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The 12 Days of Christmas in Flores

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

“On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…”

12 Squatters squatting
11 rice paddies growing
10 flying bats
9 menstruating goats
8 scooters swerving
7 samabals burning
6 roosters crowing
5 Laaaarge Bintaaaaang
4 mie goreng
3 long-tailed Macaques
2 civet coffees
And a chicken in a maaango treeeeeee


Things I Think About during Endless Bus Rides

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Things I Think About during Endless Bus Rides – by Mel

1. Have not had liquids in 7 hours. Am I dehydrated? Must avoid peeing in the roadside squat toilets at all costs.
2. Is my Imodium working? If it isn’t, how will I manage this in the jungle? Did I remember to bring toilet paper?
3. Wonder if that mosquito that just bit me was carrying malaria. Are my drugs working? How will I know if they aren’t?
4. Wonder what Brella is doing right now. Wonder if anyone on this bus wants to hear about my dog.
5. Why are there no monkeys? Brendan promised me there would be monkeys in Indonesia.
6. How did this road trip seem like a good idea? Why does He need to earn these local travel Badges of Honour? Who is He trying to impress?
7. Hmmm. I’m definitely losing weight. Excellent. Will be able to justify the triple pork poutine when I get back. Mmmm….pork ribs…bacon…This is cheaper than a personal trainer!
8. God my ass hurts. I wonder how much these bus rides will set me back in my recovery.
9. I think Brella would be jealous of Indonesian dogs and their freedom. Is that dog sleeping in the middle of the road?
10. Tired of pretending to sleep. But it’s this or listen to Brendan go on about the coffee plantations and coconut trees. Does he ever stop talking?

flat tire

Things I Think About during Endless Bus Rides – by Brendan

1. Why is my leg so swollen? Why is that bug bite still oozing?
2. How many more excuses will Mel find to bring our dog into the conversation? People are starting to look at her funny.
3. I’m so glad Mel is having this great local experience. I’m sure she’ll be totally converted to hard-core travel now. India and the ‘Stans, here we come!
4. Hmmm. I’m definitely gaining weight. Wonder if I’ll have to eat Mel’s lunch again. Mmmm..satay…beef rendang…
5. God I wish she’d stop talking about her ass.
6. Did we just hit a dog?????
7. Look at all the coffee plantations – are those robusta or arabica? I wonder if Mel wants to know how they are pollinated.
8. I wonder if Mel ate something bad, she looks like she’s about to projectile vomit.
9. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen her pee in 2 days. I wonder which will last longer, her stubbornness waiting for an “acceptable” toilet or her bladder snapping like a water balloon.
10. Glad my Indonesian accent is so fluent, otherwise no one would understand us. Must practice under my breath. “Jakarta” “Jakarta” “apa kabarrrr…”. Thanks Dad, for my International Accent.

Selamat Hari Natal (a.k.a. Merry Christmas!)

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009
flores-day-5-bajawa-540.jpg Our first married Christmas wasn’t really the way we imagined it would be. There was no ‘First Christmas’ ornament for the tree. No family gathered ‘round drinking eggnog. No Christmas carolling or turkey dinner or gifts. It ... [Continue reading this entry]

Goodbye Luxury, Welcome to the Real Indonesia

Monday, December 28th, 2009
As much as we enjoy living the luxurious side of life, of course we need to balance that with a little reality. mission toilet Welcome to Reality. We are spending the next week on the island of Flores – a ... [Continue reading this entry]

Brought to you by The Weather Channel

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009
We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog to bring you an important weather advisory. Sorry for those of you reading this from Canada (since we’ve been watching you all gripe on Facebook about how cold the weather is), but it's time for ... [Continue reading this entry]

When at a New Age Zen Yoga Resort, do as the New Age Zen Yoga Folks Do

Monday, December 21st, 2009
Desa Seni Woodie guy Here at Desa Seni, the focus is on healing, healthy living and spiritual well-being. Below is the Brel take on all this touchy-feely stuff. Ohmmmmmmm… In preparation for our week-long yoga ... [Continue reading this entry]

Desa Seni: A Village Resort

Sunday, December 20th, 2009


After our luxurious transition to Indonesia, we now find ourselves at Desa Seni, a reproduction of an Indonesian village. Our village house, aka Rumah Tinggal, was imported from central Java and ... [Continue reading this entry]

Selamat datang to Bali!

