Monthly Archives: December 2013

The end of another year

“Now it’s time for one last bow like all your other selves, elevens hour is over now the clock is striking twelves” ~ Doctor Who The Time of the Doctor

And like the reign of Matt Smith as The Doctor it is time for 2013 to head towards its final count down to the dawn of 2014, a new year and new beginnings as they say. Overall as much as I will say I haven’t been a fan of what 2013 brought to the table I would also be lying as in a lot of ways I am thankful for some of the things that have taken place this year. To say the year has been a bit of a roller coaster would be an understatement as far as my emotions are concerned and there were a lot of unpleasant events that took place.

I managed to get my heart broken twice, by the same person no less so I guess that is an achievement in itself.

There seemed to be a lot of negative crap around this year not only in my own life but the lives of people around me that seemed to be doing its best to bring things down, but whilst my mother may have had her brain operated on and a subsequent round of irradiation round 2 with cancer still came out with her as the one on top so positives can be born from the negatives that have arised. The happiest day and subsequent time of my life also took place this year, although ultimately as often proves to be the case with true happiness it was short lived, and whilst I do miss those days like nothing else I am incredibly thankful for the chance to actually have them and spend with someone I will likely always view as the most amazing woman in the world.

I also learnt a great deal about myself over the course of the year, we all make mistakes throughout our lives and the defining factor tends to be how we deal with them. Traditionally I have never dealt with emotions very well they could rule and ultimately tear me apart so whenever bad things tended to happen in my life I would run away from them and all that running turned me into something I wasn’t and contributed to letting go of most of the things that made me who I am and how I see/interact with the world around me and emotional turmoil is pretty much the easiest way to get me to give up on things.

I started changing things about 4 years ago in regards to my own internal issues, image and general state of apathy and self hatred/destruction that I allowed myself to get to and whilst I had understood the effects of those actions and the symptoms of the problems I never was able to work out the reason behind why I gave up in the first place and although I was no longer self loathing or destructive and regained an overall appreciation of myself and positive self image and have now dropped all the weight that I had put on putting me pretty much back where I was at the beginning of this decade I still didn’t know the original triggers for that choice only the reasons for allowing it to continue.

In September however that would change, whilst feeling pretty miserable and down trying to work out if I really was something I didn’t feel I was anymore or if I really did come across as that much of a prick to others I had a dream of a place a calling to somewhere I hadn’t really considered going before being Nepal although at the time I really couldn’t work out why and given that there was a sale to the location going on I figured I probably shouldn’t just ignore it so I booked the tickets and off I went and I am glad that I did as it was in my meditations in Pokhara and other locations that I learnt far more about myself and the original whys of my choices providing a sense of closure and understanding as well as in a way the ability to make sure it doesn’t happen again as at least it is now understood and not so much of an unknown.

I’m quirky, an odd ball and somewhat eccentric and see / believe different things to the bulk of the world and overall it does seem like I don’t really fit in but that is something that I have come to accept and am actually happy in. I am who I am, and I happen to like myself and don’t really care how the greater world perceives me if you like me great you could have someone that is a source of inspiration, humor, useless trivia and geek related references and that would be there regardless and if you don’t that’s also fine, we are all different and I wish you well but don’t try and change me. In the end I will always be guided by my two core principles Hope (in that sense I will always be an optimist, idealist and dreamer) and my main motto if it is within my ability to help; Do.

To say that reaching that point and not suppressing things or running away within myself has been easy would be lying, some days it feels like a constant struggle within to keep my state of mind to where it should be as there always seem to be trials and tribulations around me but 4 years ago I proved to myself that I could make a choice and see it through even if it didn’t go the way I originally thought and I know I can continue to do this within myself and work to be the best that I can be. This year may not have turned out how I had originally thought or hoped; It has been incredibly expensive, I both gained and lost a fiancee over the space of three months, was there as best I could be for friends in need and my mother going through round two, wrote off my car and been sicker than I have in years but the positives and lessons that I have learnt far outweigh that and to 2014 I say; Lets dance!

As we all walk forward into the new year remember that whilst you cannot control the actions of those or events around you, you can control how you deal with or how much you allow them to affect you. Walk forward into this new year and strive to be all that you can be.

Have a happy and safe new years eve everyone!

So this is Christmas

With the solstice no past and the year making its progress towards the end of 2013 and the birth of 2014 the modern frivolities of Christmas are once again upon us. This time of the year holds importance to many faiths and ways of life but there is the common themes of friendship, joy and giving (and massive commercialism these days) that make up our modern Christmas.

As we walk our path in this life we cross paths with many people, some are just fleeting encounters, some you walk with for all your paths and some however long or short it may be make a lasting impression on us. I am lucky in all senses of the world with the people that I have met throughout my life thus far and to them I say this, Have a great Christmas all, be it with friends or family we all have things that crop up and things that are not great, but if you can’t everyday at least make today a great one.

There are plenty of people that are not so lucky on this day, to those unable to be with their family as they are serving overseas, stay safe and I am sure your mates and families at home will more than make up for it upon your return; There are many sacrifices that are made but have a happy and safe day.

To those affected by situations outside of their control and today may feel like the darkest of days know that there is always hope, and no matter how bad you feel there are people out there that do care, no one should ever feel nameless or worthless we are all individuals and each of us is wonderful in our own ways.

To those that choose to spend their time alone this day I hope that however this day is spent it is a good one.

A new year is almost upon us, and a new beginning have a safe and happy merry Christmas everyone.

