Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Day+

On Christmas we went to a village to see original Balinese, the Bali Aga. They are a small group, maybe 300 families and had some handicrafts for sale. One lady was really nice and explained some of the history to us. I bought a fun new scarf from her for next winter.

We headed to a nearby bay from there where our driver helped us find a snorkeling crew and lunch. The restaurant made all the arrangements and as always were super nice. For around $15 each we rented gear and went out for two hours. We were skeptical at first because no one else was there, but once under the water it was great and we had it all to ourselves!! I tried out my new underwater camera (thanks Mom!) and hopefully got some good pics of the colorful fish. We even belted out some Christmas carols while out there. Pretty sure our boat captain thought we were nuts.

We came back just before the rain. Perfect weather again!! No strenuous evening activities and we headed to bed around 8:30/9 as we had a wake up call for 2:30am. Yep, we were going to trek up a volcano (Mt. Batur) at night to see the sunrise.

The alarm went off and we headed out. We were with a nice Canadian family of three, including their 11-year old. I just wanted to do as well or better than him. Failed :). But, we did not miss the sunrise even with my slow self. It was cloudy, but the clouds blew in and out so we got some good views when we were patient. The guide was great and cooked us breakfast, hard boiled eggs and cooked bananas, from the steam of a volcano hot-spot. It was super hot! We headed down and were back around 10:30 for the Bears/Packers debacle poolside. Then we headed to town, Ubud, for lunch, shopping and dinner. It was a long day and we were knackered! Another early night to bed. Awoke at 2am to a downpour. So happy we went trekking the day before. Weather thwarted again!!

This morning we walked to a nearby hotel for a western breakfast. Then we pack up at noon and start the trip back to Singapore. A lovely holiday that anyone should make should they find themselves in Asia or planning a trip.

More pics to come, but I did take these two with my iPad (so not sure on quality): the rice paddies next door and the pool at our villa.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

I got to Bali yesterday with a friend and today we went for a beautiful bike ride through the small villages and rice paddies. We saw them harvesting rice, got a tour of a local Balinese home and coasted most of our 25km. I almost got lost once when I missed a turn, but the guide ran me down (yeah I wasn't going too fast). Then my camera flew out of my pocket but luckily survived. I had some trouble with my bike gears and walked up the big hills :).

Then we came back, got some cokes and beers, jumped in the pool and now we're on break due a rainstorm passing through. Tonight is Havana Cafe for some Latin food and apparently all the waiters are practiced salsa dancers.

Definitely a fun way to spend Christmas when you can't be with family. I can't update Facebook so will try to post more here. No pics until I'm home. The iPad isn't so good with the camera or me figuring out how to transfer them here ;).

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas!!

Imagine that it is still light out at 7pm.  It is 80 degrees.  Your skin is slick with a nice sheen of sweat from the humid, humid air.  And in 3 days it's CHRISTMAS!!

Yeah, not so much.  It doesn't really feel like Christmas in Singapore - not the first year, not the second year (even with the addition of family) and still not in the third year.

Christmas can be crazy hectic at home, but when that's what you know, that's what you want.

All that aside, I give props to Singapore for one very special thing that is here and not anywhere to be found back home.  Two little words.....what are they?......Merry Christmas.  Why are they so special? Because everyone's saying them.  Everyone.

Today was my last day at work before taking some definitely needed days off.  I can not count how many people have wished me a Merry Christmas.  I talked to two colleagues from India today, I'm pretty sure they're not Christian.  They both, on separate calls, wished me a Merry Christmas.  It's been the same at work with people in the office or my clients.  I have no idea if they actually celebrate Christmas, but it doesn't matter.  They know (or assume) I do and they want to wish me happiness on my holiday (of course not "my" but our collective Christian holiday).  It is really nice.  No mincing words, trying not to offend.  Just simple. And then, you say it back.  Who knows if that person is doing anything different than their usual day this Sunday, but I can say it and not offend anyone because we all know the intention behind the words.

There are a bunch of great things about Singapore, but one is that they are a culturally diverse country where you don't have to tip-toe around political correctness.  Just like everyone is loving on Christmas now, we'll enjoy the Hindi, Chinese, Muslim, and other holidays as they come in 2012.

So, I leave you with, 
Merry Christmas!

Pass it on to your neighbor :).