Monday, September 22, 2014

Another vacation?

Climbing rocks to make his mom
'freak out'
Most people think of our lifestyle as a constant vacation - beaches, cocktails, adventures - and I can see how they think that when our blog is really the only view into our lives they have.  But our blog for us, is like going to a family reunion and telling people about your kids, job, life, etc.  You tell the things they might be interested in and you try to show your family in the best of light.  While I do occasionally tell some embarrassing stories and have been known to go on a rant, most of the time, I'm just trying to keep the family up to date on the fun things we get to do.  Our normal life includes school (complete with the same complaining 'normal' kids do), dishes, laundry, cooking, grocery shopping, fixing things, cleaning, exercising, etc.  Normal stuff.  All without air condition, 100 miles away from the equator. When we stay in one place for a while, like we've done in Kuching, these things get to be more mundane than normal.  This explains why the sudden onset of trips for us like the Mulu Caves and Jakarta.

Last week we took a mini-vacation (although Jake would disagree - he had a complete week of school) and left the dock to go to some islands around here to celebrate Jake's birthday.  He was able to run around on the beaches, have bonfires and actually get to swim in waters free of crocodiles!  One of the islands we went to is a marine protected area...specifically protecting turtles.  There are rangers there that patrol the beach every night looking for turtles laying their eggs.  They tag the turtles, then dig up their eggs and move them to a protected hatchery. When the eggs hatch, they release the turtles back into the water.  Jake found a nest full of eggs and ran to get the rangers, thinking they had missed one.  It turns out, this turtle laid its eggs below the high tide mark and they basically drowned.  It also looked like they hadn't been fertilized, according to the experts.  So the rangers let Jake dig them up and get a hands on experience without harming anything.  They said the turtles lay an average of 80 eggs at a time.  This nest had 107!

Birthday dinner - gnocchi with shrimp and blue cheese sauce.

An unexpected trip for me back to the states really paid off
for Jake...birthday loot!

The requested birthday "cake" - homemade pumpkin pie (as
in from a real pumpkin)....I swear I thought I was cooking
for Thanksgiving.

River dolphins!

Jake, trying to chisel out some 'samples' for later research.

Our final 'break' (for a while) from real life comes this week in the form of an Outback Safari in Australia!  We are super excited and a bit nervous if I'm honest.  It's a camping trip in Central Australia.    We've paid thousands of dollars to sleep under the stars (again, no air conditioning...when we will think these things through?)...I'll let you know when we get back if that was a good idea or not.  We're heading out of here with a positive attitude and lots of bug spray.  Jake says the only reason he came sailing with us was to go to Australia and see a kangaroo (yeah, he actually said that), in order to keep the mutiny down, off we go.  Stand by...there's bound to be a good story or two coming out of this.

Watching some longboat races on the Kuching waterfront
with our friends Lee and Richard. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

More exploring in Borneo

Anytime we spend a long time in one place, things start to get a little like ground hog day.  This past week, we decided to spice it up a bit and rent a car.  For a pretty pricey 70 Ringgit/day (about $23 US) we got ourselves the worst rental car we’ve ever had.  It’s a shoebox with 4 bald tires, a broken speedometer and gas gage.  The passenger window won’t roll down and it takes at least 4 tries to crank it up.  The latest issue with it is that somehow it’s gotten infested with ants.  But that just gives Jake something to do while we drive around.

Our first stop was Matang Nat’l Park and the rehabilitation center.  Andy and Jake had already been there, but I was dying to see the Orangutans and I wasn’t disappointed.  We saw an adult teaching a baby how to climb a tree (part of their “school”) and then we saw two babies playing with a sheet while the mama watched.  They were pulling it up over their heads, rolling around and wrestling with each other.  Occasionally, the mama would grab the sheet and put it over her head.  Very cute to watch.  The funniest part of the day however, was when the “bad monkey,” as Jake liked to call him, threw poo at Andy.  Technically, I guess he threw poo at all of us, but Andy was lucky enough to get hit….twice.  The monkey was quite frisky and didn’t stop with the poo.  He threw banana peels, watermelon rinds, mango skins and papaya….all at Andy.  Jake and I got a big kick out of that.

The next day we decided to head out to Bako National Park and go for a hike to try and see the Proboscis Monkeys.  We underestimated the terrain and found our flip-flops to be a bit of a hindrance, but we managed.  Unfortunately, we didn’t see any monkeys, but we did see a snake and a bearded hog.  The hog was about the funniest looking thing we’ve seen yet.  It has this huge long snout (with a beard), then it’s eyes are about halfway down, then the forehead just keeps going.  Add to that, it has really long legs...not very pig-like.

These naughty little monkeys like to steal
your snacks.  

He still fits on my lap...almost :(
Some other ways we’ve tried to beat the ground hog day feeling…we saw a local ballet depicting one of the Iban legends from the jungle, we’ve taken to having nerf gun wars at the marina when all the workers go home, and we’ve spent a lot of time with our friends Richard and Lee on s/v Before.  Jake has even taken up jogging in the mornings with me and we’ve managed to convince Andy to join us as well.  I can’t lay up in bed when I have a little guy wiggling my toes asking me to go run with him….the best motivator.

This weekend we’re flying to Jakarta to see an old friend of Andy’s and relax a bit (all this fun is tiring).  It’s serving a dual purpose in as much as Jake and Andy need to renew their visa’s for Malaysia as well.   When we come back, the most exciting thing of all…Jake turns 9!