Where We Went: Komodo National Park/Lubuan Bajo (Flores) + Ubud (Bali)
First Moment Here: Let’s just say the landing was terrifying. After 90 minutes flying over water in a propeller plane we landed between a few mountains just off the beach and the wind and clouds were at their best. Slick runway meant the plane was all over the place, “comin’ in hot” but we are fine.
Funniest Thing We Did: After an “adrenaline filled landing” Chelsea had to use the airport bathroom. The airport is so small that by the time I came out, we were the LAST passengers left in baggage claim and all the other drivers had already picked up their arriving passengers and left the airport. Embarrassing.
Craziest Thing We Did: Hike on Rinca island, a small island with over 1,500 komodo dragons. Komodos kill buffalo, deer and other large prey with their toxic bite. Humans die in a day if bitten. Very cool to learn about this animal unique to this area and their nesting, etc.
Best Thing We Did: SCUBA here was out of this world. We did three dives and the highlights were getting to play with an octopus, observing a 10’ reef manta at a cleaning station, and our third dive with so many fish and so much beautiful coral you can’t describe it with words. We also saw turtles, sharks, huge eels, unicorn and trigger fish, a broad cuttlefish, lion fish, and so many more.
Here I am doing the underwater sign language for "manta ray" with our dive master. The video of us with the ray is like 4 minutes long so once we get it edited we'll post it!
Tastiest Thing We Did: We sampled 12 Indonesian dishes as tapas and it was really fun to try all the different flavors, textures and SPICES! All delicious.
Also, on Valentine’s Day we went to this beautiful restaurant called Bridges which overlooked the lush greenery along the river and we had a CHEESE plate and wine. I hadn’t realized how much I missed cheese until I tasted it after SIX months. Blue cheese, camembert, and two others (couldn’t understand the waiter). Oh. My. God. Yum!
Coolest thing we Learned: Indonesia has the fourth largest population in the world (250m) and the largest Muslim population in the world. It was really cool hearing the prayers (not at 4:30am but all the other times) and seeing all the little girls at school with their heads covered. We also learned that Indonesia, along with Cambodia, has some of the smallest humans. We noticed it first, then looked it up and confirmed it. Lots of ducking for Adam and all the men are shorter than Chelsea (average 5’ 2”). Having children is also super important in their culture. Everyone has kids, and it’s the son’s responsibility to take care of the parents in their old age (since insurance doesn’t exist and medical care is paid for in cash) and the daughter’s responsibility is to care for her husband.
Biggest Surprise: We went to grab lunch and ended up witnessing a royal cremation ceremony here in Ubud. Not only had we never heard of this before, we had no idea what it entailed. No better way to learn than a front seat. It was a really cool moment since we didn’t plan any of it. A good reminder that just being on this trip, being “in the world” is how you have the most incredible experiences.