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by bondingwithmyimaginaryfriend

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RTW-career-gap-year kinda mission till June 2010, I think.

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Interesting Bugs

(viewed 635 times)
With apologies to Morrisey. Is corrupting a song title for an email subject allowable? I think so. I'll find out it was probably The Smiths and not Moz. But much like Sisters of Mercy, in my opinion, the man is pretty much the band.

Anyway, as usual I digress. To get to business and for want of knowledge I call this the 1-legged-leaf-insect-grasshopper.

Habitat the bathroom. Seems to like the light of energysaving bulb in there. Or that it's relatively dry in there. The white walls don't do much for his camouflage though. If he, or she, breeds one might see white ones in the distant future, Darwin permitting. I won't be here to capture it I'm afraid.

I suspect the 1 leggedness may be attributed to the massive spider that frequents the same bathroom. Or perhaps the gekos.

To be frank, I think the spiders and gekos should concentrate their efforts on eating more bloody mosquitos instead.

I truly resent being a bipedal bloodbank.
15th Nov 2009, 03:06   comments (0)

Rain keeps falling, rain keeps falling

(viewed 447 times)
down, down...

Don't you forget about me was it INXS? Or Crowded House? An Antipodean band I am sure. I'd Google it if I could.

Heralded by the darkening sky, a midday dusk. The rain arrives, hissing and drumming.

The big drops pelt to the ground with uncommon violence. Ankle deep Puddles form quickly. Anything not under cover is drenched in seconds.

It's the wet season alright.
12th Nov 2009, 09:50   comments (3)

Ombak Indah

(viewed 809 times)
This is the view from the rickety viewing platform. A ramshackle affair of sunbleached wooden planks, rusty nails and rotted through in places holes.

The name of the losmen I am staying at translates to "beautiful wave".

It is a beautiful wave. Fun to surf, not too serious. An easy walk through the lagoon. Most days, a hop skip and a jump to the backline. Somedays a bit of a dragging over the reef.

I have yet to surf it at serious size, so my opinion might be changed.
8th Nov 2009, 08:43   comments (3)

Two butterflies

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I wonder if the start of the wet season here in Sumatra is also the start of the breeding season.

These 2 seem to think so. From the distance I first spotted them I thought it was 1 butterfly with big wings.

On closer I saw it was 2. Surprisingly they can still fly when attached at the, hip? The word ovipositor springs to mind. Not sure why.
7th Nov 2009, 04:29   | tags:,,comments (2)

The GPRS fork

(viewed 585 times)
Or how to fix a mobile internet dongle when one has no tools in the arse end of nowhere.

Let's face it, Rote is pretty remote. Not the kinda place one pops out for a soldering iron and a miniature torx bit for your jewellery sized screwdriver set. Hyperbole? Me? Never...

My good host has a GSM USB dongle for his laptop. Handy to get an internet connection every now and then. As the signal is so bad at his house he purchase the optional extra aerial in a very fetching black.

To get the aerial right into the roof, in a room on the upper storey, the base of the aerial is gaffer taped to a 2 metre plastic pole. Whence from an extension lead snakes down and connects the 2 together.

After a mysterious midnight visitor, the doors are never locked here, the tiny co-axial connector of the extension lead broke out of the dongle.

Alas, alak! No signal. I put the best of my IT troubleshooting skills to work on the issue and deduced that the extra bit now attached to the connector is in fact part of the internal aerial.

In a word, screwed. One might be tempted to use more profane language, such as my host might have. This is a family orientated blog and I'd hate to possibly offend my 2, maybe 3, regular readers.

However, my hypothesis needed to be tested. So off we trundled into town, closer to the big mast to see if I deduced correctly.

Having found an open eatery I set to work. My mate had a bite to eat. Booting up the laptop closer to the mast made no real difference.

So I devised an acid test. In South Africa there is an Afrikaans saying "'n Boer maak 'n plan". literally "a farmer makes a plan". Grab the fork, bend a prong, insert into the dongle, gently fiddle a bit till the contacts are covered and Hey Presto! Sinyal bagus! 5 bars, there you are. A connection was made and all was well.

If anyone out there in Moblog land has a role for me starting June 2010 I'd be most appreciative. I need a job when I return. I think it's a pretty good example of thinking outside the box... Wait for the punchline...

Except for the forking inconvenience...
31st Oct 2009, 14:30   comments (0)

The road to Ba'a

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The good Dr A. invited me up to Ba'a. She had some business to attend to in what amounts to the biggest town on the island. Little did I realise I was being roped in as chauffeur.

We were delayed by my forgetting of the apology mango and my international drivers licence. The apology mango was for some perceived slight. As I have more than enough I was willing to play along.

But once on the open road my (t)rusty steed really came into it's own... by overheating and springing an ominous oil leak. This was 20 minutes into the trip.

I was deposited on the side of the road, on a rude bench, beneath the shade of a very big tree and the good doctor nursed the blue patient back to town to collect her newer, more able scooter.