A rare evening out

As a general rule I don’t get out a great deal, mostly driven by the fact that food and drink prices here in Perth are not on the side of what I would consider reasonable and given that I typically can drink a reasonable amount when I am in the mood for it doing so on a regular basis would send me quite broke quite fast. Typically me being social will consist of catching up with a couple of friends at one of our places and a few drinks as it doesn’t tend to smash the wallet so much, but it also creates a situation where you don’t get to meet new people or really have a chance for greater social interaction so I think it is good to get out from time to time. After work on Friday I was wanting to go camera shopping for a waterproof camera, have decided on the Canon PowerShot D20 as I already have the Canon DSLR and it supports the Canon Hack Development Kit which will allow full manual controls as well as the ability to shoot in RAW which I have become accustomed to shooting with my 7D and at its price of $225 – $250 seemed like a good deal; It however seems like a very popular camera there are no JB Hifi, Dick Smiths with it in stock and Camera House in the city didn’t have any either so it seems like I will have to order the thing online.

The other reason for heading home via the city was I wanted to get out for a few drinks and just have some people interaction in general. Internally for me it had been a pretty rough week, usually I don’t have a great deal of trouble seeing positives in things and although I do feel sadness and loneliness on and off overall I have been doing a pretty good job of keeping my head above water and not letting these feelings drag me down but it has proven to be increasingly difficult this past week. Have been pretty burnt out, alternating between not being able to get to sleep and then sleeping for ages but in both instances the outcome was the same my resting hours plagued by nightmares and unlike usual being unable to pull myself out of them leaving my waking hours feeling, well blergh would be the best description actually. Now Christmas to me this year hasn’t really felt like a great time and it’s a time of year that can go a lot of ways depending on your situation but overall society in general it tends to be a happier time of year with people going about their business with a decent amount of good cheer around.

It was that I really needed come Friday night, and what I saw in people surprised the hell out of me.

After trying out several stores and being unable to find the camera I was after it was time to sit and think about things and indulge the old chestnut people watching, it ended up taking about half an hour to find a bench with space in the city which given how busy it was and so I sat to think about things and watch the world go by around me. For what has typically been a time of year that brings people together overall and an underlying sense of happiness seemed to be missing from the people going about around me; There seemed to be a great deal of anger and frustration going around. I saw many fights and arguments between people, and a large amount of unhappiness in general which wasn’t nice to witness; But like everything there is always some light in the darkness and there were a few genuinely happy and light spirited people about which proved enough to allow me to banish the thoughts of why do I bother back to where the belong but still they were there. Overall it really doesn’t seem like a great Christmas period for a lot of people and increasingly there is darkness and discontent creeping its way throughout the world around us and I am not sure if I want to see where things are heading. But it is surprising how fast time can disappear when you are lost in your thoughts and I had already been sitting there for a few hours when I looked at the time so it was time to have a couple of drinks and head home.

$13 for a pint, my first beer was a definite reminder of why it is I don’t go out drinking at bars very often as I know how many of them I can put away when I am in the mood to so after a couple it was 9pm and I was about ready to head home so it was off to the train station.

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Needless to say I wasn’t going to be getting home that way, the entire station was filled with people and there was no actual room to move, given that trains run half hourly at this time of night it would take many of them to clear out the volume of people that were currently on the platform and there was a constant stream of more people coming in so I decided bugger it I would just pay the $50 taxi fare home rather than deal with that. So I wandered around to a few different areas that taxis congregate in the city for just over an hour unable to find one without a fare already, so I kept wandering back to the train station 3 trains and the same sight unable to move let alone get on one so figured I would try my luck in Northbridge. Same deal, lots of taxis around but none without a fare so I figured I would wait it out and let the bulk of the people exit the city before trying again later to leave so I made my way into Universal Bar for a few more drinks.

“Surrender to the shadow, just throw yourself in” – Sarah

It’s kinda funny throughout my life even when I was actually underage and having the occasional drink in a pub I believe I can count the number of times I have been asked for ID on one hand, most people were getting carded at the door many of which were fairly obviously in their 30’s however I was just waved past them and straight in which is fairly typical, as much as I have been told I don’t look my age I guess I simply am unassuming enough to bouncers to just walk straight in. The place was well and truly packed and of the few times I have been in here it was definitely the most crowded I have ever seen it with movement throughout the premises defined by your ability to contort your body into various shapes into. There was a live band on and the place was absolutely pumping and feeling rather relaxed and proved to be more the atmosphere I was looking for and tonight would prove to give me something that I had joked about on and off for years. When I used to go out somewhat more frequently in my younger years getting hit on and my ass grabbed was not an altogether uncommon occurrence however it always proved to be the guys asking if I swung that way or the an ass grab at a bar. Now personally I don’t believe your sexuality is a choice, ok you can choose to experiment if you wish granted however what you are attracted to I don’t think you have a choice around and in my case females are what do it for me so I often joked it would be nice if just once a woman would grab my ass when I was out and tonight would prove to be the night for that wish to be granted. As a general rule of thumb I tend to be very oblivious when people are interested in me and although I do like to be somewhat flirtatious it is typically reserved for people that I know and dealing with it in reverse always takes me by surprise and I never quite know how to deal with it, even more so when I actually have no interest in it at the moment.

I also learnt that apparently there is an actor out there that must look a lot like me from a woman that rather seemed to like my ass, at one point putting her hand on it and asking me if I was in film. When I responded with umm nope she said she must have me mistaken with someone else however that did not seem to deter her advances for the remainder of the night and she was the one that gave me the line I quoted above. She appeared to be there with a guy I had first assumed to be her husband as she was older (mid 40’s at a guess) however neither had a ring so likely just a date for the evening. She was certainly rather taken with me and made a point to let me know when he had left and spend some time rubbing against my thigh when I was sitting at the bar, was rather flattering as she was quite the looker and in good shape however I really wasn’t interested and as the night went on she did not prove to be the only one with her sights set on me.

