Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Overwhelming Support for Nepal

sortingI feel overwhelmed with gratitude by the outpouring of support from friends, family, colleagues, and students. Thanks to you, we received about a dozen boxes and two dozen bags of donations!  Not all of it was completely appropriate clothing, so some of it will be donated to local homeless shelters.  That said, the vast majority will be going to Nepal.  

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Crisis in Nepal: Request for Supplies

Nepal was struck by a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake in April, leaving millions homeless.  These people then had to struggle with the nearly non-stop monsoon rains and ensuing mudslides, while still living in tents.  The rains have subsided, but the struggle continues.  In late September, Nepal's deliveries of supplies, food, medicine, gas (petrol), and fuel for cooking have been cut off due to protests about the new constitution. People have been forced to cut down protected forests, as that is the only fuel available.  Now winter is coming, and people are still living in tents, lacking warm clothes and fuel to stay warm.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Bali Cremation Ceremony

We were lucky enough to see a Bali cremation ceremony before leaving Nusa Lembongan.  We had read about these elaborate rituals that, like the Indian Hindus, involve sending cremated remains into the water. In Bali, they send remains into the sea. With all of our beach-going, we were really hoping to see one. The day we arrived, our host informed us there would be a mass cremation two days. We were stoked!

You might be thinking, "Mass cremation? What's up with that?" Let me explain.  

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Fiery Sunset

Yesterday we were extremely lucky and were able to attend a Balinese mass cremation. Even though we are in Nusa Lembongan, and island Southeast of Bali, people here follow Bali customs and religion. Seeing a cremation was on our wish-list, so we were stoked. It being in a place we really like was the proverbial icing on the cake.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Eastern Bali

Last week we left Flores and Kanawa behind, and made our way to Tulamben, in Eastern Bali.  Toulamben is home of a volcano that was last active in 1965, USAT Liberty wreck just offshore, and black sand/rock beaches. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Ombak Bali

We are back in Bali, and spending time hanging out with the two friends we made in Flores, Alberto, an Argintinian who lives in Bali, and Cynthia, who is from Olympia, Washington. Both are great fun, nod interesting people. We plan on keeping in touch with them.  I suspect that Cynthia may actually know our other friends in Olympa, Chrisanne and Webb, as they seem to have a lot in common. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Manta! Manta! Manta! -- updated

The view from our lounge chairs at the Komodo Resort (which is not on the namesake island)

We left Kanawa Island Resort on a cold, rainy day. The Flores Sea was choppy and white-capped, which wasn't the best of news for us since we were taking a boat to Komodo Resort, on the nearby Sebayur Island. Lucky for us, on a good day our boat ride was only 15 minutes by speed boat, as opposed to the hour needed to get back to Flores.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Shark! Jellyfish!! Turtle!!!

After my moonlit dip, I slept like a rock, as I often do when there's an ocean nearby. Unless there's also a fog horn. Or a mosque.  I woke up to use the bathroom and realized that dawn was just breaking. It was a gorgeous morning, so I decided to climb the Kanawa Island hill to watch the sunrise. It was beautiful.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Moonlit Beach

The beach view from our accomocations for the night, a bale-bale*

I write this sitting on a secluded beach, under a full moon and a cloudless sky, listening to the lapping waves of the Flores sea. The sound of the waves is commingled with nearby crickets and the dull hum of a distant generator.  The air is warm -- perfect, in fact. A light breeze keeps the bugs at bay, and I am perfectly content in my tank top and shorts.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Seven Dollars

The port of Luanbajo

This evening something remarkable happened.

