Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lombok and Bali

Located just east of Java are two of Indonesia's most glorious islands, Bali and Lombok. This summer some friends and I were able to spend almost 2 weeks between both of these islands. My friends and I helped with a youth program in Lombok and had the privilege of stopping in Bali on our way home. For several days we spent time with Balinese friends as they took us around the city. For 4 days I was surrounded by the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen. Within the last 6 years Bali has been the target for 2 separate terrorist attacks killing over 200 people. As Bali may be seen by the world as "a top vacation spot" or a place of fantasy and idealism, it is apparent even in places like this how far man has actually fallen.

I hope you enjoy the pics from our journeys!!!

Nice shirt, huh? This is in Lombok during low tide.

Our group hanging out in Bali!

Playing with some monkeys! Though these cute, furry little things look friendly... don't be deceived. On another occasion I tapped one with a stick and truly feared for my life as he attacked me. I bet you didn't know that little monkeys like these have fangs.

One of the things that I loved about Lombok and Bali was that our needs were always taken care of. Because of these places being heavily populated tourist areas folks like these walk around and offer to sell just about anything you can imagine, from pineapple to cigarette lighters with a cool built in flashlight (I'll show you when I get home). Maybe it is the "business man" within me, but I love to bargain with the sellers. Here I am in action, trying to get the price that I want. If you are a good bargainer sometimes the process will take up to half an hour.

I don't like to brag, but sometimes I can even get them to throw in an item for free. I'm pretty sure the term, "more than I bargained for" got started in Indonesia.... she gave me her daughter!!!

Most of Indonesia's Hindus live in Bali. This is one of the many holy sites and places of worship.

One of the more popular beaches in Bali.

Another candidate for picture of the year. This is a picture of some Sasak fisherman in Lombok.

This is actually a shot from the hotel we stayed at during the youth conference in Lombok.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

"The Beast"

After a month and a half of traveling to several new places in Indonesia and a short trip to Thailand I am long over due on my blog posting. But no worries I have some great material from my journeys to make up for it. I met many new people and saw some amazing sights along the way. Over the next few weeks I will try to capture as much as possible for you to see!!!

Some of you may know "the beast" as being that huge ugly dog from The Sandlot. For us in Indonesia "the beast" is something much nastier and much more intimidating and has been known to take small children, not just baseballs. Located just about an hour away from my home in Madiun is the infamous "Gunung Lawu". This is a 12,000 foot mammoth of a mountain.... we conquered it twice within a month. Usually the way we do it is to leave from the base around 8 pm and book it to the top in order to make it by sunrise. This leaves little time for breaks and stragglers are usually left behind... (with someone to make sure they are OK, were not that hardcore). Climbing mountains such as this has shown to be great opportunities to grow our friendships with the Indonesians. Pak Jim, the 65 year old pictured below has tackled "the beast" close to 10 times and the Indonesian kids see him as their hero (so do I)!!!

These crazy guys are getting ready to head up and have no idea what is in store for them....

We made it, and the glorious sunrise was worth the effort.

The climbers... next stop Mt. Everest

I'm pretty sure this could classify as "picture of the year." Here we have all K-Staters, including our fearless leader that graduated back in the Mid 60's.

Just some shots of the scenery.