I also proved to be good for something, dealing with unwanted advances; When I was outside having a smoke there was a really drunk girl and her friend who was a very touchy feely drunk and she had her own pack of vultures hanging around that her friend that was mostly still sober was trying to get her away from that they wouldn’t have a bar of as she was definitely playing very keen. Her friend ended up dragging her behind me to get her away from them and as the guys approached I just folded my arms and smirked which proved to be the end of that and she took her friend home. Afterwards headed back in for another drink as there still wasn’t any unoccupied taxis around and played the part of the stand in boyfriend to deal with another unwanted advance. Got back to the bar and there was a woman that had been smiling at me each time we crossed paths still dealing with a guy hitting on her from when I went out and when I stood next to her to grab a drink she pointed back and went I’m with him which prompted me to turn and she lent back against my chest and told him we were together. I just smiled and said hi to him; Have never seen a guy disappear so fast in my life I had to stifle a laugh at this point. Can certainly understand why she was getting hit on though she was a rather cute blonde and a lot of guys do like that look, she wanted to dance but I declined. She was surprised that I was there alone and told me if she saw me still alone in 10 minutes she would be back so I quietly moved to a different area of the bar. A different spot, and a different woman constantly looking at me; after awhile of looking at me and smiling she got the idea that I wasn’t going to make a move and ended up hooking up with the guy that was. My first impression was this is not going to end well, and unfortunately proved to be correct as at the end of the night she was outside crying so I offered to help her get a taxi home but she wandered off on her own after thanking me.

Each time I headed outside I kept looking for a taxi as I had wanted this night to be an early one, but come closing time I still hadn’t found one so come 1am and the close of the bar it was time to wander around in search of one again. The few that I did find empty and stopped were only interested in heading north so after 3 taxi stands I decided to just give one a call and 3:30am it showed up and I was home for 4am far later than I was planning on being out but overall I did not regret it, I had fun and it was just what I needed to rest my frame of mind. If I had a different code of ethics chances are I would not have gone home alone, however if I did I wouldn’t be me; And I quite like who I am.

To do one of those mastercard ads:
Money spent on alcohol: $150
Taxi fare home: $50
Effect on ego and state of mind: Priceless

ANZ Bank – The Falcon (aka the Blind Apteryx (Kiwi))

I don’t feel the need to rant very often, and I wouldn’t say I am overly angry here just somewhat frustrated and amused at the very stark contrasts between banks.

Here is a letter of feedback I sent with my dispute form to the ANZ bank around disputed transactions on my credit card.


Hi,

Please find attached as requested the completed transaction dispute form, however I would also like to add some feedback here.

The card that has been compromised is only ever used for one thing with the exception of the time that I was in the United States and that is to pay my health insurance so when several airline tickets appear as transactions I would have thought this would raise some red flags which was not the case.

This was not picked up on at all, and it took me noticing that my credit card was over its limit for the first time and wondering how that happened to get this sorted out, at which time I called to discuss it where the card was cancelled, a new one issued and I was advised that the quickest way to have this resolved and have the funds returned was to lodge the dispute online which I was told where to find the option and then took advantage of it.

This took place on the 29th of November and I received an email advising me it was lodged and considering I had heard nothing I assumed that it was proceeding along all be it taking awhile, but when I was asked to check the balance on a savings account under my netbank I notice a secure mail there advising that I needed to complete all the same information that was done in the online form via a paper form and then send it through within a week.

This was dated the 11th of December, now it has already been over a week and I have only just noticed this, Considering a dispute notification was emailed to me when I lodged it and I selected email or mobile as my method of correspondence I would have expected to be notified other than a little email symbol in netbank, it relies on the customer using this service on a regular basis and being observant enough to notice the secure mail notification.

Now in obtaining the form for completion it advises that this will take 35 days to resolve, now this appears to be on top of the 20 days that have already elapsed, in this time my monthly credit card payment is due and a letter has been received requesting the over limit amount paid on top of the amount which were not transactions I authorised, and I have incurred an over limit charge.

And to further add to the humour of this experience, I have never used my private health insurance and the first time I go to do so it is declined, which I find is due to my monthly payment bouncing.

Now this in contrast to my experience with another financial institution. My card was copied most likely on a trip out in rural Western Australia, a week later on a Sunday I get a call at 6am waking me up asking if I was currently in Sydney and when I responded no I was told they didn’t think so but my card was being used there at various locations for several thousand dollars. I asked them what I needed to do and was advised don’t worry the transactions have already been voided and I have cancelled the card a new one should get to you in a couple of days.

Given my experience with my previous financial institution and given the fact that ANZ is currently massively advertising the falcon card protection I find this whole experience frankly laughable. I also understand there is not a great deal that you can do around this as you will be working within the confines of policy, however I hope that this feedback can be passed further up the chain at least and that you have a merry Christmas.

Regards,
Joel

Lombok – Final Thoughts

Like everything in life there is the wheel, where there is a beginning the wheel turns to come to an end and a new beginning.

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I went to Lombok without knowing what to expect, and I guess without expectations you can never be disappointed but Lombok definitely was a pleasant surprise. Given that there are now direct flights over there from here and you can pick them up on sale for next to nothing I may have found a new weekend getaway location for relaxation and unwinding. After spending almost a week there I can certainly understand why so many of the expats that I met have been or are in the process of relocating their base in Indonesia over from Bali to Lombok as it is a very different pace.