The small village had the usual gaggle of giggling, curious school children who came to say "Hello mister" and peer over my shoulder as I caught up on some messages, typing on my phone.

I surreptitiously tried to take a picture, but these kids are wise to camera phones it seems. Just after I took this picture the doctor arrived on her mean machine and I was once again James.

What a revelation that bike was. Brakes that stopped firm and fast, rather than spongily and lethargically. Acceleration up hill, rather than being left in the dust by the cow carts. Suspension that absorbed, rather than intensified, every single bump, pothole and rut on the road.

The simple pleasures in a travelling life.
28th Oct 2009, 07:49   comments (2)

Lifestyles of the...

(viewed 353 times)
seemingly rich and apparently famous.

I went on Dr A's "rounds" with her this morning. This was the first stop.

Mr D. is, the good doctor tells me, a rather famous author. I didn't get to meet him as there was noone home. A bit of a shame really. His house is magnificent, with an unbelievable view.

Built by Balinese craftsmen the attention to detail and care put into every aspect is evident. For instance, the downstairs outer perimeter floors are made up of pebbles set into concrete. The designs you can see are created with different shades of pebble. Around the corner there are fish and birds. Very artistic and time consuming to create. Truly blissful to walk on barefoot I tell you.

The rest of the downstairs undercover space is tiled with what could be marble. I am far too poor to tell what type of stone it is. Looks good though.

The concrete beams supporting the upstairs living area are covered in small bits of local rock. This type of rock is usually used for boundary walls in Nembrala.

Finally upstairs appears to be all made of wood. The floor and walls look to be, the roof possibly tiled. I am hoping sustainably farmed wood was used. Am sure it would be.

Unlike some of the homes I have seen in holiday destinations around the world this one is aesthetically pleasing and tastefully done. Lavish and opulent fit in there too.

That dear readers, is just the outside I saw. One wonders what wonders one would encounter wandering around upstairs.

Now I need a Monty Pythonesque voiceover saying "I'm awfully sorry, that was terribly silly" or something to that effect. You can tell I have not been for a surf, I become somewhat inane.

Dr A. is good fun, but I don't practice enough Indonesian. With her and Dr O's fluent English I have become lazy. It'll come around to haunt me, this period of learning I could've used.

In my defence, I am planning my remaining month here in Indonesia with military precision.
25th Oct 2009, 07:57   comments (3)

Green and brown and blue

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Yesterday was an interesting day.

To be fair to all the preceding days in my life, most of them were pretty interesting too. Usually one learns a new fact or sees something different every day. Part time courses help in that regard. As do hobbies. Much to my chagrin, so does TV. Yesterday was a bit of both; learning and seeing.

It looked to be another repeat of the last few days since the swell has died. Eat lots. Talk to the neighbours. Maybe paddle in the sea out front. Eat some more. Read. Sleep. I think the word is indolent? I did try inject a bit of variety.

I sat at Signal Shack and on impulse took pictures of the traffic, such as it were. 4 scooters, 45 minutes and a hot and bothered photographer later put paid to that time wasting, er, useful endeavour.

As I sat planning my escape from here I had unexpected guests. Well, I didn't, my host did. The island's resident doctor, Dr A, dropped in as he had invited her around to do some email and internet stuff. My host is still AWOL in Kupang.

So being the good surroguest host, I entertained the 2 visitors. Dr A had brought with her the resident doctor from Ndau, Dr O. He is on a 2 week holiday on Rote. Ndau is a tiny island off the coast of Rote.

Dr A is an exuberant and infectiously happy person, with a sense of fun and humour that belies her possible middle age. I find it difficult to accurately guess ages here. The Indonesians appear to age very well.

Dr O is a young man, recently qualified and breaking the apron strings. He grew up in Jakarta and had lived at home all his life prior to this move. Quieter and more reserved, he did give us a fascinating insight into his favourite style of preWagnerian Italian opera. The coversation meandered all over a variety of topics; Dr O being almost a pawn in local politics, the non payment of local government staff for the past few months, my experiences of growing up in South Africa and so on and so forth.

They were taking their leave to visit another friend, a French chap called Jerome, when I was invited to go with. Have scooter, will travel.

We went through the small village of Bo'a and then carried on the island circular road. This had, in places deteriorated into a very dusty,rocky, dirt track. Dr O had to get off the scooter every so often so Dr A, who drives like a maniac, could traverse the steep, gravelly slopes.

We arrived at Jerome's compound. Beautiful but remote. A very isolated place to live.

This photo is from the other side of the little bay that Jerome's house fronts onto. His house is actually not in the picture, being farther over to the right.

In the foreground you can see the parched brown, lifeless grass. We drove past huge swathes of grass like this, grey, seemingly dead grass. The cows and goats still grazing on that. It is the end of the dry season, which is why everything is so dehydrated.

In the background you see the verdant green plantlife where there is water, a variety of bushes and trees growing in the ample light.

Sandwiched between the 2, a thin strip of blinding white sand and the azure and everpresent turquoise ocean.

To my mind, those are the colours of Rote.
25th Oct 2009, 00:55   comments (0)