Monday, 20 July 2015

Helo from Indo

I had to laugh when I asked the host at our hostel how to say hello in Indonesian and she responded, helo. Spelt with only one l. Indonesia has a huge dutch influence and if you've ever heard someone speak dutch it sounds a lot like english. Same goes for those speaking in Indonesian, you feel like you can understand what their saying although you can't. 

After a very very long flight from Honolulu, Hawaii, we finally arrived in Indonesia. We got to our hostel around 2 am and quickly discovered that we had chosen a great place to spend five days. Six Degrees Backpackers hostel is the name and I would recommend it to anyone coming to Jakarta. The common area is always bustling with backpackers looking to meet new people, the dorm rooms are clean and they make great food with no MSG. 

I was showing Mike a shark attack video and our roomate thought "the married couple was cute" and she felt it was a good opportunity for a photo haha so we smiled for the camera. 


One of our first indonesian meals at our hostel. It cost us $2.60 US. 


This one was $3 US. The cook warned me that it was it was a bit spicy.. hilarious.. it was dragon fire breathing spicy and that was according to Mike but still delicious.


Day 15/16- Our first day here we were so jet lagged that we just hung out at the hostel for the day. It is 33 degrees outside and air conditioned inside, which makes it very easy to stay indoors. This night we succumbed to our tiredness and went to bed at 7pm..... and woke up at 3am. Wide awake. So I facetimed my family and emailed around indo to make plans for the next 5 weeks. Mike was involved in a very important and serious matter. A matter that required his complete attention for the livelihood of our family! A matter that makes the phrase "it matters", matter... I am of course referring to the four hour affair that was his fantasy football draft! This is "The Year".  :) 
We figured if there was any chance our sleep schedule was going to return to normal, we would have to stay awake until that evening. So we went to the mall. The greatest mall we have every seen. Better than any of the malls in Vegas. It is called Grand Indonesia Mall and grand it is. Eight floors of amazing. We easily spent the next nine hours there. 

Mike almost made headlines as the balloon man of Indonesia. Luckily he didn't go far. 


Mike also got a 40 minute hair cut. It was the most meticulous and precise hair cut I've ever seen.  


Then we went to the movies.... and we sat in the Gold theaters... which was made up of individual couches that reclined with a remote control and blankets to keep you cozy during the show. 

Saw this in the theater and liked what it said.

Day 17- After a normal sleep and a casual breakfast we walked down to the National Monument. It is pretty crazy how much attention we get when walking around the streets here. We are constantly getting honked at. I can tell it's getting to Mike's head as he thinks he is the reason for getting so much attention... although I figure it might have something to do with the fact that 80% of the vehicles on the road are tuk tuks or taksis, who are just hoping we will hear their honk and be their next customer. I don't think I'll mention this to Mike though... he seems to like all of the extra attention.

The monument sits in the center of a beautiful green area that is not covered in garbage like a lot of Jakarta. There was about 5 huge line ups to get into the monument and potentially make it to the top to enjoy the view.. but Mike and I are were not interested enough to wait in the 35 degree heat, so we opted out and went back to the mall. :) No shopping this time, we just enjoyed the aircon and some snacks. 


Mike's first coconut. All to himself. 


Nothing like a good photobooth to capture our many feelings.


Day 18- Things have sure changed a lot since our last backpacking trip through Africa and we're hoping our first week in Indonesia won't speak for the rest of our trip. Typically we don't book anything in advance and we can show up on a hostels front step and have a place to stay. Things have changed. We had heard from someone that we might want to look at booking our next spot because things were booking up. She wasn't lying. We ended up looking into many of activities that we were hoping to accomplish while here and most were booked up. That was today's line of business. We spent most of the morning and early afternoon booking flights and hostels for the next 5 weeks. Sometimes these things can get stressful.. (I'm not complaining) so we figured we needed to treat ourselves to our first massage in Asia. We also took our first tuk tuk of this trip and it was just as fun as we remembered.

And for the far the worst yet. My lady was super lazy and was literally one handing it. At a few points I thought she actually fell asleep. haha Still can't complain though for a $12 dollar massage. Looking forward to Thailand, their better and cheaper. 


Thursday, 16 July 2015

Honolulu Chillin'

We arrived in Honolulu mid day and checked into the Polynesian hostel. The service here is amazing. The girl who runs the front desk is beyong helpful with any questions and she goes out of her way to make your experience better. This place is pricier than the last but it also includes a pancake breakfast every morning. They also have a chef who works there and he makes a dinner every other night...soooo good!!!! So far we have just chilled a lot and caught up with some left over business from home. 

This is how we spend our nights.. wine, salami and big brother. 

and if we're not doing this were playing one of our new card games...Gloom. It's actually quite fun and the more you play the more vindictive the game gets. 


