"You are confined only by the walls you build yourself."
The view from the top is fantastic. You can see all the 9 Banda islands, as far as Run and Ai. This is half way up, looking down on Banda Neira below and Lontar.
It's a grueling climb up this live volcano in the hot Indonesian sun with a lot of slip-back but well worth it.
Time to go is a problem. I love SE Asia in winter: for one reason, it's really cold here, and I hate winter, but the other reason is, it's the best season to go there. But one problem with winter is it's high season and air fares are more. Another problem is I get more work in winter, so I would lose out on a major part of my income. August is always possible, because I have the least work, and it's really hot here, but it's really hot there too, and the water is not as nice at the beaches. Between summer and winter, it rains a lot there. Hmmm.
Where will it be? Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia? But I'll probably start in Singapore, it's centrally located, and I can go in any direction from there. Besides, I always like to visit my friends in SG.
Sterling if one of the more interesting wineries. It sits on a hill in the center of the valley. You ride a gondola to the top and self-guide from point one to 5, sampling a different wine at each point. The best cab is last.
OMG, what's happening to Napa Valley??
@Captain Bones I hope these fires finish soon. I've got some friends in those areas and it breaks my heart.
@diamondlightfoot Mine too. I'm dying.
@Captain Bones very sad seeing this. I couldn’t believe some of the coverage I saw.
@Andia For sure, it is indeed unbelievable. Save the wineries, save the wine, save the houses, and above all, save the people.
Another winery I never fail to visit is Dutch Henry, off a side road from Silverado Trail along the east side of the valley. When you pull up to the winery, you're immediately surrounded by dogs, a bit intimidating, but they're friendly. Dutch Henry has been around for a long time. The tasting room is lined with b/w photos from the old days. They're friendly people and love to tell stories about the winery and the valley. Dutch puts out some really good reds.
Clos Pegase winery is unique for the unusual sculptures found throughout its garden, and it has some damn good wines too.
Beringer is another beautiful winery with a very nice tasting room. They make some great reds though a bit more commercial than other wineries. Their high-end cab is excellent.
Something homey and comfortable is all I need (and withing walking distance of town).
I don't need anything big. This small home with a vineyard and pool for sale in Calistoga might suit my needs.
Calistoga has some great restaurants, many with open-air dining.
Calistoga also has a beer brewery with a delicious array of craft beers.
Enjoy a stroll down the main street, Lincoln Blvd.
Nights on treks are spent mainly in village tea houses
One of the few places on our planet where no human has set foot, Machapuchahare is the most outstanding mountain in the Annapurna range. This majestic peak, also known as Fish Tail, is a sacred and revered mountain in the Hindu religion. Associated with the god Shiva, it is off limits to climbing.
The trek begins in Phedi, a one hour bus ride from Pokhara (which is a short flight from Kathmandu). It can take a total of between 8 days and 14 days. The bottom portion of the trek is a network of trails and villages, then passes up the Modi Khola Gorge into the heart of the sanctuary and some of the most dramatic mountain scenery on the planet.
Though there are cheaper places to stay in Mandalay, I do enjoy a bit of luxury now and then, and Hotel by the Red Canal looks so inviting.
Many beautiful pagodas in Mandalay, such as Kuthodaw at the foot of Mandalay hill
"Come you back to Mandalay, where the old flotilla lay. Can't you hear their paddles chunkin', from Rangoon to Mandalay? On the road to Mandalay, where the flying fishes play, an' the dawn comes up like thunder outer China 'crost the Bay!"
The boat stops for a visit to Bagan, an ancient city from the 9th century, located on the Irrawaddy, where more than 2,000 Buddhist monuments tower over green plains.
The riverboat dining room is quite nice, and meals are usually buffet style.
If you're into jungle handcraft goods, as I am, there's plenty available
Plenty of jungle and river food to eat.
You meet the most interesting people as you travel up river.
The river meanders quite a distance before it gets into deep jungle.
Original SUPs on the Sepik
Relaxing in beauty. Over water bungalows, Raja Ampat. Jump in anytime.
