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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Misadventures in Diving

Desi and I also spent a not so busy day diving near Menjangan Island (Deer Island). It is a national park and the waters are protected from the usual currents around Indonesia. The reefs are in quite good shape and I did see some lovely clownfish, scorpionfish, a small lionfish as well as several interesting nudibrachs.

The final disaster (to date on this trip) for Desi was the onset of a crippling headache at the end of the first dive. She could barely raise her head after exitin the water and was profoundly lightheaded too. The divemaster had to help her off with her equipment as she sat paralyzed by this blinding headache. Perhaps it was the heat or maybe lack of proper hydration or maybe a combination of the two. This headache did not let up until about an hour and a half. She reported feeling 98% better. However, about 7 minutes into our second dive, she had to abort the dive as her headache returned. She surfaced quickly as the divemaster and I completed the remainder for this second 55 minute dive. I beginning to worry that she had a case of decompression illness and recalled that the nearest decompression chamber was in Singapore (2.5hours away by air).

Thankfully, she recovered and all seemed well on the ride home. After dinner, she had a precipitous relapse of lightheadness and nausea. She went to bed immediately. I hope this is not a harbinger of her future experiences in diving as the next stop in her vacation was a seven day liveaboard trip in Palau. One further insight into what may have been the cause came from Wayan, the divemaster. He commented that she had issues with buoyancy. Her depth would fluctuate rapidly during the dive and hence, the wild changes in baro pressure may have contributed to her headache. Sadly, not the first time I have heard this comment about her diving.

Ubud and Tanah Lot

Desi and I did manage to leave the resort on two day trips. The first was to to area about Ubud, the cultural and artscentre of Bali. The most amazing trait of the various "factories" from the silversmiths to the Batik makers to the wood carvers is the attention to detail.
There was a 70 year old woman putting micro size silver petals on flower earrings....see the above pictures. Another episode of Desi's unlucky adventures occured at the start of the trip. Her digital camera of only a year old malfunctioned. The LCD screen colours were totally off. Everyone's skin looked ashade of green or blue making Hulks and Beasts of all in the camera's eye. I think this may be the monitor only and suggested she not give up on the camera. Unfortunately, she did not takeany other above water pictures of Bali. Thankfully her dive camera was in working condition. I did suggest that maybe she should try to get the camera repaired before buying another one....but she seems set on getting a new one after seeing my newest toy.
We did a little bit of shopping in the Batik (fabric printing), Silverand Wood carving factories. I did try my hand at some bargaining and did get them to lower their prices to about 60% of the asking price atone locale. The Neka Art Museum was also stop....yes there was some mordern art as well interesting photographs of Bali from before WWII. The day ended with a wonderful sunset viewing of Tanah Lot Temple...there is never a bad sunset in Bali. This Hindu temple is carved from a rock on the beach. At high tide, the temple is isolated from the mainland. Waves crash along its side making it quite a tourist attraction at dusk.

Bali Resort

Medewi Beach resort seems the perfect get a away. There are no land lines, no internet and a few TV channels accessible by satellite. Just the way I like it. This area of Bali is noted for its black sandbeaches. However, the long stretches of the beaches remind me of Pelican Beach in the Bahamas where I last had a romantic walk with Hippo.

It was the rainy season but on most days, it rained for but 2 hours in the afternoon before clearing up to offer that gorgeous Balinese sunset. The pool at the resort was a lovely oasis from the humidity of the day. Desi and I relaxed by the pool and enjoyed a Balinese massage and facial treatment.

My episode of vomiting in Singapore only lasted 24hrs which means it was likely food poisoning. No problems with sampling the diet of Indonesia.

In the continuing adventures of Desi's luck, we can add another chapter....the missed flight. She stayed in Manila overnight after flying from Toronto. She was to catch her flight to Bali at around 10am. However, she misread the flight departure time at noon and missed her flight by 2 hours. Singapore Airlines was quite flexible and she managed to get on a later flight at only an added cost of $50. She arrived at shortly before midnight instead the expected time of 10pm. Needless to say, I was fast asleep.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Singapore Food

In no particular order, these are just some of my favourite foods in Singapore. The next evolution of technology should incoporate some element of taste or smell. Boy am I hungry again.


Chili Crab (Left)

Gado Gado (Below)

Mee Siam (Hawker Stall)
Fish Head Curry (Banana Leaf Apollo)

Sleepless Birthday

Okay it is 3:30am and I just woke up after going to bed at 6:30pm yesterday. This jet lag thing is quite drag with the additional bonus that I have to work tomorrow. Thankfully, Red didn't put me on call (so considerate and so knowledgeable that it is my birthday today). However, given my sleep alterations, being on call may not be a bad thing.

Hippo picked me up from the airport at 6:30am yesterday morning. Poor fellow was rather tired too. I unpacked my clothes, souvenirs too and washed and put everything away before heading to bed 12 hours later.

So after lying in bed for the past hour, I answered my emails (personal and office), paid my bills (internet, snail mail), sent some books to my sister nardac for her birthday and am now proceeding to organize my photos from the trip. Gradually becoming more tired again.

Can't wait to fall asleep at tonight's birthday meal. What a way to begin my 34th year of existence.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Internet access

Well for a country with lots of computers, my search for free internet access has ended with great success. These coffee shops and mobile phone stores in Singapore were the jackpot. So what has happened in the past week.

