We arrived in Jakarta just in time for my mama’s birthday!
Brady also had a hair/beard cut– it’s the end of his traveller’s beard era, for sure.
And here’s AFTER:
And here’s one with freshly shaven beard/hair and my mom’s dogs:
So– there has been a ‘batu akik’ craze in Indonesia starting for 2 years ago– Basically– it’s a craze to find what the people call ‘gemstone’ (although we have found some cut up slabs of marble, some rock aggregates, and other crappy rocks) and get these stone polished to the desired shapes, which would then be mounted on different settings- mostly rings or necklace. The whole entire country obsessed with ‘batu akik’– you can find stone/rock slab sellers on the sidewalks, displaying their array of stone submersed in water to highlight their colors. They also entice you to buy the rock, shining super bright flashlight through the transparent part of the stone so you can see the true color of the stones.
Here’s how the final versions look like:
(stolen off the internet)– but you get the point– really big stones- very obnoxious. All the guys here wear them– the drivers, the bus conductors, the parking spots guys, street side fruit vendors, EVERYBODY.
After you purchase the slab of rock, you get them to the polishers– below is the scene:
Anyways– the Poeppings came in town and we showed them ’round Jakarta, Bali (Seminyak and Ubud), Komodo (where we did the live aboard) and Jogjakarta!
Here’s some pictures (pardon me for the excessive monkey photos– I can’t help it!):
Here are the photos of the monkeys from Alas Kedaton– a not very well known monkey forest in Bali– we were the only tourists there.
We also went to Bedugul- a lakeside temple that appears on Indonesian 50,000Rp bill:
The Poepping parents were barely jet lagged! They were in awesome spirits and we enjoyed the beach/nice dinner/villa living/ culture sightseeting/ rice field jaunting/monkey hunting thoroughly
We also went downhill biking in Ubud– highly recommended for everybody who visit Bali– we barely had to pedal and the ride took us through villages, along the rice fields and passing through a few Balinese ceremonies.
After Bali, we flew to Labuan Bajo- located on the West coast of West Flores– basically across from the Komodo national park. We did the live aboard- staying on the boat for 4days/3 nights to dive, snorkel and enjoy the fantastic view.
I love this picture of the boat driver. He’s been demoted from his old job of being a cook to now being a boat driver. They’re scary looking– most of them hang out around the kitchen area. The guides swear that the komodos are not fed– Brady swore that he saw one of the guides chucking a piece of chicken out the window for the komodos.
This area is absolutely gorgeous– the ocean endless with really strong currents- and this is where the Pacific and Indian Oceans meet- bringing with it lots of changes in current and water temperature. The water was cold at most part which provided a nice relief from the hot scorching sun. It’s the end of a long dry season here and the rain was just starting- The mounds of islands were green when I visited this place in April a couple years back– now everything was dry brown color– Because this place is where the Oceans meet, the sea life thrives- they have lots of big fish- giant trevallis, lots of sharks, huggeeee turtles (I saw one 3.5′ across), and the fantastic mantas– We saw 15+ mantas in one dive, with a few encounters over 15 minutes as they swam 1′ above us, gently gliding against the current, as we were struggling to stay in one place using dive hooks/ whatever means necessary to stay at one position. The currents were gnarly– I was swept away by the super strong current once and had to surface with the dive master in training. The live aboard is highly recommended for the hard core divers who are looking for challenging and gorgeous dive with thriving sea life. I’ll upload the photos from the go-pros later. We dove a total of 9 dives! It was exhausting and fun.
Our boat, the Maestro Aldo~ We still had sea legs a few days after we got back on land– the gentle buoy of the boat lulls us to sleep every night – The boat has AC (what luxury!), but they turn in it off at 2AM, almost immediately we awoke covered in sweat.
We then headed to Jogjakarta- where my parents met us. We visited Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world!
We also rode this thing- I can’t even begin to describe this– it’s a platform, equipped with 4 seats where you can sit and pedal (like a bicycle), propelling this ‘car’ forward. I love the obnoxious neon lights, as well as the blaring music as we rode around the Southern square of Jogjakarta. The locals love these and the road was filled with different music blaring from so many directions and slow moving neon ‘cars’.
After Brady’s parents departure, we went back again to Bali to meet up with Kelley!! It’s always great having adventures with her. No joke, after 48 hours hanging out, we’ve motorcycled, scuba dived, motor boated, surfed and bicycled around an island together. We went to Bali, Gilis and Kuta Lombok together over 5 days. Lots of adventures, hanging out, catching up, laughs and outdoor showers.
It’s been so nice hanging out with other people (other than Brady)~ Till next time, KWig!
We cleaned up well to attend my friend’s wedding- Everything I was wearing is my mom’s — so awesome to have a mom with the same size clothes. Brady’s were all tailored in Indonesia. He was wearing Batik – an Indonesian hand made/hand drawn/ hand dyed fabric, tailored to a nice batik shirt. He almost looks like an Indonesian royalty with that batik on (jk).
We stayed in Bali a couple more days near a less frequented area up North. They have such good surfing with really good vibes. The locals are so friendly, the food delicious and fresh (not the cleanest, though) and plenty of yogas.
We also visited Singapore to renew Brady’s tourist visa (he’s only allowed 30 days in Indonesia)- great weather, great American beers and meeting up with old friends!
For now, we are still contemplating of what we’ll be doing next. The novelty of staying at one place has worn off and I’ve got itchy feet! We have a few things up our sleeves but everything is in flux. We’ll keep you guys updated as soon as we find out! What we know for sure is that we’ll be spending Christmas with my family– it’ll be the first time in a while!
Last thing- if you are reading this— leave us a note/ comment below! We always love to hear from home/friends.