A weekend of scuba diving and epic scooter rides

Back at home, viciously hacking at coconuts. Both hands on the knife, don't worry!

At home in Ubud, viciously hacking at coconuts. Both hands on the knife, don’t worry!

This past weekend we had a few extra days off, so we fired up our little scooter and headed off to the most Northwestern point on the island of Bali for a bit of scuba diving.

So proud of our progress...3 hours in.

So proud of our progress…3 hours in.

Up and over the mountains!

Up and over the mountains!

After stopping for lunch (twice) and six hours of bouncing along on the back of our scooter, we rolled into the town of Pemuteran around 5pm. We immediately headed to the dive shop to plan out the diving for the next few days. The remainder of the evening was spent healing our sore bums.

Our lovely dive shop, so professional, so friendly.

Our lovely dive shop, so professional, so friendly.

Orange juice with chocolate sauce? Why not!

Orange juice with chocolate sauce? Of course!

Friday morning found us at the dive shop, getting outfitted with wetsuits, masks, fins, etc. After fantastic PADI Scuba Refresher coursework and a skills dive with our delightful instructor, Adrian at Reef Seen, we were prepared to dive Menjangan Island the next day. We were both so glad we took the full refresher course, it was great to get back in the water, practice some buoyancy skills, and get our confidence back for a full day of diving on Saturday.

Breakfast view from our hotel in Pemuteran.

View from our hotel room in Pemuteran.

Menjangan Island is beautiful. It’s status as a national park ensures that the coral is thriving, we were both really taken aback by the different colors of hard and soft coral. Unfortunately don’t have an underwater camera, but thanks to a very generous guest on the boat, we have some photos of us getting ready to start our second dive. Yay!!

Almost ready.

Checking all my equipment.

I'm always the slow poke when it comes to getting ready.

I’m always the slow poke when it comes to getting ready.

Zev & I all geared up!

All geared up!

Swimming off through the jellyfish, ouch.

Swimming off through the jellyfish, ouch.

The diving was lovely, and although we didn’t see any big fish the different varieties of coral wafting in the current was really breathtaking and all of the tiny reef fish were so colorful flitting about in the clear water.

The ride back to Ubud was surprisingly painless, there was so much to see along the roadside, including fruit bats, Babi Guling (roast suckling pig), and overloaded scooters. We even stopped by a local community center to catch a children’s dance competition.

The sounds of gamelan drew us towards this adorable scene.

The sounds of gamelan drew us towards this adorable scene.

You know, transportation in Indonesia.

You know, transportation in Indonesia.

Another local delicacy, crocodile shaped cheese puffs.

Another local delicacy, crocodile shaped cheese puffs.

Fruit bats

Fruit bats.

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For the low price of $3, tourists can put the fruit bat on their crotch, we refrained. We’re on a budget, folks.

Roast sucking pick, which becomes the famous dish 'babi guling.'

Roast sucking pick, part of the famous dish ‘babi guling.’

Babi Guling

Babi guling, can’t get enough of this.

We’re in Bali

In the two or so weeks since Kuala Lumpur, we’ve flown to Bali, found an apartment, and started volunteering! We will be living in Ubud, Bali for the next 6 weeks and are visiting a friend who runs a chocolate factory. My consumption of hot chocolate has been really out of control lately, and both of my bathing suits had elastic blowouts. These events are completely unrelated, I tell myself…

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Each day we have been getting up early to go running, which our Balinese neighbors seem to think is pretty amusing. We are discovering the local coffee shops and grocery stores. The non-nomadic life is proving to be a delightful change of pace. Personally, I thrive on a regular schedule and always need some regular exercise time and fresh veggies, so life in Ubud has been treating me well. Many of the restaurants in town serve Indonesian food with a healthy slant, as opposed to China where we struggled to find a single green vegetable, even one cooked within an inch of it’s life. Here it’s all about raw, vegan, vegetarian, etc etc. Gimme more juice! I can’t get enough of the yummy food here.

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Since arriving in Ubud we have rented a little ‘villa’ which is essentially a hotel room with a fridge and hot plate. Our property has a pool, which we share with our upstairs neighbor, the only other person on the property. Mornings are relaxed affairs, involving lots of chopped mangoes, papayas, and bananas and the occasional bowl of western cereal.

Today is a national holiday, so we have a 4-day weekend and off on a 4 hour motorbike ride to go scuba diving in the Northwest corner of the island. Last weekend we went snorkeling, and I totally fell in love with it all over again. We both really enjoy swimming out in the ocean and seeing the reef fish flitting about beneath the crystal clear water. I love that you can dip your head underwater and hear all the clicking and minute sounds of the reef life.

From around the web:

My packing list looks exactly like this oneĀ  oh wait, no it doesn’t! It doesn’t feature my stained and raggedy jacket, or my blown out undies, or the bedraggled shirts that seem to keep limping along. Oh, if only travel was that glamorous.

Also, Seinfeld’s new show, Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, is hilarious.

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