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The island may not have the same underlying sense of power that Bali can have that isles name the Isle of the Gods is certainly well earned but it has been becoming increasingly more and more diluted as more and more people head over there to see and experience it it is very sad to see. It is a completely different pace over there and if you are a party animal Ubud/Legian and Kuta over in Bali are definitely the place for you to be however if you want to see some different sights and sounds as well as just relax in a mostly untouched tropical Island I would highly recommend going over there.

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I am not sure what it is like in the peak tourist season as we were only just out of it and there was so little people around in Sengiggi at least however the Gili’s are likely to have people the bulk of the time but even there was not what I would consider crowded. Next time I definitely have to get over to the east side of the island apparently Lomboks’ Kuta has a beach just like on Gili T and great water as well and from everything I have heard the eastern side of the island is considerably less developed than the west where we were based.

Highlights:

– Not being hassled
– Mostly untouched natural surroundings
– Snorkeling in the Gili Islands
– Good value

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Lowlights (or potential):

– Shopping (Mataram city may be different but Sengiggi didn’t have a great deal of shopping opportunities which is no issue for me)
– 1 Visa on Arrival desk, recommend getting a seat towards the front of the plane

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I was very glad that I ended up deciding to go right along the road from our hotel when dad suggested it for our last morning there, walked for about an hour or so all up before breakfast and it made for some fantastic views, next time I will definitely use the DSLR. I am definitely looking forward to going back and exploring other areas of the island, however if you are not a party animal I do recommend staying on Gili T or Air but make sure you are not on the main strip as apparently they do like to party.

Monday – Marge the Rains are Ere’

We had small splattering of rain that were relatively short lived for the most part on a few of our days here however they never really interfered with doing anything; Today however would prove to be the exemption to that with a tropical downpour settling in just after breakfast and lasting the entire day.

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There was a decent amount of rain to be had over the course of today which kept us mostly indoors, well in my case mostly on the balcony watching it pour down as I have always loved storms. Had some reasonable thunder however nothing really earth shattering which was somewhat disappointed to me as there is nothing like listening to the crackle of lightning, rolling thunder as the rain falls all around you and lightning was not present at least within my field of view however it did not detract from enjoying the rain. As the day dragged on and we were getting a little peckish as we only had a light breakfast I remembered we had room service.

Club sandwich for me with a banana milkshake and fish and chips for dad nicely delivered to our room by 2 guys. 1 to carry the tray and 1 to carry the umbrellas certainly can’t ask for much more than that. I was hoping to do some writing during this time however I was enjoying watching the storm too much however I did at least pencil out around 2 chapters for a short story idea I have in my head during it so it wasn’t a total waste in that regard.

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Thankfully as it entered the evening the rain disappeared as quickly as it set in and as dad wasn’t interested in dinner I decided to head out for a massage and some dinner; I was looking forward to a full body massage to continue to work on my shoulders and neck but given that that entire region of my body was rather charbroiled and even the rubbing of my shirt was somewhat uncomfortable I went with a foot and calf reflexology massage for an hour which was incredibly relaxing and well worth it. Acceptable as a consolation prize 🙂

After the massage I was just around the corner from Mario’s and was in the mood for something light for dinner so decided to spend my last evening in the tropical paradise in there and was planning on having something local again but as the owner was Austrian (or German) there was a selection of European dishes on offer and when I spotted Goulash I had to go for it and was really glad that I did. I have had the privilege of eating a lot of amazing goulash, fried potatoes and caramelized onions but that absolutely took the cake. After dinner I spent some time chatting with the regulars that I had met over the previous few nights had learnt a great deal off them, for example rent for a house locally is between 400,000 – 700,000 ($40 – $70) a month and prostitution does exist here it just took awhile to be found and unlike their cousins over in Bali they are not what I would consider working girls, the couple I met and chatted with as it was quiet weren’t really done up in nice clothes with jewelry or makeup and I even saw an old nokia, they simply do it occasionally to pay their rent. Personally whilst I understand the economics of the situation I still cannot help but feel saddened that it has to come to that for people. The one that I was chatting with was literally brand new the friend of one of the guys I was drinking with hadn’t seen her or the woman she came in with before and all she knew of her was she had a couple of young kids.

The guy I was drinking with ended up leaving with the older one that I wasn’t chatting with and I had made perfectly clear when she chose to start talking with me that she had one chance to leave there with me and that was none. The friend of the guy I was drinking with was rather surprised probably given my age but called me a good man and I spent the evening chatting away with the younger one who didn’t seem to mind that I wouldn’t be leaving with her and seemed to just like the conversation. She had 2 daughters and was currently between jobs as the 9 month old had been sick which was what prompted her to be out that evening and her husband had run off back to Bali a few months previously leaving her with the kids, not the easiest of lives for a 23 year old. Sometimes you know when you are being bullshitted to but I didn’t get that feeling from her for the most part and had a fairly reasonable level of of confidence based on my conversation with the others before they left that she was above board.

As I was flying in the morning I wanted to stop at a few of drinks so I paid my bill and went to leave for the evening when she begged me to take her back for the evening as she didn’t have a choice as she needed the money, I told her that I understood but I was sorry I wouldn’t do it and she apologized for asking. I did however look in my wallet around how much I had left as I had to pay for the taxi and departure taxes in the morning to leave Indonesia and given I still had a reasonable amount left I ended up just giving her $50 which would cover her rent for a month. Whilst I don’t consider $50 pocket change and it is still a reasonable amount of money to me it however only represents 1 taxi ride home from the city which is rather pale in comparison and even if I was being had on a little it still represented either rent or food for her kids as based on her appearance she didn’t exactly spend a lot on herself.