13000 square meters of pristine coral reef were recently destroyed when a British captain commanding a Swedish flagged cruise ship ran aground in Raja Ampat. Most of the damage was sustained when the captain attempted to free the ship from the reef. It will take 50 to 100 years for the reef to be restored. It was reported that Captain Dick Head had done this once before to a reef off Northern Sumatra.
@Captain Bones omg this is heartbreaking
There's a good reason why they're called clown fish.
Being right on a sea of abundance in the "coral triangle" the bungalows have exceptional seafood dishes.
There are a number of lodging options at Raja Ampat. I prefer over-the-water bungalows.
I'd like to be a member of the Boston Tea Party, December 16, 1773.
I want to meet Donald Trump when he was a teenager and kick his ass, and tell him, "That's for what you're gonna do later, you little creep."
I'd like to meet William Cody (later known as Buffalo Bill) when he was 15 years old and rode for the Pony Express. On his first ride, he learned that his relief rider had been killed, and he was forced to make the longest non-stop ride of 518 kilometers over the most dangerous section of the trail. He completed it in 21 hours and 40 minutes using 20 horses. I'd like to hear him tell that story.
Clara Bow, the "It" girl. Just like to see if she's really got it.
Raymond Chandler would be interesting. I'd like to see a day in the life of Los Angeles from his perspective.
Koh Kut has some great jungle treks.
More nice dining on Koh Kut
Koh Kut has some innovative dining spots. This is the Dining Pod, baskets hanging over a cliff with the sea below
Another nice resort
Day 6: Slowly make your way back to Cork while taking in the lush country landscape. Having completed the circular course, enjoy one last night of celebration with your riding companions over a delicious meal and clinking glasses.
Day 5: Peddle amid ancient battlefields and seaside vistas. Visit a rustic castle and watchtower from the Napoleonic War. Stop at a favorite local restaurant for some classic Irish dishes and local beer.
Day 4: Stunning coastal scenery lines the route to Courtmacsherry Bay and the remains of a 13th century abbey. Wander through Kinsale's medieval alleys and shops. Soak up fascinating history in this colorful port town.
Day 3: Cycle through the untamed Bera Peninsula, then a gradual uphill climb to the Caha Pass with panoramic views. Ride downhill to the small town of Glengarriff and on to picturesque Bantry. Relax at a cozy pub for some delicious seafood and listen to traditional Irish songs.
Day 2: You'll pass pristine lakes, stately cliffs, and glacier carved mountains. Stop at the town of Kenmare for some whiskey tasting, then back on the bike to check out a prehistoric stone circle before kicking back with a pint of Guinness at a lively pub.
Hatahata at Uokin
Pitan (century eggs) at a Taiwan restaurant
Custard tofu at CBM
Raw oyster. This one was so big they had to cut it in 3 pieces. Very creamy and delicious.
My student gave me pomegranates from his garden tree
A Japanese pear
It's peach season here, and who wouldn't love a nice peach for breakfast.
Just a simple orange, but still sweet and juicy.
Sunset's nice from the Flyer too
One revolution takes about 30 minutes, so for dinner you go around twice.
It's not cheap, about $23 USD.
The gondolas are large enough to have a group dinner.
Night on the Flyer. (Day's nice too.)
High winds, heavy rains, a flash flood, landslides, and falling trees have damaged an unknown number of durian farms and people's homes. Over 2,000 people are being evacuated. Keep the people of Penang in your hearts and thoughts today.
Georgetown is a busy city with many things to see and do (and taste).
Penang offers some great beachfront bungalows
Ride the cable to the top of Penang Hill for some great views
Oh, yummy on a stick.
Last stop: Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. A big modern city, but still a lot of the old left, green parks, historical points, cultural exhibits, music, dancing, bars and restaurants of all kinds. So much to see and do.
Next, Putrajaya. This is a modern city with elegantly designed streets with a European feel. There are many green parks and waterways that flow into a large lake which the beautiful pink Putra Mosque sits on. This is an upscale city, so there are many high class restaurants.
Next stop is Seremban. I couldn't find a lot to do, there's a beautiful mosque, a lot of green park area, but I think the best thing to do is eat. Some great looking food.