Tadashi and I went to the night market for dinner. No, that's not the remarkable part--you'll have to wait for that. In Luanbajo, the night market is a bunch of food stalls set up along the waterfront promenade. We found a stall that looked good, sat down, and ordered dinner (mie goreng and goreng, fried noodles and fried chicken). The stall didn't serve beer, so I went to go buy some. Although it's totally legit to BYOB, finding the B turned out to be a little more difficult the it sounds. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Snorkeling With Dragons

We've been in Luanbajo, Flores for three days. Most people come here to scuba dive or see Komodo dragons.  Us? we came here to get in a little beach time and do a little snorkeling on some (supposedly) awesome reefs, but mainly, we came here to try and see the quiet side of Indonesia. We had hoped that Ubud, Bali would give us that, but we were disappointed.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Eating in Hoi An

Buying fruit local style, including the squat and the bargaining

I have been a foodie my entire life.  Even when I was a little girl, when my mother would ask me how my day was, or how camp was, I would give a rundown of the food I ate--including critiques of dry carrots, I am told. The same is true today. Indeed, I remember the exact moment that I discovered how salt can add flavor to a dish: It was at summer camp when I was about twelve years old; I don't recall exactly what I was eating, but I remember it was extremely bland so I thought, "Let's see what salt does to it." It was a game-changer.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Hoi An Love

I love Hoi An, and I'm sad to be leaving, but I'm also excited to be going to Labuanbajo and Komodo. Every time we visit Hoi An, we have a wonderful time, and this visit was no exception.

Of couse, seeing My graduate from university was fantastic, and hanging out with her family was a lot of fun. We especially enjoy chillin' with My's father, Can. Add the beautiful, (relatively) cool evenings in the old town, and our stays in Hoi An are always relaxing.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Beachy Time

write this siting on a quiet beach on the South China Sea, south of the (in)famous China Beach, sipping Biere Larue, chilling with Tadashi and our new friend, Pengodactyl. Our new friend's favorite color is blue, and his favorite foods are trash and humans; trashy humans are the best of them all.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

A Last-Minute Trip to Hoi An

Our trip had taken an unexpected turn -- for the good. Two weeks ago, we learned that our dear friend from Vietnam, My, was graduating from University with a Bachelors in English on June 30th. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014


Less than two weeks ago, we learned that our dear friend My was graduating from university--ranked number 1 of nearly 800.  Yesterday we attended her graduation and it was fantastic to see her give the valedictorian speech. We are so very proud of her!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Temples, Palm Wine and Parties, Oh My! (Updated)

This is the third time I'm having to redo this entry (grrrrrr!), so it will be shorter than I originally intended....

We were lucky enough to be at Cozy Wayan Sueta for the bi-annual temple festival -- twice! The photos below are are combination of both nights. Going to the temple means getting dressed in proper clothes, and Wayan and Ayu were kind enough to loan us some of theirs. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

New Friends and "Family"

Village Girls

A small village West of the center of Ubud, Taman, has become our home away from home. Wayan and Ayu's place, Cozy Wayan Sueta, has been filled with humor, kindness, love, and drunken shenanigans--not necessarily in that order--since we arrived 13 days ago.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Bali Handicrafts

Yesterday was a shopping day.  We started with a drive to Mas to see (and hopefully purchase) wood carvings. The carving were absolutely stunning.  And waaaay out of our price range.  The starting prices for the good stuff was over 8 million Rupia, which means anything would have cost at least 700 US dollars. And that would be for the simple pieces that were relatively small.  Suffice it to say that we only left with photos.  And I was surprised that they let us take that!  Unfortunately the photos are on my camera, so I can't share them yet, but I will update with photos when we get home.  Some of the carvings were truly life-like. I truly cannot describe them other than to say we were awe-struck at the detail and beauty. Even at a clearance sale, we couldn't afford the pieces we wanted. Were I to win the lottery, I would head right back there!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Flora and Fauna at Our Home Stay

I have been trying to post a blog, and photos, for a week now, but there is precious little internet, and even fewer ways to post with my iPad. Our original intent was to use the camera wifi to transfer photos, but it turns out that doesn't work well at all.  Of spouse, it worked just fine when we we're home! Traveling extra light, we have no computer, and being in the remote countryside of Ubud, we have no unternet cafés. Blogger is especially troublesome on the ipad.  So I will just post a bunch of photos. I will tell y about the funeral we say today on another post, because it's bed time, and theses photos will take over an hour tonload. First world problems, right?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Bali Hi

After a 14 hour flight, a 3 hour layover and a 4 1/2 hour flight, we arrived safely in Bali, Indonesia.  Unfortunately, our waiting wasn't over yet: the line for immigration was two hours long!  The line extended so far that it nearly reached the entrance, Even the immigration security officer was surprised at how long the line was. It was a bit of a frustrating end to two long flights.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Bike MS: Waves to Wine 2011 & Why I Ride (Updated w/ Final numbers!)

