Monday, September 28, 2009

Vacation in Bali

Before the Edul Fitri holidays, I ended up teaching only one class and then I left for a week of vacation in Bali with other English Language Fellows in Indonesia - not a bad teaching to vacation ratio, eh? At first it felt sort of ridiculous to be leaving for vacation after teaching only one class, but adjusting to life in Gorontalo has not been easy and I had been looking forward to this vacation in Bali for many reasons: to have a chance to speak English with other Americans, to share stories about the frustrations of our new lives in Indonesia, to strengthen new friendships with the other ELFs (who are proving to be an amazing support system), to sip cocktails at sunset, to take hot showers, to have the freedom to wear dresses that reveal my shoulders and legs and to escape the incessant cries of “Hello, Mrs!”, to name just a few.

All these wonderful things happened on the trip, plus a few not so wonderful things. For instance, the first morning in Canggu we were all jolted awake early in the morning by a 5.8 earthquake. We were all fine but it was still a bit startling. Later that same day, I discovered that my year-old digital underwater camera had water damage and was unusable. Oh, the horrible irony of being in a beautiful place such as Bali without a camera! Finally, on day 3 I was attacked by a swarm of sand flies and/or jellyfish while getting out of the water, had an allergic reaction on the back of my left knee and was covered with itchy red welts for the rest of the trip. A doctor in Padang Bai gave me some strong antihistamine pills and the leg seems to be doing better now.

All that aside, I had a fabulous time in Bali and one of the greatest things about the trip was that I got to go diving in Indonesia for the first time. I have been in love with tropical oceans ever since I was a little girl reading Jacques Cousteau books at our beach house on Long Island. So, to finally put on a BCV, regulator and weight belt in warm, tropical waters and to sink fifteen meters below the surface to see the amazing corals and fishes that I had read about was a childhood dream come true. Off Pulau Menjangan in northwest Bali there was a large coral wall where I saw a giant clam, coral fans, clown fish and anemones, orange anemonefish, angelfish, butterflyfish, coralfish, and all sorts of other rainbowy, shimmery and striped fishes that I can’t even identify. It was beautiful. A few days later I went to Manta Point off Nusa Penida in eastern Bali where I got to dive with giant manta rays. They were absolutely breathtaking. These huge giant dark shapes would slowly appear out of the deep blue depths and gently flap up and down as they swam around us. Mesmerizing.

(Photo Credit: Markus Schmid)

I am hooked on diving. I’ve only done these three dives since getting my Open Water certification, but I know I’ll be back for more. There’s the majestic beauty of the underwater life, the exhilaration of heading out to sea in the dive boat, the satisfaction of a day well spent and the warm camaraderie of fellow divers from all over the world that makes me know that diving is going to become an important part of my life. I’m excited to take the Advanced course sometime soon and to check out the local diving in Gorontalo, the Togean Islands, and around Bunaken off Manado in north Sulawesi.

Here's a picture of me in my element:

(Photo Credit: Markus Schmid)

And here I am post dive and deliriously happy:

(Photo Credit: Markus Schmid)

And here's the whole group of us on the dive boat:

(Photo credit: Stephanie Krommenacker)

Last but not least, my sister, who is a reporter for a local paper back home, interviewed a woman this past summer for an article on her husband who had recently passed away. They were very into diving and had traveled the world together. At the end of the interview, the woman disclosed this piece of advice to my sister, “Now, I don’t know whether you’re married or single or what your status is, but you’ll meet the nicest guys on scuba trips.”


  1. Danna, I'm so glad you enjoyed Bali and got to go diving! And the quote ~ hahaha. You'd never believe it, but ever since we went to Dutch Springs, I've had so many dreams about going scuba diving. It's sort of extra scary to dream about diving when I haven't been yet so I don't actually know how to do it, but I've been all right so far. :-) Wait til I tell you about the latest dream!

    Good luck with your classes! Miss you!


  2. Sooo, did you meet any nice guys of note on this particular trip?

  3. Robin, yes! My dive buddy was a cute guy from Basel, Switzerland of all places. But alas, he's taken and lives in Switzerland. He did send me some nice pictures from our dive though that I hope to post soon.