She did surprise me though, she gave me her number as she wants to pay me back when I am next in Lombok. In the end I made my choice, I could have easily and somewhat justifiably taken her for the evening but that is not who I wish to be, I would rather just part ways with the cash if it is going to be used for something and get nothing out of it.

Sunday – A trip to Gili!

After the events of the previous evening it was time to part ways with Heemi this morning, we had sat down to breakfast together and dad and I had to work out what we were going to do with the day when we were presented with an offer. A couple we had met at the hotel had hired a boat and captain to head out to do some snorkeling over at the Gili islands and as much as neither of us were a big fan of boats we decided to take advantage of the offer as it gave us something different to do and they were good company (they seemed to deal ok with dad never shutting up) they were heading off just after breakfast so we parted ways with Heemi and headed off for a day of boating and swimming definitely not something you hear me say every day.

The day was looking slightly overcast but very nice out and the ocean was nice and calm, which was good as dad was worried about getting seasick and I am not a huge fan of boats to begin with but we were both comfortable on the way over. There are some huge sea turtles in that area and it was one of the attractions that they had wanted to see, on the way out we were keeping an eye on the water however for the most part they were not forthcoming however at one point I was wondering what they heck that was in the water as it was rather large, then it surfaced for a moment but was quickly gone so I only saw the one turtle hopefully next time around we can get a swarm of them and actually get some photos. 🙂

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We took the one on the left over to the islands, the Marlin a nice blue the captain was a rather nice older Indonesian guy. I think he definitely thought dad was crazy he was shaking his head and smiling at many points

The ride over from Sengiggi beach took about an hour and was pretty smooth sailing, over in the distance though there was storm clouds and a lot of mist indicating pretty much a wall of water however at least for now it was a fairly clear and sunny day. Our first stop was Gili Trawangan referred mostly as Gili T (much easier to say) where we had an hour to do some exploration. Didn’t do much island exploration here however did do a lot of ocean exploring. It was also the first place that I had seen more than a small amount of people at once; The beach however wasn’t what I would consider crowded and there was still plenty of space on the sands as well as the water for considerably more people. We rented flippers and a mask/snorkel for $4 and set about swimming and the water here was absolutely amazing!

The sands here is actually mostly pieces of coral  broken up which is kind of sad as it is probably due to how the boats come in, they don’t come all the way into shore they come up to about waist high and you jump off and walk the remaining distance to the shore and I believe that is what dregs up most of the broken fragments of coral. The ground up sections don’t have the same consistency as sand and I found it a little different getting used to walking on, thankfully there is also a reasonable amount of larger rocks to help with the footing as you move back into shore. Visibility with a mask was considerably better you can pretty much almost see forever and the sheer amount of varying fish swimming about you even close into shore was really something else especially considering I have never really had that before. From the shore it drops off at a reasonable rate but then there are 2 considerably sharper drop offs; The first one was just over my ability to stand but not by much it took me a bit longer to move deeper out however as I had never swum with fins before and they took me a bit of getting used to not using knees. Once I found my sea legs however I headed out deeper and spent most of my time hanging out near the second drop off.

The second dropoff pretty much was a huge drop off it quickly disappeared to considerably deeper however the sight here was phenomenal just after the drop off it was like watching a wall of tropical fish just happily swimming along. Dad stayed in close to the shore and both Kendall and I offered to bring him out to see it but he wouldn’t have a bar of it. At least there were lots of colourful little fishies swimming around where he was to keep him entertained and I believe it was a groper that he spent a good half an hour trying to catch, thankfully it was toying with him and he was to slow for it. It was also the first time I saw an actual use for an underwater camera as I would have loved to be able to take some snaps of the sights of the depths, I am so used to the beauty of the world above that I am feeling somewhat sheepish in not considering the beauty that can be seen below. I believe it was also the first time I had gone shirtless since I was a kid at the beach as I have always been rather self conscious in that regard.

From the people I saw on the beach everyone was rather right that I had nothing to worry about in that regard as there were plenty of people in far worse shape than me without their shirt on and I guess my constant thought that no one wants to see me without a shirt also needs to be re-evaluated as I did get many smiles from the opposite sex. However it was time to pack the fins and snorkel in and head off to the next island on the chain Gili Mono where we would be having lunch.

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The storm brewing in the distance

The storm was well and truly over the main island of Lombok on our way out to Mono and it was obvious that we would not be escaping it a bit later on however for the ride over to Gili Mono it was still smooth sailing aside from a couple of small bumps mostly caused by the wake of larger vessels. The water however at our next location was fundamentally different; When we were heading into shore we stopped much further out however it seems to be considerably shallower compared to the water around Gili T and as dad went to jump off the captain stopped him and told him to put on his thongs and after I did the same I could see why. Like Gili T there was a lot of underwater coral here however the bulk of it was rather pointy and sharp and just jumping off unprotected would have likely led to a stabbed foot something to definitely remember for the next time as you will definitely want feet protection.

Was a bit of a walk into shore which got sandier as we got closer but the water was really really odd. It wasn’t as clear as Gili T and it didn’t have anywhere near a consistent temperature with some sections normal, others warm, and others still almost boiling on the skin in small patches as we got in which continued all the way to shore; No idea what caused it but it was certainly unique. After lunch dad swam there and he said it was considerably more salty and actually burnt his eyes a little.

