A Travellerspoint blog

A Very Merry (Ladyboy) Christmas

It was a cave of lust. Past touts hustling massages and ping pong shows. Past crowds of men - Western, Middle Eastern, Asian – with arms snaked around Thai dancer’s bodies. Down a dark corridor on the third floor of a nondescript building in Bangkok’s Patapong Red Light District it waited.

Thailand sweats sex. From beautiful Thai women to condom vending machines in public bathrooms, sexuality churns through Bangkok’s musky air.

Women in skimpy bikinis with subtlety arousing or garish makeup beckon. Pouty red lips, hourglass curves, swollen breasts and long legs that reach heavenward like Babel’s tower.

A place where night’s shadow blurs the boundaries of sexuality into a sticky haze.

Cascade. The lady-boy bar.

Venturing inside, the Madam, a woman with a powdered pale face, severe bangs and prominent Adam’s apple escorted us to our seats. Joanie, myself, Shannon (our friend from New York), Scott (an old friend of mine from Ohio who now lives and works in Bangkok), and a few of his friends watched the 15 or so bikini-clad dancers undulating on stage.

Travel is a place to push boundaries (not necessarily physically, but psychologically and philosophically) as this night would prove.

A gamut of beauty presented itself: some tall with long flowing hair, others short and chestless, some buxom. Despite the diversity, all had one shared characteristic: at some point in their lives, all were men.

I watched the club’s other patrons and wondered if they also knew this.

Gender lines seem blurred in Asia. Men are often effeminate and much more affectionate and comfortable with the [platonic] physical touch of other men than Westerners.

A middle aged Asian man sat a few feet away and glowed as 2 dancers talked and entertained him. He was smitten by Aphrodite’s elixir, but did he know Aphrodite was a man?

Origin seemed unimportant and antiquated at Cascade. The now mattered, the rare immersion into the moment. A luxury our frenetic lives rarely permit or allow us to afford – who knows at what cost?

Travel forces us into moments of introspection and (often) to grope to understand ourselves as individuals and as a reflection of our environment.

There is no comfort zone for retreat, only the slight refuge of a hotel room where the sounds and smells of the exotic world outside still penetrate.

A loud bell rang and the club’s lights went on. The dancers left the stage for the dressing room (that was on the way to the bathroom and had no door).

A few remained on stage and I thought of Chery Tiegs, and her iconic poster the 70s, a tantalizing icon of beauty and perfection.

It wasn’t Cheryl standing 10 feet from us but a tall, Asian woman with dark, blown-out hair and welcoming smile. It was something different: something in the grey area between assumption and expectation.

It was Christmas and she was like a beautifully wrapped present. It might be the perfect gift or the surprise you’ll never forget.

Happy holidays from Bangkok.

Posted by bucketbath 11:31 Archived in Thailand Tagged night thailand club bangkok life light red dancing boy lady asia district alcohol sex nightclub pattapong Comments (4)

Cooking at the Bumi Bali

Vegging our way through Indonesia

Here's the last of our recorded memories from Indonesia. Micah and I took a cooking class in the laid back, artsy town of Ubud on the island of Bali. At this point, we had already been eating Indonesian food for 2 weeks and couldn't quite place all the flavors. We quickly learned that taking a cooking class may be what this kosher/veg couple needs every time we encounter a new culture's cuisine. The morning class was full with about 15 carnivores so we got our own, personalized vegetarian class in the afternoon for the same price. It pays to have special dietary needs.

Bon Appetite! Or in Indonesian, selamat makan!

Posted by bucketbath 17:49 Archived in Indonesia Tagged food bali indonesia cooking eating chef class eat vegetarian ubud veg veggie Comments (5)

Long lost Indonesia

View Asia on bucketbath's travel map.

Indonesia- It seems like it was so long ago! Micah and I spent a month traveling through the islands of Java, Bali, Gili Air and Lombok. I finally got around to putting all of our video footage together.

Check out the culture we experienced and the new friends we made along the way!