I paid a surprise visit of a former vice principal of mine, Miss D, with my sister's godmother and wouldn't you know it but she recogized me despite the fact she hadn't seen me in almost 25 years. She could identify that I was one of two daughters that my mom had. Although she could not recall my name or if I was the first or second daughter.

The list of food is quite endless but I have documented each meal with my camera which will feature in a future blog.

I have been out with my cousin, Tym quite a few times including a lovely Tiffin at the Raffles Hotel. She was not surprised to know Mr. Hippo...given that she reads my blog and has access to the pictures on Flickr too this should come as no surprise.

I had also been to Man Fatt Temple, the temple where my maternal grandparents reside in the afterworld apartments of urns. Lots of renovations to the temple have been done but there seemed to be more monks about that I recall.

One of my mother's brothers brought me here. He is losing his hair and his wife is losing her hearing. She seems to shout rather than talk to everyone. After visiting Man Fatt Temple, it was off to have a grand dinner of chilli crabs, black pepper baby squid and a noodle dish called meegoreng.

No shoe purchases to date but my cousin's husband Terz, took me shopping for a new digital camera. Now, I am the proud owner of aCanon IXUS 850 IS....7.1 mpeg with image stabilization (just what a drunk photographer or underwater photographer needs). I did check out the camera on line and there is an associated underwater housing available too. Nothing like a little technology to please miss gadgetgirl.

Unfortunately I had a bout of food poisoning likely from the meal with my godmother and her family. It did not surface literally until I was out with another family friend and also our lawyer. She was quite thoughtful when last evening's activities was cut short after I threw up three times after dinner.The night however was not without a little shopping success in LittleIndia. I did obtain a few Bollywood films: Mangel Pandey and Devdas.

Despite the recent illness, I am looking forward to the last dish on my must eat list in Singapore: Fish Head Curry.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A quiet day

Well the jet lag finally caught up with me. I slept through most of yesterday afternoon and evening. Thankfully i have gone out to get some fine dining: gado gado and rojak to sustain. My aunt's place in addition to a lack of home computer also lacks any real food in the refrigerator. I did buy some soya milk, regular milk and fruit too.

It is suprisingly easy to get a sim card, phone number and prepaid calling cards in Singapore as a visitor. So now my relatives can contact me any time and anywhere. Even managed to get some groceries for my sister and mother.

I did discover that I have the same shoe size as my aunt which is quite a joy as I did not bring any flats to Singapore....silly me and we share the same taste in movies: serious, and subtitled i.e. foreign. I even watched Ararat, a Canadian movie, I do acknowledge the irony of watching this in Singapore.

Today, my cousin and I did a brief tour of the soon to be torn down National Stadium. There is even a Sports museum in stadium. I didn't know there was a Grand Pree in Singapore. Built in 1973 but soon to replaced by something newer and more modern. Such is the way of Singapore.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Returning to the Native

It has been a busy build up to my trip to Singapore. I finally got my car back from the body shop and the repair is quite amazing. Then my computer also came back from the repair shop after being bogged down by adware ads! The flight or rather flights to Singapore were uneventful.

Trans-pacific flights have much in common with the field ofobstetrics. The sleep deprivation for one thing is easier to dealwith. I did manage to grab a solid three hours on the flight leg from Toronto to Vancouver, another 5 hours on the Vancouver to Soeul portion and another four hours from the Seoul to Singapore leg. 'Tis a gift to sleep upright in an uncomfortable chair but that's another skill I mastered as a resident in obstetrics.

Then there is the eternity of sheer boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror (bad turbulence) or joy (the arrival). In obstetrics,this would be the equivalent of waiting for the delivery and then having to do a stat C-section (terror) or then the birth (joy).

Finally, the very close quarters and lack of space which recall theliving conditions of Roman galley slaves predispose to a DVT...blood clot which forms in the leg which may fragment and migrate to the lungs...extremely bad. Naturally, after my left leg became swollen on the third and final leg of my flight, I became concerned.
There was no pain in the leg and the skin colour remained unchanged (both good things). By the following morning it was back to normal. After experiecing this degree of pedal edema, I will soon be doning TEDs pressure stockings. This does not bode well for future pregnancies.

After arriving at about ten after midnight, I then had some roti plata (great dish consisting of indian bread and curry dish) with my cousin and her family. Then it was off to my aunt's place. It is a gorgeous apartment on the sixteenth floor. Although the night was warm, there was a cool breeze blowing through the place.

Her apartment though is most certainly not kid or pet friendly. It has a NC-19 rating: you would need to be a mature individual of at least 19 years to enter. The place is decorated with loads of paintings, rugs and ceramics as well as other antiques. The most striking thing is the lack of a home computer (by choice of course).

I have contacted my uncles and soon to enjoy some family time in the next few days. For today, I walked a bit about the Merlion Park and Esplande (one of the newest malls in Singapore). The Merlion is the symbol of Singapore (at least the one adopted by the tourism board) and sits at the mouth of the Singapore river. It has the head of a lion and the body of a fish...hence the name.

The Esplande is home to the new arts centre (performing and visual). The building itselfi s quite controversial as it resembles a local fruit called the durian. That's art for you.