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Gili Mono

We came ashore at a small restaurant which was to be where we had lunch, ordered dad a club sandwich and I had a chicken noodle dish. Had been making a point of trying out different fruit drinks and we had a papaya milkshake followed by a mango milkshake which was delicious; I went a tad different and had a Singapore Sling it was nowhere near as good as the one I remember in Singapore but it was still a refreshing drink. The food here is a bit more expensive compared to the mainland but was still reasonably priced overall. As we finished our lunch however the rains set in and the captain said we would wait it out; thankfully it was not too heavy as it looked like we were just getting the tail edge of the storm so we were only delayed about half an hour before we continued on to our final stop before heading back the small island of Gili Air.

The water was slightly more choppier than earlier in the day but the design of the boat handles it well and it was still fairly smooth sailing, it is only about 1.5km between islands so we were over there pretty quick however given the time waiting out the rain on Mono we only had about 20 minutes before we had to head back over to Sengiggi so we just walked along the edge of the island. It seems that beach side is small cafes and bars and the other side of the street is hotels, dive schools and bungalows for accommodation. Of all the islands this felt the most laid back overall and there would still be plenty of choice for what you wanted to do both during the day and in the evenings. Unfortunately didn’t have the opportunity to test out the water here so not sure what it is like or if there is good snorkeling, but there is always next time.

One thing I loved about the islands is there is no motorized transportation over there it is all by foot, bicycle or horse drawn cart making the air very clean and crisp coming in off the ocean. From what I can gather they are also the party islands (first place I had seen drugs talked about so far in Lombok and it escalated quickly from weed to crystal meth) which is definitely not my thing, however I would go back to either Gili T or Gili Air to stay but would choose a place back from the party areas and spend my days snorkeling and walking around the island, I reckon a couple of laps a day would be awesome for fitness. Overall if you like beaches I think it is an awesome place and highly recommend it even if going shirtless for the first time in years left only the area covered with shorts unburnt, my back and shoulders were the worst casualties and are still peeling now at least they don’t hurt any more though aside from occasional itching.

Still well worth it!

I hope this does get easier

Been spending the evening reading a bit of poetry trying to get a better understanding of various techniques, structures, styles and how rhyming is used as I hadn’t really done anything with it since high school and I find at least attempting even if at the moment it does seem like a butchery of the genre at least to myself it does help in trying to find an outlet for that which is held within. Read a few poems by E E Cummings, whilst I definitely wouldn’t call him a traditionalist in any sense of the word. The style whilst to me there doesn’t really seem to be one he does seem to tie things together somewhat nicely with the various pieces.

I thought I had heard of him somewhere before, and sadly I remembered.


I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart) I am never without it (anywhere I go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)

I fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) I want no world (for beautiful, you are my world, my true) and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you.

Here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart.

I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)

~ E. E. Cummings ~


“Words have the power to both destroy and heal. When words are both true and kind, they can change our world” – Gautama Buddha

When this was first shared with me it made me feel absolutely amazing, but now, now it cuts into my soul as deep and true as an intricately folded ancient katana. I spent the better half of the last decade playing something that I was not allowing all that I loved to become shattered and broken within, I’ll be damned if I repeat the same mistakes again so dear gods I hope this gets easier as time goes on because whilst I can honestly say I am not miserable or unhappy overall I can say that it takes a lot to keep my mental state drifting that way and barely going a week between feeling like this doesn’t make matters any easier.

I originally started this blog as a means to become less introverted, it’s first few years of existence did not see much fruition in that regard but I have definitely been trying this last year to get things out; Be they things I find interesting, things I have been thinking about or have experienced or even my attempts at writing.

Sorry for the occasional ick emotional state posts, this is my attempt at not keeping things bottled up so much and I do try to keep the ratio favored to the other side of the coin. I have spent so long not liking myself, and then finally coming to terms with myself and what I wanted and needed out of life but still making the decision to keep it hidden away from a select few that in a sense I wasn’t truly living or being true to myself; I can say with absolute certainty that I am not ashamed of who I am, nor will I keep the things I think about bottled away inside.

I’m odd; And different. In a lot of ways I do not conform to social norms or expectations, and the last decade was all about that for the most part this one I am simply me, I don’t expect everyone to like or understand that and I am ok with that.

I hope that everyone has had a great weekend.

Saturday – A Bad Day Internally

One thing I have noticed during my time in Lombok, I didn’t really get a lot of sleep there. My bed times were highly variable granted but I never really slept through to a morning after heading off to bed typically only a few hour long stints and occasionally another one earlier in the morning before sunrise however overall my periods of sleep were somewhat limited however thankfully they did not leave me feeling tired and I could get through whatever the days were bringing without any issues. The room has coffee making facilities so I made a drink and sat outside to enjoy the beginning of the morning before breakfast started and we headed down there.

It was quiet with just the sounds of nature around at the time and I felt completely relaxed and content just basking in the beauty of the sunrise and the island greeting the new day looking forward to what the day would bring and as I sat there gazing up the jungle covered hill next to where we were staying a thought popped into my head which unfortunately proved to set my mood for the remainder of the day and sadly it was not a pleasant one; *sighs* man, I think she would really love it here.

That one simple little thought left me feeling brooding and miserable for the entire day.

But as everyone was starting to get up and the day began for the world anew, those thoughts and feelings had to be buried lest I get no enjoyment out of the day. The day followed much the same pattern as the previous days; We had breakfast together kicking back and chatting about the differences between Lombok and Bali before setting out for a wander around. In some ways it was kind of pointless as we covered the same ground each day and not a great deal changes but it was good to get out of the hotel and wander around the tropical clean air and stretch the legs.

