Sunday, April 23, 2017

Photos/Video - No Keyboard

Enjoying amazing time with Todd but won't be blogging because my iPad keyboard failed. Too difficult to type blog entries on iPad screen keyboard. Therefore, this blog will be told by photos only - posted to this album link:

The linked album will be updated regularly - probably daily - so check back for updates - same link.

Update May 8, 2017:  Just did a short video of some of the diving shots.  Definitely a learning curve to taking good diving shots with the tiny GoPro Session.  Check out this less than 2 minute video:

Update May 22, 2017:  Just finished a short video of the spearfishing of an octopus while Todd and I were with our friends:  . Just before it was taken to the boat, the video captures the inking

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Adventure Gets Underway Getting to Bali

I've often said that most folks, when asking about my adventures, are most interested in things that go wrong and in that regard the start of this adventure was more adventurous than I prefer:  The Ventura Shuttle from Ventura to LAX raced the 30-something passenger van down Highway 1 like he was trying to escape from a chase -- throwing us from side to side and squealing the tires.  About the time I decided I'd had enough and was going to speak up, we were close to getting to the end of this "thrill" ride -- so I disembarked with a commitment to myself to spend some time both letter writing and making Trip Advisor and Yelp reviews.  Not that it will do any good but unfortunately for the driver, I like to write.  In addition, the experience will encourage me when planning for future trips to, when possible, use Amtrak/Metrolink and the LAX FlyAWay bus. When faced with the same trek in the future, I'll arrive prepared to use my phone video to capture and report the crazy-ass shuttle driver who wasted lots of time loading 19 prepaid passengers at a snail's pace and in passing out promotional pens, luggage tags and business cards.  Somehow the business hasn't gotten the message that what really earns repeat business is good customer service and comfort, not promotional knick-knacks.  

Now for the good (pessimists among you can skip the rest of this posting!).  I was delighted to connect with Todd at the International terminal as prearranged and begin the brothers' adventure.  And with a little good luck on timing, we were able to access a nearby lounge (a benefit of some legal credit card "hacking" l will  post about another time) and enjoy free beers, snacks, and comfort, to toast the start of this "Wild Idea" trip.

Given my enjoyment of easy access to toilets by aisle seating, I booked adjacent aisle seats -- but good luck was with us as they closed the aircraft door with the middle 4 seats to myself allowing us to take the center section aisle seats with two empty seats between us.  The adequate knee room seating, meals, entertainment system, and attendants left us impressed with China Airlines on the very new Boeing 777.  We each managed a few hours of sleep on the 14 hour flight.  In our 3+ hour layover in Taipei we enjoyed another airline luxury lounge with lots of free food and drink again courtesy of the same credit card promotional benefit mentioned above.

The 5 hour flight from Taipei put us back on another beautiful China Airlines 777 where we had adjacent aisle seats and enjoyed the same great amenities.  I am writing this as we prepare to land in Bali.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

A "Wild Idea" Begins This Next Bali Adventure

Summary:  This blog has been started to try to capture and share an adventure to Bali, Indonesia, with my brother Todd set for April 17 to May 3, 2017.

Background:  In October 2015, I embarked on my first ever trip to Bali -- that solo adventure (including first ever SCUBA diving) and the resulting Bali friendships inspired a second solo trip in October 2016 which I also loved.  I had just returned from that second trip, and had already booked a third trip - 3 weeks with Dana in December 2016 - when I decided I wanted to return again in the spring 2017. (Blogs from those prior trips are here: October 2015, October 2016, December 2016.)

Now, in preparing for these Bali trips and my first ever SCUBA diving, my brother Todd, a very experienced SCUBA diver, had been superbly helpful.  So in mid-October 2016, I sent an email to Todd with the subject line: "Wild Idea" and inquired as to whether he might ever be interested in traveling to Bali/SE Asia with me to SCUBA -- and within a few weeks, we had coordinated plans and booked flights.  This 6-month lead time was perfect for finding affordable airfares that fit within my "wanderlusting cheaply" interests -- and for $600 each (including insurance) we confirmed plans to fly on China Airlines (wikipedia here: largest carrier of the Republic of Taiwan with 12,000+ employees - not to be confused with Air China).  This adventure with Todd begins the evening of April 17, 2017 when we head to LAX to catch a 1:10am flight (on the 18th) to Bali with a change of planes in Taipei.

As always, I am not sure how much I will blog but my plan is to at least include photo links here.