Next stop is Ayer Keroh. Known as the "Green Belt" of Malacca, it has trees over 100 years old in many recreational forests, perfect for tourists who want to explore nature's beautiful sights and sounds.
A monument to durian in a center city intersection.
From 3rd trip to Bali. Too weird to pass up. The mirror doesn't go with it, that's from Thailand, just thought they looked good together.
From Thailand, where elephants are revered.
Hyottoko from Japan. Often seen in short comical plays or dancing bonodori at festivals.
It's pretty cold on top. This is why you're glad you packed warm clothes.
Midway up Kinabalu you lose the foliage, and it's mostly rock. It gets much cooler as you go up, so you need to pack warm clothes.
The beginning of the Kinabalu trek is hot jungle.
From the top of Kinabalu
@Captain Bones Wow.... Stunning
@flowergirl Thanks. Wish I had taken the shot. It's a goal. I hope someday to take the same picture. Though I've been to the island, Borneo, (Sarawak state), on the west coast, I have yet to go to the east coast (Sabah state) where Kinabalu is .
@Captain Bones I look forward to seeing those shots that you will take when you achieve this goal :-)
Kinabalu is located near the city of Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah state.
The islands in the lagoon are so close together, in low tide you can wade across
Snorkeling in Pukapuka lagoon is nice. Not a lot of coral, but warm clear water and friendly fish.
That house has a garden
A modern house on Pukapuka
Traditional canoe on Pukapuka
For many foreign travelers, crossing the Bali Strait between Java and Bali (about 25 minutes) is the only way to reach "paradise" on the Island of the Gods.
A Jogja street
A must see: Jogjakarta is an old capital of Indonesia, known for traditional arts and cultural heritage. The 18th century Kraton (royal complex) still encompasses the Sultan's palace. Also within the Kraton are numerous open-air pavilions that host classical Javanese dance shows and gamelan concerts.
I've always wanted to visit Surabaya. Mountains on one side, sea on the other. A sprawling metropolis of high rises and canals.
One thing I missed on previous trips to Java but hope to visit next time is the 9th century Buddhist temple of Borobudur.
Off the island of Bunaken, Indonesia.
Sailing out of Gili Air for Gili Meno
Rounding Diniwit off Boracay, Lolong at the helm.
Sailing through the reef to Gili Trawangan
Unless your car is also a boat, don't do this.
Behold, the mighty sea.
Life is a lucky street of mind.
Swans and ducks are often seen in the canals
Your room, complete with en-suite bathroom.
There are bicycles on board for all the guests, and you are encouraged to get off and cycle along the canal path for a more intimate feel of the surroundings. The barges move slowly, about 8 clicks a day (you can even walk faster), and they'll pick you up at the next stop.
Many of the barges have on-deck hot tubs.
@Captain Bones looks grand, and nothing like I'd expect for a roaming pirate, and yet quite proper after all
Plenty of wine and a gourmet chef.
Last month, a Singaporean tourist was in Komodo National Park taking pictures of a dragon eating frenzy when he got to close, and one bit him. A dragon's bite contains a blood-pressure reducing venom, which explains their hunting technique of biting their prey once, then stalking it till it falls over from weakness. The man was put on a military speed boat and rush to a hospital on another island for treatment. This is the first instance in 5 years of a Komodo dragon attacking a human.
@Captain Bones Ouch. That does look painful.
For me, this would be a more ideal way to see Komodo, spending a few days aboard a yacht that visits other islands in the area.
The day boat from Labuanbajo
There are no places to stay on Komodo. Most people stay in Labuanbajo in west end of Flores and boat over for the day. Labuanbajo is said to be nice: good accommodations and nice places to eat. It also has an airport.
The main village is on the water's edge. Dragons occasionally meander through scavenging for food.
Vincent described Auvers as "seriously beautiful."
My poor copy
I'm not the only one
Party tomorrow night at Pub Rogue, y'all come.
Welcome to I island, maties. I be your tour guide, Captain Bones.
3 cats in the sun
Fuji San today from Tachikawa
"Cat is sleeping in the sun. Eyes take heed the colors' call. Sunlight patterns touch the wall. Let kerchief sail and fall. Cat is sleeping in the sun."
