So the blog has been pretty quiet as of late. Between having my laptop stolen a few months ago and minimal internet connection, I’ve put the blog on hold for a bit. This summer we’ve made our way through Sumatra, Turkey, and a two-month road trip of the American West. And in a few hours we’re off to New Zealand where I’m sure take thousands of photos. I’m hoping to update a few times on the road, but most of the sorting and posting will have to wait until 2013.
Thanks for checking in.
Becca in the wild landscape of Cappadocia, Turkey (July)
At 4am we hopped on the back of motorbikes and were whipped up the twisty road towards Mt. Kelimutu, believed to be the resting place for departed souls. The fog rolled in just as we made it to the top and we were feeling pretty disappointed we wouldn’t see the sunrise over Kelimutu’s three-colored lakes. But we waited patiently and as the sun rose, the fog burned off revealing bright turquoise water and a spectacular panorama.
After an hour admiring the view, we hiked down the mountain through little villages to a chorus of “Hello Mister”.
One of the wildest experiences we’ve had in the last four months of travel was our trip to Belaraghi village. After a few days hanging around the the town of Bijawa we heard about an awesome village nearby accessible only by foot. We managed to arrange for one of two guides that organizes stays in the village and in a couple days, Paul, Robin, and our death-metal-obsessed guide, Freidus, were off. After a relatively short hike, we arrived in the village of traditional thatched-roof houses, perched on a ridge and surrounded by rice fields. It was a ghost town. The children were boarding at the nearest school and the adults were all in the fields. So we dropped our bags and continued on the trail until we came across the village chief and her extended family. They put knives in our hands and we set to work, (slowly) harvesting rice. There was a lot of chatting, laughing, finger-pointing at the gringos, and photos (mostly the villagers taking pictures with their phones of us bumbling through the rice fields).
The afternoon continued with a hilarious game of takraw. I have never met people more quick to laugh, and mostly at themselves (one of the best traits you can have). And then came the chicken sacrifice. To welcome us into the village and introduce us to their ancestors, a chicken was slaughtered, the blood thrown against the wall, and then drained into a bowl of coconut shavings and rice (which we later had to eat). The chief read our futures in the large intestine (happy travels, good health, and many babies of course) and then we proceeded to feast and drink and drink. Oh, and there was dancing. Paul put on an especially entertaining shimmy that kept the local ladies in stitches. They were still laughing the next morning and could hardly look at Paul without instigating another round of giggles.
We were grateful for their generosity, humbled by the simplicity and fullness of their lives, and warmed by their full-bully laughter and wide smiles.
You don’t need to know the language if you have a ball in your backpack. We bought a couple takraw balls in Bijawa and then roamed the neighborhood until we found some willing competitors. On this one evening, the boys at the local flour (?) packaging center were quick to take a break when we showed up for a game on their rocky court. It soon turned into a block party with lots of little ones and old men cheering from the sidelines.
The plan was to head to the fabled Spice Islands after our diving adventures. But of course, “the plan” never seems to actually become reality. Getting out to the far-flung islands would have involved a perfect alignment of buses, airplanes, and ferries that were only scheduled to depart once a month (if there were enough passengers). Instead, we decided head to overland on the island of Flores with our new friend, Robin. Beyond the famous dragons and volcanoes, Flores is rich with traditional villages, football fanatics, terrible roads, and homemade moonshine.
(many thanks to Paul for capturing a number of these photos while I was in bed with a bad stomach)
We’re on a break from our constant state of travel – battling jet lag, enjoying the comforts of home, and switching out sarongs for fleece. I had high hopes for updating this blog along the way, but slow internet connections and the desire to fully appreciate our time away from the computer and in the rejuvenating out of doors, put a quick end to those plans. A few months ago, this would have really bothered me. But I’m learning to let go of the expectations and take it slow. I have thousands of photos to go through and plenty of time.
These shots are some of the views from our 4-day scuba diving/sailing trip in Komodo National Park (off of Flores Island, Indonesia). The views were even better under water – brilliant coral, baby sharks, camouflaging cuttlefish, micro nudibranches, and much more.
And I couldn’t resist including a photo (courtesy of Paul) of the most popular member of the crew – Amy, the owner’s daughter.