The Saturday Super Slugs getting ready to roll: Carl, Katrina, Sam, Tadashi and the team hero Dennis
(courtesy of Phyllis Taylor)
The Super Slugs rode in the Bike MS: Waves to Wine for the second year, although this time the team was more than double the size.  In additional to the original three,

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Two Books and a Website

Well, we've almost done it.  The book is now all put together and nearly ready to go.  Right now, we're just doing one last proof reading, then it's off to the presses!  But wait,

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Enjoying a quiet, rainy night

With the exception of pub street and the beer gardens, Siem Reap closes down by 9 pm.  Tonight it rained quite heavy, so I decided to enjoy the perfect weather and the music of the amphibious animal that is like a frog, but not a frog (and no, It's not a toad). 

Nobody we know can translate the name into English, but after many years of hearing it, we were finally lucky enough to see it (sorry, no photo).  It only comes out when it rains and it sounds like a calming, rhythmic zuzuvela (yes, I know that sounds like a contradiction). 

After spending half an hour out here, I decided it wad high time to crack open a beer and read a book.

Tonight reminds me why I love this town. I'll be sad to leave next week.  It's been a fantastic summer, and I think we've both learned that apartments are definitely the way to go.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My New Favorite Fruits

Mangosteen & Dragon Fruit
 I've always loved the fruit in Asia, especially the pineapple (which I

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Scary Barang

Went to my good friend Kimloe's village today.  It was so remote that I made two kids cry when I said hello!  TWICE!  Am I that scary??  bwaaahaaahaaa

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Enjoying the early morning

Was up early this morning and couldn't go back to sleep.  I heard the temple music, so I thought I'd get up, make a pot of tea and edit the book while enjoying the music.  It's a hot but beautiful morning.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

EXCITING NEWS about the book!

This summer is officially a success: We now officially have a first draft of the book!  It's not in print yet, but Tadashi is posing with the first chapter we had printed up a while ago.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Picnic at West Baray (Lake)

The other day, Sophath invited us to a picnic at the West Baray, which is a lake West of the famous temple Angkor Wat.  We were happy for the invitation and had a great time.  In attendance were Sophath, his wife Dahlin, and their daughter Leak (pronounced "Leah", whom we named), in addition to our new friends DJ, Chhuy and Hong Kong, as well as hong Kong's girl friend.
The picnic party

The West Baray is the largest lake near Siem reap, and the far end has lots of picnic shelters that you rent for the afternoon; they come with shade, a mat to cover the dirt and hammocks.  We were a large group, so we rented two little "rooms", one for eating and one for the hammocks.

As is the custom, Sophath made yummy fried chicken.  Siem Reap has a KFC now, but we had

Monday, July 4, 2011

American Independence Day in Cambodia

We celebrated Independence day with our Cambodian friends, including Sophath as well as Leak and Bun and their adorable son Chan Noriet (aka Mario).

We had a great spread, which was appreciatd by all.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Tadashi's Guitar

Tadashi misses two things when we travel: Doritos and his guitar.  Today Tadashi finally got a guitar.  It was only $25 (that's less than our used Cambodian bicycles), and he'll be gifting it to DJ when we leave.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Our Siem Reap Apartment

Tadashi and our good friends: Horn, DJ and Sophath
As you probably know, Tadashi and I came to Siem Reap to finish our book.  Since we'll be here for over a month, we thought it wise to get an apartment so we could spread out, have two desks and cook.  Our good friend

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Another Night at the Bar

DJ, Sophath & Tadashi
The other night, our friend Sophath called and invited us to "a night of drinking." That can only mean one thing: more karaoke. This time, we charged up the cameras before we left the house.

