Happy New Year’s

We wish everyone a wonderful and exciting new year. We can’t believe this is our fifth New Year’s celebration on the road (and we are still in Asia). To give you a short glimpse of our adventures in 2011, we’ve put together a video retrospective covering this year’s travels through Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia.

Bali Tattoo Warnings

Travelers to Bali who see their trip as the perfect opportunity to get that tattoo they’ve always dreamed of might want to think twice. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that an Australian appears to have “contracted HIV after getting a tattoo in Bali.”

However this particular incident pans out, we have encountered numerous travelers, including one we met in Bali, who have gotten severe infections from tattoos or piercings they have gotten on the road. It still always surprises us that anyone would be looking for discount body art in the developing world, but it seems to be an increasing trend. Take it from the cheapest of cheapos, there are some things you DON’T want a discount on.

Manta Mania

Mantas seen from the surface while diving off of Makassar Reef. There are only three in the picture, but our boat was surrounded by dozens of them!!!

Merry Equatorial Christmas

It’s another steamy, dreamy equatorial Christmas in 2011, but next year’s picture might look a little different. Season greetings to all our friends, family and fans all around the world. Don’t forget to have some eggnog or gluehwein for us. 🙂

A Few of our Favorite Things

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens don’t get you very far in the middle of the Himalayas or the jungles of Borneo. Our favorite things are of a decidedly more practical nature. But what treasures lurk in the dark recesses of our overloaded backpacks? This is a list of the items – some of them perhaps rather odd – which have proven most useful during our travels. Continue…

From Russia with Love

As we settled in for the night on our overnight Komodo cruise, Captain Marasuki passed out four beige blankets and proudly announced with a big smile, “These are good blankets from Russia.” Clearly, he associated Russia with quality bedding. He explained that, on a previous trip to Komodo, Russian tourists had given him these blankets as a gift, claiming they had brought them to Indonesia from Russia.

When I woke up in the morning, I opened my eyes and stared down on an oversized label attached to the blanket. I doubled over laughing and inadvertently woke the others. Oops. Don’t worry, we DID NOT explain to the captain that Emirates was an airlines based in Dubai.

The Dragons of Komodo and Rinca

I guess it’s a testament to Komodo’s underwater attractions that it has taken us almost two weeks to visit the world-famous dragons. But now, the time has come… for dragons, megapodes, cockatoos and more.

Known locally as ora, the “Komodo dragons” not only occur on Komodo, but also neighboring Rinca (pronounced reen-cha) and mainland Flores as well as the smaller islands of Gili Motang and Gili Dasami. They are believed to be a relict population of large reptiles that once roamed Indonesia and Australia. The survival of the giant lizard is credited to extreme Continue…

Captivating Kanawa

Ten days on Seraya just whet our appetite for more tropical bliss here on Kanawa, a tiny island located between Labuanbajo and Komodo. In addition to lazing on more white-sand beaches, we also came here to do some night dives on the house reef as well as the wall off of neighboring Sebayur Besar.

As with Seraya, Kanawa is not a luxury destination but simple huts on a desert island where you can live out your Gilligan’s Island fantasy with a motley crew of fellow dreamers. In fact, dinner with our little group of travelers here on Kanawa was half the fun (despite the fact that Continue…

Komodo, Diver’s Paradise

It’s not exactly a secret among experienced divers, but Komodo has some of the best diving in the world. While land-lubbers are more focused on the famous dragons, underwater fans realize that Komodo National Park protects some of the best preserved coral and underwater life on the planet.

Why? As with Nusa Lembongan, deep channels with cold currents from the south seem to be protecting much of the coral from the hot water streams that have ravaged calmer Asian waters to the north. So far bleaching seems to be relatively minimal. Moreover, nature has gifted Komodo with wild ripping Continue…