An alien spacecraft on the sun sucking its energy
Colors of the park
I have been to the border, the wall, the end of the reef, so many times, and have looked down into the void, the darkness, the unknown, and I was afraid. I backstroked to safety, to security, to a place of sanctuary where nothing real or imagined could harm me. But I always felt an overwhelming sense of weakness for allowing fear (or was it , actually common sense) to hold sway over my life and the choices I make. Of course, we can't just throw caution to the wind, but there are times when we just have to say, "Fuck it! I'm gonna do that thing, come what may."
@Captain Bones that point where your in the water and everywhere looks the same just blue and you lose your direction up or down - left or right....your internal compass is off and you get nervous and luckily gravity pulls you a little to the top and you become oriented again in the water. It is the scariest feeling but yu go back and give in to the vulnerability because there is something about the risk that keeps you coming back.
@hhannah You got it. The risk (thrill) is like a drug.
The few words I know, though helpful when greeting someone, ordering food and beer, asking how much, going for a walk, and telling you everything's cool, aren't really enough to carry on a conversation. You need to get in deeper to make good friends.
It sure would come in handy when I'm east bound and down.
Gardens by the Bay
@Captain Bones Singapore
@sahlavit 'Tis indeed, just behind the MBS. I shot this 2 years ago.
I've sailed across the equator many times but prefer the tropical zone. I need a big city that also has beautiful beaches and coconut trees. This country is perfect, and they speak English, after a fashion.
I hate it when winter overtakes my little country, and my bones freeze. To the south east, there is a land I long for. "Where those fishing boats with their sails afloat, if I could only see that familiar sunrise through sleepy eyes, how happy I'd be."
On this day, August 3, in 1882, US Congress passed the first law restricting immigration in the United States. The Chinese Exclusion Act was passed by Congress and signed by President Chester A. Arthur, providing an absolute 10-year moratorium on Chinese immigration. Declining wages and economic ills were blamed on Chinese workers.
Today, June 10, is Hattie McDaniel's birthday. Born in Wichita, Kansas in 1893, she was the 13th child in her family. By the mid 1920s, Hattie had become one of the first African-American women on radio. In 1934, she landed her on-screen break in the film, "Judge Priest," and in 1935, she appeared with Shirley Temple in "Little Colonel." Hattie became the first African-American to win an Oscar for her 1940 role as Mammy in "Gone With the Wind." Then in 1947, she starred in CBS radio's "The Beulah Show." Hattie McDaniel died in Los Angeles in 1952.
It's Jacie Wilson's birthday today (June 9, 1934). Jackie was a dynamic soul performer during the 1950s and '60s who crossed over from rhythm-and-blues to pop music, paving the way for generations of African-American singers. His first major hit was "Lonely Teardrops" in 1958, followed by "Say You Will" in 1959, "Night" in 1960, "Baby Workout" in 1963, and "Higher and Higher" in 1967. Jackie collapsed on stage in 1975 and spent the rest of his life in a coma. He died in 1984 and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
On June 2, 1740, Marquis de Sade was born in Paris. His father was a diplomat in the court of Louis XV. From the start, de Sade was raised by servants who catered to his every whim. He became an aristocrat, philosopher, and a notorious writer of sexual cruelty, violence, criminality, and blasphemy against the Catholic church, all spawned from his personal life. His final 13 years were spent in an insane asylum, which didn't slow his sexual pursuits. He carried on a relationship with a 13 year old daughter of an asylum employee. De Sade died in 1814. The word "sadism" is derived from his name.
On May 31, in 1958, Dick Dale invented surf music with "Let's Go Trippin'". Dale was a surfer and wanted to put to music the sounds he heard in his head while surfing. He used reverb which gave the guitar a "wet" sound. This became a staple of surf music. Dale earned the nickname, "King of the Surf Guitar" and was inducted into the Music Hall of Fame in 2009 and the Surfers Walk of Fame in 2011. Dick Dale still plays today at 80 years old.
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I truly believe Augustine’s words are true and if you look at history you know it is true. There are many people in the world.