Saturday, December 19th, 2009
Balinese girlsWelcome to Bali! Dear Readers, we hope you are enjoying this blog and will enjoy our stories of Bali. We should warn you now though, this blog will likely have no end. We are ... [Continue reading this entry]

Jakarta and a Shout-out to Brella!

Friday, December 18th, 2009
Jakarta. Massive. Dirty. But no bombs on the day we were there. Enough said. Moving on to Bali. Brella! As we transitioned from Japan to Indonesia, we got the news that our poor pup Brella has been ... [Continue reading this entry]

A visual goodbye to Japan

Friday, December 18th, 2009
The Dancing Elvises

Shibuya1  Shibuya2 Shibuya3 Harajuku1 Harajuku2 ... [Continue reading this entry]

Final Thoughts: Tokyo

Friday, December 18th, 2009
 tokyo-day-2-3-176.jpg By The Numbers • Pounds lost/gained: Mel -5, Brendan +5 • Trains taken: 40+ • Number of times Brendan had to eat a second of third mean because Mel didn’t like what she’d ordered: almost every meal • Number of Japanese words Mel ... [Continue reading this entry]

The Randomness Continues

Thursday, December 17th, 2009
There’s so much to see in Tokyo that in seven days you can’t even scratch the surface, let alone accurately blog about it. Our approach to Tokyo has been very anti-Brel: long days of walking and exploring while trying to ... [Continue reading this entry]

“Shut your shabu-shabu hole” and other things overhead on a night of nomi hodai

Sunday, December 13th, 2009
tokyo-day-2-3-030.jpg  tokyo-day-2-3-031.jpgAs most of you know, Brendan lived and worked in Japan for nearly 4 years. Some of his fellow teachers have since made this their permanent ... [Continue reading this entry]

More Random Tokyo Experiences

Sunday, December 13th, 2009
Tokyo is so overwhelming, that I'm having a hard time organizing my thoughts for the blog. And I've had to start carrying a notebook so that I don't forget any of it. Ryokan[Continue reading this entry]

Folks, I couldn’t make this up if I tried…

Friday, December 11th, 2009
As seen on last night's dinner menu:
  • Fried Spam cutlet (Spam has a cutlet?)
  • Fried edible frog (as opposed to the poisonous dart frog?)
  • Cheese stuffed bamboo shaped fish deep fried with seaweed and covered in Korean roe sauce
  • Pig tongue and water spinach ... [Continue reading this entry]

Random Tokyo Observations

Friday, December 11th, 2009
I guess people really can get used to anything. I'm pleased to report that my anxiety in Tokyo is quickly being replaced by awe and fascination, to the point where I kind of regret that last blog post. Today, the ... [Continue reading this entry]

The ‘MAS’ – a New Ranking Scale

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009
As we wake up on Day 2, it's become painfully obvious that we need a new ranking scale for Tokyo - the Mel Anxiety Scale (MAS). Based on a scale of 1 to 100, where 50 is "Get me Atavan ... [Continue reading this entry]

Tokyo: a New Random Factor Scale Required

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009
For those of you who followed our blog last year, you might remember the RF scale - a scale of 1 to 10 that helped us rank the randomness of our adventures. In just a few hours off the plane, ... [Continue reading this entry]

On the road again!

Monday, December 7th, 2009
Well it's been 18 months since our first big adventure ended prematurely, and a lot has happened since. We're married now, and we are the proud parents of a one-year old (ok, a dog named Brella, who will undoubtedly make ... [Continue reading this entry]

A Little Brel Catch-up

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009
Brel Engagement Party 121 Ok, this is Brendan here. My voice was seldom heard in past blogs as it always seemed I had more work-related writing to ... [Continue reading this entry]