Posted by bucketbath 06:45 Archived in Indonesia Comments (3)

Hurry Up and Wait

A quixotic trip through Vietnam’s Halong Bay (and pictures from our travels in Vietnam at the end of the post).

Swarms of motorbikes dart through the streets of Hanoi like nihilistic dragonflies careening toward a bug zapper.

Crazy traffic isn’t a new encounter for Joanie and I (crossing Jakarta’s smoggy, wide thoroughfares required guts of steel) but in Hanoi, motorbike minions clog the Old Quarter’s narrow, shop-lined streets like plaque choking a smoker’s heart.

We walked up and down the streets, talking with travel agencies, haggling for the best price to arrange a trip to Vietnam’s UNESCO-listed Halong Bay, where more than 3,000 islands and limestone mountains jut from the Gulf of Tonkin like heaven’s teardrops.

Joanie and I had vowed to avoid organized tours, but after talking to other travelers, calculating the price and our time constraints, we decided on a 3-day tour, including one night on a houseboat (actually called a junk, but we’ll get to that later) and a night on Cat Ba Island, the only inhabited island in the bay.

We booked the “deluxe tour” - $20 more than the economy but the boat looked better appointed as did the accommodation (boy were we wrong) and also an 22 hour overnight bus trip to Vientiane, the capital of Laos, we’d catch immediately after returning from our bay tour.

Satisfied, we wandered Hanoi’s frenetic streets, grabbed a quick dinner and called it a night.

I woke up early the next morning. Raindrops lashed the window and the world brooded. Not ideal weather for a nature cruise, but hopefully at the coast, sunny skies waited.

The guide rushed us out of the guest house, saying we were holding things up, into the overstuffed mini bus. Naturally my legs were squashed for 3.5 hours – the only relief a bathroom break at an overpriced craft center. I don’t say shop because in Vietnam, these centers are like Wal Mart for souvenirs – everything from towering marble sculptures and inlaid jewelry boxes to silk robes and embroidery - with a twist.

Pardon my cynicism and I am glad they are providing one of the few employment opportunities available in the country, but the fact that many of the working artisans are handicapped is advertised like victory pendant screaming “Gilt us your money!”

Unfortunately there wasn’t room in the bus for a 6-foot marble bust of soaring dolphins (let alone my legs) so I left the super center empty handed.

An hour or so later, we arrived to the port in Halong City to catch the junk boat. The guides rushed the group: a few Canadians, Germans, Portuguese, Spaniards, Brits and Americans, off the bus into the now humid, chilly - but not rainy - afternoon.

The boat was late.

Boats plied the harbor, mahogany colored, three story, around 75 feet long with large roof terraces and glass enclosed dining/bars. Our boat, the Haolong Party Cruiser arrived and we willingly walked the plank aboard.

After a quick orientation describing the tour, we realized things had changed: we’d spend the first night on the island rather than on the boat. No problem - we can roll.

The boat motored into the bay, passed towering karsts - steel grey and denuded, others bearded with greenery - to a small harbor with caves to explore.

Everyone jumped off the front of the boat onto the rudimentary cement dock and hiked up the stairs. Joanie forgot something in her bag and was grabbing it so we were the last two on the boat.

The deck hands shouted at me (us) “Hurry Up! Hurry up!” and scowled. Finally, we climbed ashore, up the stairs and explored the first cave. Stalagmites illuminated in a jellybean assortment of colors poured upward.

A second cave on the island, the one described by the guide as “dirty” and not worth visiting turned out to be less polished with towering ceilings and bats swirling and screeching through the air. Definitely worth the detour.

We rushed back to the boat, assuming we were the stragglers, but it was missing. Then a small ferry took us to our boat anchored in the harbor.

We wait. And waited some more until the guide told us our junk had broken down and a replacement was en route.

Hours went by, the sun faded into a starry night.

The positive: we met our shipmates (or fellow captives), commiserate about the weather, about the broken boat, getting yelled at for drinking beers we purchased on the island (that cost 1/3 of the price) rather than the boat, and waited.

Finally, the new boat arrived to ferry us to away but first we had to tow the broken one to a nearby harbor for repairs.

