Indonesia Jan 2015

Spending 24 hours on a plane isn’t my idea of fun but the experience of being somewhere new and unique always makes it worthwhile. Traveling to Singapore after the AirAsia accident has me wondering “what am I doing” but I trust God will continue to be in charge of my life. I will be missing Delilah very much and hope that she remembers me when I return. I hope to learn more about the biggest natural disaster in our world’s history. Go here to learn more. And here is a news article on the 10th anniversary
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After a short sleep at the Shangri-La Hotel I was met in the lobby on Saturday morning by Irina who was my guide in St. Petersburg, Russia about two years ago. She married Alexander Landau and now has a baby boy named Vasily. We took cabs and visited the main sights of Singapore including the bar where the Singapore Sling was invented. She made a list of evening adventures for me and then we met Alex and Vasily for a Chili Crab lunch. They are leaving for Bali on vacation and I will try to meet them there in a week or so. After a short nap at the hotel I started my evening travel highlighted by a sunset experience at tower three of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. I also visited the gardens and the laser show in Merlion Park and then took the Marina Bay boat ride across the bay. I caught a cab home to catch up on sleep.

After boarding the Silver Seas cruise ship on Sunday I relaxed in my room and then enjoyed a steak, cooked on a lava stone at my table, on the upper pool deck, while enjoying a beautiful sunset.

On Monday, a sea cruise day, I explored the ship, caught up on lost sleep, and was invited by the Chief Engineer to join he and two couples for dinner. One couple was from London and one from Capetown and we had a delightful evening while enjoying lobster and fine wines.

On Tuesday morning we arrived in Bintulu, Sarawak, Malaysia and I boarded a bus for a short ride to the national park where we walked through the lush jungle. We then visited a “long house” where a growing family of about 300 lived. As the family grows, they add onto the end of the house.

On Wednesday we arrived at Maura, Brunei, a tiny Islamic Monarchy of about 400,000 residents who get free medical care with no personal income tax. Almost every resident has several automobiles and gets a free home, courtesy the Government. Our speed and long boat tours through the lush forests was quite comfortable and we saw monkeys, crocodiles, and lots of birds. We also visited a catholic family in a long house.

On Thursday, after a 75 min bus trip through Sabah, Malaysia, i took a 90 minute river rafting trip down a lowland river through the forests along with 24 of the younger set from our ship. We were then served a terrific Malaysian buffet luncheon with curry dishes before returning to the ship. In the evening I had dinner on the pool deck, enjoying a nice cool breeze, with couples from Hawaii and Connecticut.

Friday was a seaday and Saturday was a rainy day but I went on a wildlife speedboat trip outside Sadakan into the Malaysian jungle and managed to see the native monkeys with the huge noses before we were driven away by the heavy rain. In all, we spent 3 hours traveling to get a 2 minute glimpse of the wildlife.

Sunday was another sea day and we crossed over the equator and had a little fun with that. I visited the casino with Tim and then Shiela, his wife, joined us on the outdoor lounge where we enjoyed several pleasant hours visiting before dinner and an early retirement.

On Monday, we travelled by bus into Sulawesi, Indonesia to learn about the Bujis. They are devout Sunni Muslims and arranged marriages is the norm and usually between first cousins who live with the wife’s parents. The countryside is covered in rice paddies and houses are mostly on stilts.

On Tuesday we visited the Komoda National Park and after a hike to the top of a mountain to see the great view, we descended to see the rare Komoda Dragons roaming the forests. There are just over 2,000 left in existence.

On Wednesday we travelled to the Elephant Reserve in Benoa, Bali and the long trip was well worth it as I managed a 30 minute safari trip on an elephant through the lush forests of the park. The elephants also performed for us including soccer and basketball.

Thursday was a long day with a flight to Hong Kong and a late arrival there.

On Friday, I awoke early and spent the morning walking along the waterway enjoying Starbucks coffee and a warm, pleasant morning. I then travelled to the airport for a long 13 hour trip back home to Dallas.

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