Day 12- We spent the day on a bus for a good part of it tryin to get to Pearl Harbor. We are not early risers.. well I wake up every day before 7, let me rephrase. Mike is not an early riser, which makes getting to these touristy attractions before the rest of the world very difficult. Poor planning on our part was also involved as we did not know an entire day could be spent at Pearl Harbor. Either way, we went to the SS Missouri and enjoyed learning about it's battles, specifically WW2 (Mike's grandfather fought in), gulf war and the Korean War. 

Where the crew sleeps. Looks a lot like the dorm rooms we sleep in. :)


For those who do not know this about me, growing up I wanted badly to be in the army. Being on this navy ship still made me want to pursue my childhood dream. At least I can practice with Mike right?

After a long day of bus rides with crazy preachers, we splurged and went to my favorite restaurant on the island from my Westjet days. Duke's offers a real hawaiian experience. We were even serenaded at our table with a ukulele, not to mention the meal was amazing and the sunset was even better. 

Hawaii has been amazing and we're so happy we started our trip off here.

See you all soon from Indonesia. 

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Ocean giants

As my lovely friend Kayla had mentioned prior to me leaving for this trip... the likelyhood of me collecting an assortment of bracelets along our travels is not only likely but garanteed. You'll be lucky if you can see the skin on my arms by the time we come home. ;) Although, no bracelets have jumped out at me yet, as the perfect first bracelet.. until, one particular bracelet just happened to literally fall at Mike's feet. It must have been stuffed into Mike's bag when we were staying at my sisters house prior to leaving. What a nice surprise Leala. Thanks my little angel. So here you have it, my first bracelet. Don't worry Kayla, I am going to collect bracelets for you along the way and I expect you to wear them forever and ever and ever. 


Day 8- We couldn't resist starting our day off with a delicious coffee and treat so we stopped off at Tin Shack to satisfy us once again. 

Once our buzz kicked in we hit the road again, this time we drove through the center of the Big Island. We drove to a beach that locals gave us directions to. Down a hidden driveway and along a rocky road, the beach emerged. The heat was on another level this day! It didn't matter what sunscreen concoction we used, we both roasted in the sun. 

While we were swimming in the ocean, we both got spooked by something large coming towards us.... we backed out slowly to try to see what it was... I backed out a little quicker than Mike. Turns out it was our favorite ocean friend, the turtle. Here he is coming up to say hello. He wasn't alone either, he had many of his friends exploring the ocean with him. 


This beach also had a hidden treasure along the treeline. Caves along the earth filled with ice cold fresh water, no more than 15 feet from the beach, called Queens Bath. You could actually swim from one cave to another. They were pretty impressive.


From here we headed to an activity that we had been trying to arrange since we arrived on the big island. Diving with manta rays. It is ranked as the number 4 dive in the world.  About 30 years ago, a bunch of divers were diving near the airport in Kona, which is located right off the coastline. When they were diving they noticed that the lights put in for the airport were attracting loads and loads of plankton. What eats plankton? Manta Rays. Huge ones. Once these divers figured this out, they exlpoited it and have been brining people there to see this amazing phenomenon ever since. 

On our way to the manta ray site, we were lucky enough to play with some spinner dolphins in the water. Our captain made waves for them and they played in them like a couple of kids playing at a pool. 

Unfortunately, our water proof camera broke hours prior to this.... and Mike's gopro was out of batteries. Luckily, we chatted up a nice mother and son and they promised to send us their gopro footage. This is the only image we managed to capture before our gopro died.  

The experience was insane. The manta rays were bigger than you'd expect and they would do flips right next to us to ingest as much plankton as possible. At one point we had three fighting for their share. Definetely worth the money spent. We went with a company called Hang Loose, they were amongst the first discoverers, 30 years ago, and weren't overpriced like most other companies. 

Day 9-  This was our last day on the big island.  We woke up early to do the crater hike at volcano before the sun got too intense. It is a 4 mile hike that has a 400 foot decline and incline. That faint line in the center of the crater is the trail we took. 

If it wasn't for Mike the crater would have closed in on us. Phew, thank goodness he's so strong. 

We were also able to walk through a real lava tube formed at one of the more recent eruptions. As you can see I get very excited when I see a good lava tube. 


After our day at volcano we were dehydrated and hungry. We went to a natural foods grocery store in Pahoa that made fresh and healthy sandwiches on demand. I was in sandwich heaven. 



Saturday, 11 July 2015

Simple pleasures

Day 6- This one began with one of the best cups of Kona Coffee I've ever had. Our guesthouse host took us to one of his local spots called the Tin Shack in the town of Pahoa. I haven't taken a photo of it yet but it has everything that would make a local coffee shop hangout cool. First off, it is a tin makeshift building with a random assortment of seating and tables, locals playing guitar while singing on the stage, the best coffee and sweets available and the most eclectic group of hippies I have ever seen under one roof. Photographic evidence coming soon.