A coke bottle-think rope was connected to the stranded boat and we putter into the bay. But something goes wrong. The strained rope slackens and spits its tail, hitting a crew member in the head knocking him down (and possibly out) then the AWOL boat slams into a construction barge, shattering a blue plastic water reservoir as it helplessly bobs in the bay. Meanwhile, water gushes from the cracked cistern as the crew members struggle to control the boat.

Eventually after a few more near fatal bouts of bumper boat, we arrive at Cat Ba Island’s harbor for a 30-minute drive to our guest house.

Our deluxe tour, already tarnished, gets a near-fatal shellacking when we see our room: dirty, unpainted walls, TV from 1992 – but it has hot water and an overpriced mini bar.

We head down to dinner where the new “guide” loses his temper at the group and shouts at us for not being quiet as he tells us the “program” (again, different from the one we signed up for).

We eat dinner – mediocre food of rice and veggies (there were meat options though) – and head to a convenience store for snacks as a cold rain pelts the town.

For breakfast the following morning we’re served a small baguette (very common in Vietnam and Laos as they were French colonies) and butter and jam. Naturally, I was still hungry and walked into the kitchen to ask for a second. The guide, standing behind a table full of baguettes, ignores my question and asks how much I paid for the tour. What this has to do with getting a second baguette I don’t know but after a back and forth, I tell him off and stalk away, fuming and hungry.

Next on the agenda: hiking in Cat Ba National Park.

We check out of the room and were rushed onto a bus. The Canadian couple was missing and we tell the guide we need to wait so we can check on them. His reply: If they’re not here they must not want to go, and we leave for another hotel 5 minutes away that’s much nicer than ours, but shares the same name.

More travelers board the bus (American’s from the Silicon Valley) but something’s wrong. The hotel lost one of their passports. So we wait.

Why we couldn’t wait to check on the missing Canadians, probably has something to do with how much we paid for the tour, but I will never be certain. None the less, someone from our group runs back to our hotel and grabs the Canadians who didn’t have an alarm. An hour and a half goes by and the passport problem is finally sorted.

Onto the national park for some hiking.

Situated in the center of the island, surrounded by lush, jungle-coated mountains, we climb to a slick peak crowned with a rusty fire tower. The guide said it would take an hour to climb up (in reality: 30 minutes and 10 minutes down) and we wait for the bus back to town.

It eventually shows up. A death trap on wheels: rusted out floors, shattered windows, mangled seats.

After a quick lunch at the hotel we have a few hours to explore the island: it’s harbor full of wooden fishing boats, sandy beaches surrounded by mountains and karsts erupting from the bay.

3:30 rolls around. Time to catch the bus to the boat where we’d be sleeping that night. Everyone’s at the meeting spot but the bus is MIA. We end up waiting an hour and a half for it to arrive. The plan was to watch the sunset from the boat, but by the time we get going the sun is setting through the bus’s muddy windows.

Once on board the boat, our new guide seems polite and friendly. I’m sipping on beers smuggled aboard from the island and they don’t give me any trouble. After a decent dinner we play game after game of Liar (what we’d call Asshole), watch the stars dance in the sky as the boat floats in the harbor.

Our cabin was small but comfortable – the hot shower it was supposed to have: barely a drip. The blanket – a thin sheet that kept us shivering during the 40-degree night. Good thing Joanie's a human furnace. In the morning I woke up early to watch the sunrise on the bay. It slowly crested the mountains casting its buttery glow on the peaks, craggy like spines on a lizard’s back.


Breakfast, then back to Halong City. But first we explore a floating fishing village and it’s surrounding grottoes by kayak, something we were supposed to do on day one. A scene from the James Bond film "Tomorrow Never Dies" was filmed there and as we paddled through the turquoise water surrounded by the towering karsts, I finally felt a sense of calm.

...That was quickly shattered by the deafening roar of the drive belt snapping in the small ferry returning us to to our junk (house boat). Did I mention it was also belching smoke and taking on water?

