Indonesia: Flores, Kanawa, Rinca

Last but not least.
IMG_2569Jurassic Park


Trekking around Rinca Island in search of Komodos.


The stick that is supposed to protect us.


Fay and Ty were extremely excited to see some dragons.


Komodo Dragon in the distance!



Tough to get a good shot…the guides wouldn’t let Ty get any closer. Odd.

IMG_2522Incredible snorkeling here.

IMG_2465A few of the 17,000 islands comprising Indonesia.

IMG_2513Watching the baby sharks from the dock.

IMG_2579We spent a lot of time in the water.

IMG_2510Kanawa Island 

IMG_2478 IMG_2496 IMG_2508 IMG_2583

The End of our 100 day journey.

Komodo National Park: This refers to a greater marine national park that encompasses several islands and a whole lot of ocean. We stayed on the island of Kanawa (only one bungalow resort on the island, nothing else) and from there took several excursions snorkeling, diving, and of course, searching for Komodo Dragons. 

The Ocean: Ty was shooting himself for not having an underwater camera here. We were shocked at the beauty of the underwater landscape. The colorful hard and soft corals were so abundant we felt like we were swimming in a well-manicured aquarium. We saw hundreds of new fish, octopi, turtles, sharks, dolphins, sting rays, and 8 manta rays. Ty even saw a manta ray breaching! All in just a few snorkel and dive excursions, not bad. This was Ty’s favorite place of the entire trip. Where else can you see Komodo dragons after going on the best dives and snorkeling excursions of your life?  It would be the perfect place, except the ocean here can be quite dangerous. Strong currents are the norm, and down currents are not uncommon. The nearest hospital is a one hour boat ride to Flores, followed by a 90 minute flight to Bali, so we advise not getting hurt or deathly ill here.

Komodos: We took a guided hike on Rinca Island (mandatory) in order to fulfill Ty’s quest of seeing Komodo Dragons in the wild. We saw 6. The highlight of the excursion was watching a mother patrolling her nest with her long slithering forked tongue. Ty loved every minute of our trek and couldn’t have been more pleased. Sloane, on the other hand, did not share Ty’s sentiments. She was too busy stressing about Fay’s safety (of which the guides indeed expressed their concern) and dealing with hordes of mosquitoes. 

The End: This was the last place we visited before making the long and arduous journey back to Utah. Is this the end of the blog? Not quite. We haven’t even started waxing philosophical yet.

A Week in Bali

IMG_2283 Entering the Monkey Forest
IMG_2320Ty & Fay stroll around while Sloane is treated to a pedicure.

IMG_2328Exploring temples around Ubud

IMG_2339Sarongs were mandatory in temple areas, so Ty used Fay’s baby blanket.

IMG_2342The Landscape.

IMG_2303Fay loved watching the monkeys.

IMG_2264Hotel grounds.

IMG_2344Checking out some ruins.

IMG_2350 IMG_2356Bathing in the holy springs temple.

IMG_2379Civet-ingested-digested-fermented-excreted coffee beans. Very expensive.

IMG_2388Kintamani volcano

IMG_2392Rice terraces.

IMG_2458The Legong Dance

IMG_2311Fay says bye bye to her little friends.

Bali: We spent most of our time around Ubud, a city located near the center of the island. Bali has the most rich and enchanting culture we’ve experienced, and we barely scratched the surface. Perhaps it’s because we’ve never spent time in areas where Hinduism is so prominent, but we found everything extremely fascinating to learn about. We constantly pestered the locals with questions- “What’s that flower petal behind your ear? Why do you have an offering on your dashboard? Can you tell us more about Brahma, Shiva, & Vishnu? What is that person wearing? Why are they sprinkling water on our heads? What’s this giant parade all about?”  The list goes on and on.  We loved immersing ourselves in the art, music, dance, architecture, and history of the region. Not to mention the beautiful landscape.  

Our Hotel: Our bungalow hotel was completely integrated into the top of a steep jungle ravine about 15 min. from Ubud.  The bungalows were very nice, the food was delicious, the landscaping was incredible, and the views were surreal.  Sloane was very excited to get out of this place. Why? Because like all jungles, this one was home to many other things besides our hotel. We saw more new species of insects there in one day than we have in the past 20 years.  And someone in our little family whose name starts with an “S” has arachnophobia.  Poor little ‘S’ slept in constant fear for 5 nights straight. (The fear wasn’t completely unwarranted, we did see large spiders on a daily basis, including one that could easily wrap around our heads). 

Christmas in Singapore

Ty surprised Sloane by taking her to Singapore for Christmas. 

IMG_2213Orchard Road

IMG_2247Typical shopping mall. 

IMG_2222 Acting like a big girl
IMG_2227 Gardens by the Bay
IMG_2209 Chinatown
IMG_2219Christmas at the Hyatt

IMG_2260Writing our wishes for the New Year

Singapore: Wildly different from the rest of Southeast Asia. Singapore is the closest thing to Utopia we’ve seen. The city is literally sparkling clean. Every inch is manicured to perfection, both above and underground.  We proudly toted Sloane’s 12 year-old Jansport backpack around as we strolled past stores like Gucci, Coach, and Prada every 2 seconds. Ty thinks you can travel across the entire city without ever leaving a shopping mall. Though the sheer amount of consumerism can be a bit nauseating, Singapore is so classy we didn’t seem to mind. Best window shopping of all time (Ty explicitly forbid any real shopping). 

Christmas: Singapore was a very nice and comfortable place to be for Christmas in Southeast Asia. However, the magic and special spirit surrounding the holidays was quite noticeably absent. Nothing  compares to being surrounded by snow,family, and church Christmas activities. Obvious conclusion: home is always the best possible place for the holidays.

Tickets Home: From about December 21st- December 27th we were seriously considering coming home early. Ty decided to claim he had three diseases attacking him at once, causing a chemical imbalance of the brain and leaving him quite useless as a husband and father. Fay contracted Hand, Foot, & Mouth disease and was sleeping even worse than usual, and Sloane was extremely fatigued trying to deal with it all.  We were completely drained of all physical, intellectual, and emotional energy. Luckily we pushed through though, and the challenging times gave way to some of the best experiences of our trip.