After we filled our bellies with coffee and cinnamon knots we drove out to the Hawaii Volcano National Park, got an abundance of information from one of the guides at the visitor center and planned out our visit to the Volcano for the next couple of days. The park is huge and houses two active volcanoes. We hiked near the Kilauea volcano that has been erupting since 1983. As we walked through the park we could feel random heat pockets coming from the earth. These were steam vents, pressure being released from the volcano.


The steam vents gave off enough heat that when your hand was over them, it felt like a kettle going off. 

Sulphur banks were also scattered around the active volcano and they gave off a strong smell of rotten eggs.

Our view of the actual volcano was quite clear. A smoke plume is always visible and the crater that make up the volcanoes floor is massive in size. 

Mike loves these cheesy photo optic illusions and he promises to take these photos everywhere we go. Here is his first one... ouch careful Mike don't get too close. 

The park guide told us about a more secluded spot to see the glow of the volcano after dark. After a short drive and a mile long walk, we arrived at the most barren empty place in the park. This part of the park was closed to vehicles as the last eruption 4 months ago flooded the area with lava. Today all that is left is black lava rock frozen in place. This made for a great place to watch the glow of the lava reflect off the smoke plume. Unfortunately there is no visible lava flow from the trails unless we take a helicopter at this time.

We sat at this one spot for some time while we waited for the sun to go down.... Mike and I could both see a certain figure in the lava... do you see what we saw?

A St. Bernard? or maybe a terrier? What ever it is, it looks like a dog. Made us smile.

Once the sun went down the show began and it was spectacular. 

After catching a good glimpse of the glow from this angle we headed back to our car to see it from the main lookout.  On the way back the sky lit up like I'd never seen it in my life. Unfortunately my photography skill level is only in the beginners stage so I was unable to capture it. Although it was almost better this way. We got to enjoy it and we had the best seats in the house. These are the simple pleasures we take for granted in our normal life. 

From the other side of the crater we were able to capture more photos of the red hot plume floating over the volcano.


Day 7- We have officially been gone for 1 week. Yihaw.

Today we drove out to South Point. South Point is the most southern point in the United States. About 3 miles from there is green beach also known as Mahana beach. The 3 mile hike to the beach is over rocky terrain and clouds of dust but a 4 by 4 can be hired to drive people down there for $30 bucks round trip. This is one of two green sand beaches in the world. Once we arrived at green beach the scene was quite beautiful. The beach itself is in a cove surrounded by black cliffs and the sand is... yup you guessed it, a faint color green. 

Walking down for a swim.

We ended up paying a driver to take us back and we enjoyed the rocky road to our car. From here we returned to South Point. There are huge cliffs that make up this famous landscape. What do you do when life gives you lemons? You make lemonade. Of course... so what do you do when life gives you a giant cliff with water below it? You jump.

Friday, 10 July 2015

These are my people

Day 5- We set out to explore more of the east side of the island. First we hit up Akaka falls, which lies about 11 miles from Hilo. The falls impressive height at 422 feet is double the height of niagra falls in Canada. This excursion is more commercialized than Rainbow falls and the path is paved with guard rails. The falls were definitely worth the view but no more than a half hour needs to be spent here. 


From here we set out to find the Hawaiian Tropical Botanical Gardens.  In most cases this type of activity is not something Mike and I would schedule into our plans but we had multiple people tell us that it was well worth our time. One even said, "I'm not into gardens and it was amazing!"... we were sold! Turns out... it really was just a very large garden with a lot of interesting and foreign plants..... I'm going to be honest.... not that amazing. Unless you love plants... I would not say this is something to put on your radar if your heading to the big island. 



A lady and her daughter asked us if we wanted our picture taken. When we said yes she told us to pretend we were standing under mistletoe. Mike said "little weird kissing your sister but OK!" and the result is me laughing while trying to kiss Mike under the mistletoe. Then I told the ladies about the slaptoe in our home and they did not laugh. I guess I should keep those things to myself. Kissing your sister is funny but slapping people isnt? I don't get people. 


Although this next picture may have made it worth our while. It is one of my new favorites.

The city of Hilo goes to sleep around 10pm as many places in Hawaii have noise restrictions. The owner of the home were staying in gave us a tip on where to catch some late night action... it was a bit awkward when we showed up naked as it was a night market... Uncle Robert's night market happens every night but their big night is on Wednesday. The sun goes down here around 7:30, which can make driving at night with no street lights a little nerve wrecking but when we arrived at Uncle Robert's I was more than satisfied. These were my people (as Mark Wiseman would say but Mark's people are scarier than my people). It had a hippy vibe with a live Hawaiian band playing Bob Marley tunes. I couldn't ask for anything more. We zig zagged through the tables and people to see tarot card readers, kids making necklaces, tons of food, liquid concoctions full of health benefits and hand made soap.  I don't know how my mom would fit into this crowd but her bread would do just fine.. although she might need some psychedelic names to attract the hippies. (Groovy apricot raisin bread has a ring to it)