Wow – could it get any worse? Luckily a fisherman passing by offered us safe passage back to our junk boat and to Halong City we went. A quick lunch at a mediocre restaurant where the help was bitter, then back to Hanoi were we’d catch a bus to Vientiane, the capital of Laos.

Hanoi’s snarled traffic slowed us down even more and by the time we reached the center, it was after 6pm, the time our bus was supposed to pick us up. Rather than drop us off at our tour agency as we’d paid for, we were let off (I should say blown off) by the new “guide” and told to walk there ourselves.

At this point, I wanted my money back for the tour – to complain about the poor service, waiting, missing the highlights – but we were in such a hurry, the agent who sold us our tickets freaked out and grabbed two xe om’s (motorbike taxis) to take us to the bus. We jump on the bikes, my backpack pulling me backward, waiting for a big bump to toss me off the back, and after a harrowing trip, was dropped off on a dark street and are told to pay the motorbike drivers.

No way – we’d already been ripped off and paid for all transportation to Laos. So we started to argue. The guy, who ends up taking us to the bus depot, keeps grabbing my arm and Joanie’s shouting at him, “Don’t touch my boyfriend! “ “Don’t touch him!” as he demands money to pay the drivers who he claims are his friends.

The motorbike drivers speed off angry and empty handed and the remaining guy continues to demand money.

Already feeling victimized and desperate to get to the bus, I throw him the money (around $1 USD which he pocketed) and off we go on the back of another motorbike - through the cold night to the outskirts of Hanoi.

He lets us off outside a dusty motorbike dealership where a pack of backpackers with no idea what’s happening await. Clouds of dust pour through the smoggy air, and cars whiz by. We’re directed onto a mini bus, which we all stuff into.

The minibus takes us to another dark street, under an overpass where we alight and wait.

As we’re standing there, the world is illuminated by vehicles passing headlights. I stare directly into the eyes of the guy who’d brought us and tell him (in English) that it made me sad he was such a disgusting human being. Did he understand me? Probably not, but from the glare I continued give him, he got my drift.

A little more waiting and the bus arrives. We’re rushed on, shouted at by the attendant that the police will cause trouble if we don’t speed up.

And as the bus driver barrels ahead, slamming on his horn, swerving around motorbikes and slower traffic, I’m glad he’s rushing.

I finally understand why everyone here is always in a hurry. They must be desperate to get out of this place too and just can’t wait.

Check out pictures from Vietnam here.

PS: I apologize for not posting pix on our Travellerspoint blog (and making you click through to my blog), but please understand that the site more or less appropriates ownership and usage rights of the images, something I'm not willing to share

Posted by bucketbath 02:50 Archived in Vietnam Tagged beer boat mountain cruise vietnam laos bay trip asia hanoi halong ferry karst vientiene Comments (1)

Born to be Wild

Cruising out of the Vietnam tourist trap

semi-overcast 85 °F

Vietnam, we're discovering is full of easy roads. It's an organized tourists paradise. You can see the entire county via air conditioned bus for the "low" price of $(fill in the "special tourist" price here). They will even conveniently accept the US dollar everywhere. We, in fact, had to fight to get a fair exchange rate when we paid for our first night's hotel stay in Ho Chi Min City using the Vietnamese Dong.

We're discovering that it's incredibly difficult to get around if you aren't taking a "tourist" bus to see the cool sights. We booked a tour of the Cu Chi tunnels and we were left wanting more history, an understandable guide, and solitude away from the boisterous demands of several high maintenance, short holiday, travelers. We decided to give it another go with a 2 day/1 night tour of the Mekong Delta. It turned out to be a backpackers nightmare. In addition to a boat ride down the busiest floating market on the Mekong, we were given the "special privilege" of viewing the process of making of rice paper, which turned out to be a souvenir shop in disguise. Other included "special privileges" were: a visit to an fruit orchard, and a souvenir shop, lunch that provided not enough food on an island full of souvenir shops, and learning how to make coconut candy in a souvenir shop. And we can't forget the bus making convenient toilet stops along the way that would not have felt complete without souvenir shops. We slept at a home stay with a local farmer and his family at the end of day 1 with a group of about 10 other frustrated backpackers. We were happy to hear we weren't just being callous and jaded and that others shared our pain. It turned out to be the best part of the entire trip. The farmer taught us to make our own spring rolls, gave us a sunrise tour of his rice fields and fed us lots of "happy" water, aka rice wine, all evening long. Not a gift shop in sight!

