ramayana.The beat box orchestra, singing narration and choreographed moves are provided by 40 men sitting in concentric circles who provide the chak-chak-chak chant in unique rhythms. Rama, Sita, Hanuman, and Ravana then come in and dance around the center.

Next day most of us headed to the east end of Bali for some excellent snorkeling. Along the way traffic came to a stand still for an hour while a cremation parade filled the main road. The big bird in the background will hold the cadaver of the deceased as it is all burned.

Here is what I wrote in a text to Marie and the kids: "Wonderful snorkeling on the east coast of Bali: schools of wide open mouthed silver fish, huge blue star fish, huge corals in the shape of a Darth Vader Helmet, a color changing octopus, and a rich variety of bright colored fish. The Creator was most creative."

Bali is often cited as the roll model of how other ares of Indonesia should prepare for Tsunamis.

Tuna sate for lunch. Plus a mango lasse.

Sunday some of the group rented scooters to go exploring, a few others who missed the beach on the two previous days went to the beach, I chose to go on my own personal walk-about--a favorite mode of travel for me. Armed with a map of the Ubud area and some Lonely Planet recommended walks I set out to see what I could see. First stop was Ubud's Monkey forest.

I then roamed the villages and countryside to the south, west and north of Ubud.

I soon noticed that the entrances to many homes are decorated with statues of Ganesha--the elephant headed god of good fortune and luck. Photographing more became my quest.

 Statues of a mother and father monkey at the entrance to a village.

 Neighborhood temple and drying rice.

 In front of a shop.

 Altar to a rice god.

 Ducks--natural pesticide and fertilizer.

 Another rice altar.

I visited with the owner of this paddy. He expressed befuddlement as to why his rice was not growing--he didn't know what the cause was, but this paddy was not healthy.

 Neighborhood temple.

 Delightful aroma.

 Favorite evening snack--rujak--spicy peanut sauce on raw fruit.

In the Bali Airport