After about an hour and a half we dropped dad back off at the hotel and Heemi and I then wandered off to get a massage. We ended up deciding on a salon behind a warung (local eatery) called Orchid spa. Was a reasonable large setup with a lot of reflexology stations at the front to sit down and have your feet and legs worked on, some rooms at the back for the cream baths and such and a mezzanine above with the massage tables. We ended up deciding on a 2 hour full body massage and headed upstairs to the massage tables. I got my legs bent into various positions that they really were not used to, and that would be an understatement to say the least. When the massage began the small girl asked what strength so I figured I would go for strong… Throughout the entire experience the predominant thought that occupied my mind was “Sweet mother of god, how can a woman that small have hands with a grip that strong”?! At points it did hurt a reasonable amount; But as they say no pain no gain. Left there feeling considerably more relaxed with the ache in my calves worked out nicely.

Settled the bill for the massage 60,000 for 2 hours at a place that well equipped was amazing and the masseuses they hire are definitely well trained, although I will admit I am still yet to find a massage technique that is able to completely loosen my shoulders and neck typically only those who can work with their/my own energy tend to have much luck and it has only been a couple of points in my life that I have ever been completed de-knotted but I was certainly feeling more relaxed in that department than when I went in and my calves were in awesome shape. Another thing I like about massage places here compared to Bali, you walk in and ask for a massage you know what you are getting and don’t have to turn down additional services, however I am certain that such places do exist for those who go looking but when I go to a place it is not that muscle I am seeking having work done on.

 

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When we finished up with our massage it was raining outside, whilst not a massive downpour it was coming down at a reasonable rate. Thankfully right outside was the little warung that we walked past so we ducked straight in there and decided to have some lunch. They did freshly made fruit drinks for less than $2 and had a reasonable menu of basic western food and the local fare which I tend to eat whilst overseas so I ordered a nasi goreng which seems to be my staple dish having it at least one meal a day most days.  The food took a little while to prepare but was of good quality and serving sides, the nasi goreng was decent at $2.50 definitely not the best that I have had during my stay here it certainly wasn’t crap either!

 

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After about an hour it had died down to a small drizzle so we wandered back to the hotel to meet up with dad. I then spent about an hour or so getting him up to date on the ongoing cricket game and getting the stats for him to enter into his book which saw us into late afternoon. As dad had skipped lunch due to the rain we decided on having an early dinner so it was out for a light dinner, we were originally planning on going to The Office again however ended up going to the place pretty much next door at the back of the Art Market called De Quake. The food here was slightly more expensive ($5 – $8) but they had a reasonable menu even if I did have to change my order as they no longer had salad. Seems like a slightly more upmarket place with an upstairs area, place for live music and cushions on the ground in some sections for a relaxed and intimate dining experience, and from Heemi’s report they know how to cook steak.

We chose a table at the back that looked out over the water and quietly sipped on fruit milkshakes and juices whilst we waited for our dinner. Took a bit but overall I think it was worth the wait and for a group I think this is definitely a good place to kick back and watch the sunset over a good meal. As it was his last evening here Heemi and I decided to head out for a few celebratory drinks so we parted ways with dad at the entrance to the Art Market a walk he was now rather familiar with and that I didn’t feel bad leaving him to do as the hotel was just around the corner. In the end we ended up back at the bar we had tried out the previous night, reasonably quiet with a pool table on one side at the back and a small dance floor which did not seem to get a great deal of use during our time there. In the end though you can’t keep something buried forever.

I am sorry that my slightly dour mood was a bit of a let down for your final night there my friend. I can say however that upon reflection my choice to remain alone is definitely not one of penance. Do I wish things turned out differently, of course I do. I however am not totally responsible for how they turned out a lot of the time I never felt like an important part or someone she wanted in her life and her actions certainly never helped in that regard and in the end I think she was scared.

I can say however that it is hard to want something for nearly half of your life, have it and find that it is absolutely amazing and then just walk away feeling you can do it again with another. Once upon a time I would have thought that I deserved what I got, or deserved to be alone but I have not been that person for some time now. I deserve a lot better, I also know that I can get a lot better however I also know that for that level of a relationship you have to be able to give yourself to another completely and I know right now it is not something that I can do, part of me doesn’t ever want to either which doesn’t help.

I had made the choice 4 years ago to wait and see what happened and didn’t date throughout that period, I have my answer now and for that I am happy that I do have closure in a sense even if the outcome does hurt and right now the choice I make is to be alone. There is a small part of me that wonders if it is the old you deserve it side showing it’s ugly head again but I can say I am not wallowing in the darkness that ruled me the last time around, nor do I actually think I deserve it; I think it is rational and logical as right now even if I wanted to looking at getting into a relationship with anyone would be a fundamentally bad idea and I have never really been one for casual dating.

I am sorry we called the night early on the back of that, but I did appreciate your conversation and my apologies for my mood on your last evening in the tropical island paradise.