Micah and I vowed not to fall into the tourist trap again and decided to move through the rest of Vietnam as independently as possible. So far, we have successfully found our way via motorbike in the cities of Mu Ni, Da Lat, Nha Trang and Hoi An. It's a wonderful freedom to have the luxury of leaving when we want, eating what we want, using a toilet when we want and not having to be herded to a souvenir shop to achieve these simple pleasures. Of course it means instead that we spend a lot of time maneuvering the language barrier and asking locals for directions and driving the wrong way for miles at a time. But it doesn't matter- we are free. In fact, Born to be Wild plays in my head every time we reach a cruising speed of 60km/hr (that's about 37mph) It's worth Micah occasionally tossing us over the handlebars. Don't worry (mom). That only happened once. We weren't going very fast and escaped with minor cuts and bruises. And it only cost us $3.50 to fix the broken break handle!

We're now heading into our last few days in Vietnam. We broke our vow and had to book a tour to see Ha Long Bay. It sounds like we've signed up for a cruise for the next 3 days. Fingers crossed there aren't any souvenir shops on our boat. We'll be sure to let you know how it pans out.

Here are a few pics our last few weeks in Vietnam. (You can reach the captions in the photo gallery.)


Posted by bucketbath 09:30 Archived in Vietnam Comments (4)

Bucketbath takes a Mucketbath

overcast 79 °F

In true Bucketbath form, Micah and I have been moving non stop again. We got to Ho Chi Min, Vietnam on Nov 12 and in the last week and a half visited the Mekong Delta, Mui Ne, Dalat and now the city of Nha Trang.

After a morning at the National Oceanographic Museum and a visit to the Po Nagar Cham Towers, we splurged ($11.50 each!) on a visit to the Thap Ba Hot Spring Center to soak in the mineral water and mud baths.

Enjoy the video from our day below!

Posted by bucketbath 07:41 Archived in Vietnam Tagged mud spa bath relaxation Comments (4)

R&R. Kind of.

Bucketbath presses on

Per our fan club's request...

Here are some photos from the last few weeks hanging out on the island of Gili Air and climbing Mount Rinjani on Lombok Island.

We spent 5 days in a beach front bungalow on the nearly deserted island of Gili Air. My big accomplishment was discovering that I can snorkel. I can't swim, but I can float and since that's all snorkeling apparently involves, I got to check out some amazingly beautiful coral reefs and colorful underwater life. We saw starfish as big as basketballs, an eel, experienced tiny stings from many microscopic jellyfish and even came face to face with a poisonous sea snake. Ok, face to face may have been 15 feet away, but that's heart pumpingly close enough. Micah had a success of his own and went on his first run since his injury around our little 3.1 mile island.

We became a little restless after all that R&R and decided to travel 20 min by boat to the island of Lombok. We did a 2 day, 1 night climb up Mount Rinjani, hiking over 16hrs in 2 days. It was the most physically taxing 2,641meters of my life. Disgustingly, my left big toenail is now black and hanging by a thread because of it! TMI?

After an exhausting 6 hrs up to the crest, we had an picture perfect view of the still smoking Baru, which last erupted from the center of Rinjani's crater lake in 2009. After an early sunset and a hot meal, we snuggled into our cramped tent to rest up for an equally difficult day 2. 6am brought on another welcoming portion of rice, eggs and tea before we hiked down to the bottom of the crater to indulge in a volcanically heated hot spring. We spent an hour resting our sore muscles in the bubbling waterfall before having to hike 2hrs up out of the crater and another 5hrs down the mountain. The journey down was treacherous as we had to endure a few hours of rain. It turned our descent into a slip n' slide of muddy rivers and slippery tree root cobwebs. Our last hour was spent in total darkness as unidentifiable jungle bugs bounced off the light from our head lamps. We reached the bottom covered in mud, smelling like dirty gym socks and too sore to take another step. I've never been more happy to take a luke warm shower in my life.