But first, we had dinner at our favorite road-side stall. The tables are on the sidewalk, and the kitchen is which in a schoolyard. The schoolyard walls make a great shelf for the cook.
Yummy Dinner

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Drunken Holiday in Cambodia

You folks all know how much I love Cambodia, but last night was a testament to that. Our good friend, Sophath, who is like a brother to us, treated us to an action-packed evening.

First, a Khmer BBQ dinner at street stall (Yum!) with Sophath, his wife Dahlin and daughter Leak (pronounced "Leah"; you may recall that we named Leak, so she's a like a God-daughter to us). Also at the table were four of Sophath's employees, De Jay, Hong Kong, Horn and Cheuey (pronounced "chewy"). It was a fun bunch. Sophath brought a bottle of gin and the drinking commenced with many, many rounds of gin and tonics. A good time was had by all.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Bike MS: Waves to Wine Ride 2010

Team Super Slugs (L-R):  Sea Slug (aka Tadashi), Sassy Slug (aka Katrina), Suave Slug (aka Carl), and our virtual rider, Ryan (not pictured). Combined, we raised over $5700 for MS research and programs. Katrina alone raised $3600, making her the 40th fundraiser of the 2,000 riders!

We'll be riding again next year in 2011, and we welcome new riders.  To make a donation or join our team, visit our team website.

Below are photos from the 2010 ride: 40 miles on day one, and 50 miles on day two.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Life on The Beach

The good news is that I'm coming home. The bad news is that Tadashi won't be coming with me. Don't worry -- nothing's wrong; we just decided that since my computer is still defunct and I'm getting worn out from traveling, that I would go back home a month early. This works out well for Tadashi as well, because he was really hoping to get back to Ladakh, India this trip. Since there was no way I can go back to India this year, he can now go alone. The added bonus is that I can then help my mother, katch, finish remodelling our kitchen. So my going home early works out well on all sides; it's win-win-win!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Wait A Second -- Why Are We Here? (Updated)

You may think that we've forgotten that we're here to do a project, that we're not on vacation. Sure, we are having fun doing parahawking, but despite what it may seem, we have not forgotten our purpose. In fact, in addition to following birds off cliffs, we are talking to people about education. Indeed, our time here has given us quite good material to include in the book. We have also worked out some organizational issues and are slowly catching up on our transcribing, among other things.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Parahawking - Again!

Tadashi and I went parahawking again -- this time for sunset. Although we weren't leaving until 4 pm, we weren't too keen on leaving the Maya Devi "compound", as it was Holi. Holi is a Hindu holiday during which kids and young adults throw colored powder and water (plain and colored) at each other. There are kind adults who will gently give you a tika. Tadashi and I were both blessed with a tika by the Maya Devi restaurant manager, Nani.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

ParaHawking! - UPDATED March 11

A friend of ours had told us about Parahawking in Nepal. It's paragliding using hawks to find the good thermals. We watched a bunch of YouTube videos before we left, and were very excited to go once we arrived in Nepal. The parahawking is done in Pokhara, Nepal -- a 7-hour bus ride from Kathmandu. We were able to fly with two Egyptian vultures, Bob and Kevin. The great part is that we each got a falconry glove and were able to feed the vultures mid-air! In the picture at left, you see Bob on my fist as well as Tadashi and Brad in the background (Tadashi's in front). It was absolutely amazing.

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Follow-up to Tadashi’s Blog - UPDATED March 11

I thought I should follow-up on Tadashi’s blog, On Leaving Rajasthan. Tadashi and I both wanted to share why we left Rajasthan, but we were not sure how much of the story to tell. While we had heard reports of “some women” in Rajasthan being given a hard time, neither of us were prepared for the gravity of the problem. We decided it was important to share just how bad the situation is there for women.