Friday – A Lazy Day

Friday was a very lazy day, not that there is nothing wrong with that we were on holiday after all and that was the purpose of this trip as well as to unwind. Had breakfast down at the buffet in the morning whilst we were working out what we wanted to do for the day which ended up being not a great deal. After breakfast we headed down for a walk along the beach to see how the day changes it and the answer to that was a lot apparently. Walked down to the Art Market to gain access to the beach and was once again struck with the distinct lack of people here, for Indonesia it is simply mind boggling. A few horse and cart drivers got our attention on the walk down but were no trouble saying no with a smile was enough and they wished us a good day and we continued on our way to the beach. Talk about a fundamental difference! I think the rubbish that is brought in is mostly tidal based brought in from the other islands as this morning the beach was nice and clean and the waters for the most part clear a big difference compared to yesterday afternoon that’s for sure.
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Another thing that is a massive contrast is the overall lack of development beach side which I  personally think is a good thing. A lot of the beaches in Bali for example are swarming with people and stalls of varying descriptions; You have the older massage ladies for a beach side massage, the ice cream and drink mobile vendors,  the vendors selling varying handicrafts, children selling bracelets and nick knacks, small stalls/food carts and the beggars. It’s pretty much impossible to go more than 10-20m and not get asked for something. Nothing like that here which is a great change. Near the entrance there is a tour booming place with a couple of people around it with necklaces and such and to the left there are a couple of tables set up selling drinks and fruit/small snacks and such but for the most part that is it, you can walk along the beach without anyone bothering you; On the path you can go hundreds of meters without anyone and then the occasional necklace vendor but it is all stress and hassle free. This time we went all the way to the point of the bay which appears to be the back of a resort much like the other end, at the exit the is a couple of guys selling shirts and jewelry and a couple massage women but no hassle and certainly not crowded.
After that it was time to circle back and see what the main street side has to offer, we found a lane leading back up to the main street and headed up it. The beginning section seemed to be more of a local market sort of deal which understandably had more people bit overall was still rather quiet.  After that is the resort on the point to the right and a bunch of open space before some massage places and what looked like places that were once night clubs but did not really take off. At the main street corner it looked like we were in the main night entertainment section of town worth a few bars and more up market places to eat and kick back but still not what I would consider shopping, is not really a great deal of that in Sengiggi but we did pass a surf and another clothing “normal” store on the way back to the hotel. Dad was ready to read and have a nap by this point as we had been out for a few hours and it was heading into the hottest part of the day so I left him back at the hotel and headed back out to follow the same route to try out a massage.
Picked a place on the lane leading up from the beach and went in for a full body massage for 2 hours for 120,000 which was reasonable, whilst not the first massage I have had to get completely naked for it still does leave me feeling somewhat awkward but did not prove to be an issue. The massage wasn’t bad but not really good enough to resolve the tension in my shoulders.  There was a little place next door, that was an art gallery, bar and restaurant all in one and I still had time before we had scheduled to meet up so I decided to stop in for a few beers. 30,000 ($3) for a large bottle of Bintang and a glass is a good deal in my book so I ended up staying for a couple and got chatting with a woman who had just moved over from Bali. Of all the expats I am meeting over here a lot of them seem to be long term residents to Indonesia but are changing their locale from Bali over to Lombok and seeing myself how Bali has been changing over the last few years personally I can’t blame them. The special Nasi Goreng that she had looked absolutely amazing so I had decided that I would bring the others back here for dinner and after 3 big beers it was getting close to the meetup time so it was time to meet up with the others. No disrespect to the old boy but he isn’t as fit as he pumps himself up to be and the walk back certainly went by a lot quicker.
Met up with the others and told them about the little place that I had found on the lane and they seemed keen so we headed back on down that way; One thing I do love when I travel I definitely get a lot of walking in, whilst I was stateside I lost a reasonable amount of weight on both of my trips there this year. My last 2 even with the crazy amount I did in Nepal and the reasonable amount in Lombok I stayed exactly the same weight before and after trouble with losing a large amount it gets harder as you move forever downwards towards your goal the plus side is even with all the foods I was trying I didn’t put on anything so that is a positive. We got back there and the others present when I first left were no longer there so it was just us. The place is owned by Bang Bang a local, he does all the cooking as well as all the painting and there must have been hundreds of works in there from landscapes, features and portraits and all were amazingly well done and very beautiful in my limited understanding and appreciation of art; From discussions with him his works are displayed in galleries in Bali, Jakarta and as far away as Singapore which was great to hear as it was well deserved. Had a flashback to Nepal whilst here with a power cut their generator had died a couple of days earlier and someone still had not come to repair it so we had our dinner and drinks by torch and candlelight making it a somewhat unique experience. The special Nasi Goreng that I had seen earlier met, exceeded and pretty much blew my expectations out of the water it was the most amazing that I have ever tasted and would go back again if just for that. Have to be careful with ordering for dad so I chose a chicken and vegetable soup thinking it was the safest bet unfortunately it came with half a chili used in its preparation so he couldn’t eat it. Bang Bang was devastated and you can really tell that he cares about what he makes and the effort he puts in based on the reaction he had; Dad wasn’t overly hungry though so he skipped on having it remade and as I was absolutely full from my meal Heemi demolished it and it was apparently rather good.
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We had great conversation on a variety of topics that night in a relaxed and laid back atmosphere and I am glad that I can easily remember where to find this place as it is one that I will be going back to again for sure. But as it was getting late for the old boy it was time to head back to the hotel for him and as the night for us was still young it was time to check out a bar, we got back to the main street and walked down as far as the Art Market being just around the corner from the hotel we parted ways and then headed back up the way that we were to find a place for a quiet drink. Just past where we were was a few restaurants and pubs and after one really packed one Happy Cafe about 2 doors down we found Mario’s which was to become a bar I would spend the next few evenings in. I will write further on Mario’s later as I spent a lot of time there myself but we spent the remainder of the night there pretty much until they closed quietly sipping on bourbon and cokes and left with a bar bill the equivalent of only a couple of drinks in Perth.
All in all the day was rather lazy, but hey we were on holiday afterall and I thought it was a great day!