We sealed our foul smelling clothing in plastic bags and caught a flight the very next day. We're now in the buzzing city of Ho Ch Minh, Vietnam where it's been interesting to take in a biased side of the Vietnam war. It's also provoked a lot of internet research. One of the best parts of this trip is living and experiencing world history through the culture and remaining relics. We're off to explore the Mekong tomorrow.

Check out Micah's Gili Air run as well as some photos below!

Link to Gili Island Run

Joanie getting off the boat from Bali to Gili Air

Joanie getting off the boat from Bali to Gili Air

Workers Boat on Gili

Workers Boat on Gili

Micah inspecting our dinner on Gili

Micah inspecting our dinner on Gili

R and R

R and R



Gili Islands Lounging

Gili Islands Lounging

Waterfall in Senaru on Lombok

Waterfall in Senaru on Lombok

Joanie and Monkey's at Rinjani

Joanie and Monkey's at Rinjani

Looking at RInjani's Peak and the volcanic crater lake

Looking at RInjani's Peak and the volcanic crater lake

The Gili Islands and Bali from Mount Rinjani's Rim

The Gili Islands and Bali from Mount Rinjani's Rim

Joanie and Micah at the Rinjani Crater Rim

Joanie and Micah at the Rinjani Crater Rim

Base Camp at Rinjani - with the ocean in the background.

Base Camp at Rinjani - with the ocean in the background.

A cold night on Rinjani's Rim

A cold night on Rinjani's Rim

Joanie and Micah at Rinjani

Joanie and Micah at Rinjani

The trail to Mount Rinjani's Crater

The trail to Mount Rinjani's Crater

Posted by bucketbath 03:04 Archived in Indonesia Comments (6)

A Breath of Fresh Air

Sun rays broke over the jagged volcanic peaks scattering honey dew light onto the tropical waters and coral beaches.

Joanie and I are on the tiny island Gili Air, a 1.5 km wide island (and 3.1 mile circumference – this I know for a fact – I went for my first run in 6 weeks around the island) situated in the turquoise, coral filled waters between Bali and Lombok.

Today marks the two-month anniversary of our trip – eight weeks of perpetual motion via bus, train, car, shuttle and the occasional moped.

You could say we’re on a break from traveling. Getting some much needed down time before we pick up the pace in Vietnam and mainland South East Asia, where we’re heading on November 10 after – hard to believe – a month in Indonesia.

We’ve experienced the amazing and not so amazing: volcanoes, delicious foods
(snake-skin fruit, Gado Gado), disgusting foods (anything that showed up with meat or shrimp paste), poverty, sand fleas (that left a trail of bites on Joanie), breathtaking sunrises and sunsets (Mount Bromo), indefatigable hustlers and touts (Beijing and everywhere in Indonesia), to name a few.

We’ve watched each other react to our surroundings and the challenges they present. Putting aside spending 24-hours a day with your partner (at times a blessing in disguise), one of the greatest we’ve faced is pollution.

Putting aside spending 24-hours a day with your partner (at times a blessing in disguise), one of the greatest we’ve faced is pollution.

And I am afraid.

Beijing's Olympic Village and Jakarta, Indonesia

As the cities in the developing world expand and populations become increasingly wealthy, ownership of motorized, pollution spewing vehicles (cars, mopeds, motorcycles) is skyrocketing. In one sense, this is a huge step forward for these countries development. But progress comes at a cost.

The epitome of the pollution (so far) has been Beijing and Jakarta, both sprawling metropolises with unchecked growth and little to no pollution control. At the end of a day of exploring we would return to our guest house covered in grime, light headed and coughing from their polluted air. There is no sky in these cities, only a brown haze hovering overhead like storm clouds on a gloomy day.

I’ve been disconnected from most of the campaign rhetoric flying around in the US right now, but I know for a 15 minute new cycle, the “job killing” EPA was the topic of derision.

Do these presidential candidates want to do what’s best for our country and the American people really think we would be better off without environmental protection? Is the EPA really a job-killing monster as decried?

During America’s balmy summers, who hasn’t experienced an Eco-Action day? I know from living in Bushwick, near cement factories, on a hot day after a run, I’d return home gasping for air – a mixture of pollution and a touch of asthma it likely triggered. And this is with EPA protection.

In other places like West Virginia, with it’s depressed economy and denuded landscape, mountains flatted and water poisoned with the slurry need to process the coal, could it be worse?

An alternative as proposed where anyone can do as they please in the pursuit of profit? Dump chemicals into rivers, spit sulfur into the air or doing nothing to reduce the agricultural and sewage running into the Gulf of Mexico that’s significantly contributing to Red Tide?

I don’t claim to have a panacea, but I do know that our problems need to be addressed through a careful balance of strengthening the EPA and their enforcement abilities and promoting sustainable growth. One could argue that costs will increase (ex. carbon tax) and that business (or the American people) could not afford or stomach any additional price hike.

In the developing world, increasing vehicle efficiency and especially devising a way to make mopeds and scooters less polluting would do wonders to cut back on the noxious haze. No doubt scientists are researching (at least I hope) ways to do this and reproduce the technology cheaply at scale.

One catch phrase often heard is corporate responsibility. If the companies that manufacture these vehicles: Honda and Yamaha, the most common in this part of the world, took full responsibility for the consequences of their product would they remain solvent?

Doubtfully. So it’s a balance that must be sought.

If the candidates with ambition to lead our country and arguably the world (although not in environmental protection even under the status quo) had their way with the EPA, pitting profits against American’s environment and health, who would win?

Actuaries put a value on human life and it seems the candidates have as well.

So much for sunny days.

Posted by bucketbath 06:28 Archived in Indonesia Tagged bali beach indonesia travel china air gili lombok pollution fresh epa Comments (2)

Gentlemen, Start Your Razors: Movember 2011

Fighting Prostate Cancer One 'Stache at a Time

So, if you're inclined to cultivate a mustache as a member of the Mitzvah Vontses or want to show your support for the fight against prostate cancer through a donation to the team, please click on the below link(s)

To join the team: https://www.movember.com/us/register/details/team_id/225506

To donate to the team:


To donate to the team VIA my Movember page:


Posted by bucketbath 15:58 Archived in Indonesia Tagged jakarta indonesia singapore travel fun fundraising shave movember mustache cancer beard prostate shaving Comments (2)

On a quest for glory

Joanie and MIcah conquer Bromo and Kawah Ijen

Our "near death" volcano hike started off 2 days prior with a nail biting, 12hr, mini bus ride from Yogyaharta to the Bromo region. The driver started to dose off within the first 3 hours of our trip. Micah and I, along with our 2 new companions, Eric and Anna, spent the remaining 9hrs keeping a watchful eye on our drowsy chauffeur. After a long day of traveling, we arrived at our chilly homestay which appeared to be balanced on the edge of the crater overlooking Gunung Bromo. We settled down for 4 hrs of sleep and woke up at 3:30am to pile into a Jeep to catch the sunrise. There were touts selling T-shirts, winter hats, coffee and horse rides for the less physically fit, along the steep path to the overlook. I was amazed that we were greeted with coffee and t-shirts at 4am! This became the running joke over the next 2 days. You want horse? Only R50,000.00.

Following a stunning sunrise and an all you can eat breakfast overlooking Gunung Bromo, we loaded our packs back into the mini bus to start another days journey to Kawah Ijen. We arrived at our next destination with just enough time for showers, dinner and a four hour nap. We awoke at 11:45pm and spent the entire night hiking to the top of Kawah Ijen, down into the crater, and back up to the crest again in time for sunrise. Just as we were wondering when the T-shirts and horses would show up , we were enticed with miniature, sulfur carved turtles from the miners-as if 100kilos of sulfur on their backs wasn't enough!

Check out the video, dramatic music (as always) is included!

Posted by bucketbath 07:59 Archived in Indonesia Comments (4)

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