Sebis photo blog

Sebis photo blog

Ubud and surroundings

Posted 7 March 2011

Here are a few impressions of Ubud and its surroundings.
We went to see some rice terraces, coffee plants, the only water temple (according to our guide) and the elephant caves – which got nothing to do with elephants.
Notice that rabies dog… As much as we usually love dogs – we didn’t get close to a single one here on Bali.

Off to Singapore now!

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Sebastian @ 02:23
Category: Indonesia, photography, Travel
Nyepi in Ubud

Posted 5 March 2011

Nyepi – or “Balinese New Year” aka “Day of Silence”.

So what did we do today? Nothing really.
Got up, had breakfast, walked around the hotel premises, took some pictures, wrote my blog (you wouldn’t have noticed, would you?), had lunch, surfed the internet.

Last night therefore, we went to Ubud Central and watched the parade. There were some really incredible monsters and lots of people celebrating.

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Sebastian @ 15:16
Category: Indonesia, photography, Travel
Gili T from its dry side

Posted 5 March 2011

… if you can speak of “dry” during the wet season…
Actually it wasn’t too bad. We did have massive, soaking rain falls, flooding and all that – but it’s always just for an hour or two – the rest of the day was mostly fine (still cloudy though).

We were a bit surprised to see an “Aldi shop” on Gili T.
Oh – and there also was a grand opening of a “German Restaurant: Extrablatt”. fake…….

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Sebastian @ 14:50
Category: Indonesia, photography, Travel
Underwater Gilis

Posted 5 March 2011

Unfortunately I couldn’t use my 7D for too many pictures underwater because the flash mount broke (NOT underwater)… So the first pictures are 7D with flash, then some 7D without and then it’s back to my 10yr-old Olympus 4040z.
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Sebastian @ 07:54
Category: Indonesia, photography, Travel
Bali & Gili Trawangan

Posted 2 March 2011

Boarding the JetStar flight JQ81 from Darwin to Denpasar made us feel like boarding a tourist charter plane from Germany to Mallorca – or UK to Cyprus. Many of the passengers were noisy, drunk and not familiar with most of the inflight protocol/behavior.

Good that we wouldn’t stay on Kuta, but were heading on to Gili T straight next morning.

The 2.5h flight was calm otherwise except a few strong bumps during our decent into Bali. The captain promised “clear skies” which was true for the time of landing, but everything was flooded when we left the terminal building about half an hour or so later. Immigrations and customs was easy to pass but Indonesia charges a USD25 fee for getting a 30 day visa – probably a left over of bribery which was made official law.

We found our transfer to the hotel after a few minutes of getting orientated and trying to find our name on one of the roughly 2 billion signs with names on it. The ride to our hotel took about 10-15 minutes and we quickly realized why we would not want to rent ANY vehicle on Bali: traffic rules seem to be more of a guideline than actual rules. Generally speaking they drive on the left side of the road, but mostly in the middle and sometimes on the right towards oncoming traffic. The first one to use his horn gets the right of way – or something.
At first I thought it was because the roads turned into a 20cm deep river but that behavior didn’t change next morning when it was dry.

The hotel was like a small oasis in the middle of chaotic Tuban. Unfortunately we only spend a short night there and I didn’t take any photos.
Money exchange turned out to be a bit of a problem in the middle of the night and we had to stick to the hotels reception. They couldn’t change more than USD150 though. So, how much would we get for it? Well…. If you think that money is money and that you will get the same exchange rate for $100, $100, $50 and $20 bills- think again. First of all the bills must be printed later than 2006. Larger bills have a stronger exchange rate than smaller bills. As for $100s: depending on the serial number, you would get different rates. A weird world….

We were ready early next morning, just having breakfast and waiting for our pick-up to the boat which would bring us to Gili Trawangan.
The ride to the harbor took about an hour, the traffic was still chaotic and 90% of all vehicles seem to be scooters. Sometimes we would see scooters with up to 4 people riding it: the driver would put a small child (barley able to stand) between his legs, another child behind him and another person behind that. Of course the driver would be the only one to wear a helmet – but only on faster roads. One don’t seem to need a helmet when going under a certain speed (on Cook Islands that speed was 40kph, not sure if it’s the same in Indonesia).

The speedboat to Lombok and the Gilis didn’t seem very speedy to me, but it was fast enough. The trip took about 1.5 hours. Other than a few dolphins on the way nothing much was happening.

The main street of Gili T is about a km in length – and that’s about one fourth or one fifth of the whole island – all around and along the beach!
And back in 2009 I thought Rarotonga was small… ;)
Our hotel was about 400m from the jetty, but the boats are hardly using it and instead just land directly on the shallow beach.

We spent the first day walking up and down the main strip of Gili T and checking out restaurants, bars, diving schools and shops. That means pretty much everything because there is nothing else. Inparticulary there are no motor vehicles. All transport is done by “Cidomo” – or horse/pony cart.
Most restaurants seem to a have a similar menu – and that means an international menu. You can get pizza and pasta, burger, schnitzel, mexican, salads and usually there is a small, cheaper section with local, indonesian food. Prices are between 30.000 Rp and 70.000 Rp (50.000 Rp is about 4,10€ or NZ$ 7,55). Interestingly enough quite a few of those restaurants offer WiFi Internet access. It’s not fast, but it’s usable. I won’t try to upload any pictures though. ;)

Over the next days I was diving, while Babs enjoyed herself getting massages, reading at the pool, sunbathing and snorkeling at the beach.

Diving was really interesting: first of all most dive sites have a strong current so that you are usually drifting and the boat will pick you up wherever you surface at the end of the dive. The underwater world is (very) slowly recovering, but decades of dynamite-fishing destroyed most of the coral and you are basically diving a massive graveyard/junkyard of dead coral and blown-to-pieces rock. The variety of fish and other marine life is still (or again?) astonishing. Many turtles, a few white and black tip reef sharks, rays….. I won’t start on the smaller ones. ;)
My new camera case is working great underwater. Unfortunately my flash (mount) is broken. I’ll need to have it repaired when I’m in Germany. I might be able to use it but it’s not sitting tight on the camera anymore.

Sebastian @ 04:45
Category: Indonesia, Travel
Creepy Crawlies – Part III

Posted 27 February 2011

You didn’t think there were more?

Well….

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Sebastian @ 07:44
Category: Australia, photography, Travel
Darwin & Litchfield National Park

Posted 25 February 2011

Our time in Darwin was brief – we just had two nights here and since it was wet season even that seemed to be too long. Nothing was going on…. ;)
We hired a car to drive to the closest National Park (Litchfield) and spent a day there. Unfortunately there was soo much water in the streams and rivers that we couldn’t even go for a swim. Infact, we had a few spots where the water was flowing over the road or walkways.
We saw giant termite mounds, some of them almost not visible because of the grass which was about 2 meters in height itself.

When pulling up at one car park we noticed that the air was especially smokey and then we heard some sizzling and cracking… Bush fires during the wet season? Apparently. There was a ranger looking at the area and he wasn’t really concerned. “That’s what we want.” he said. The fires would thin out the vegetation and it was cold enough with some rain coming, so it wouldn’t spread too wide. For us it was impressive anyway and we decided to leave the immediate area and head on to the next waterfall. :)

We will be leaving Darwin in about an hour and fly over to Bali. We are staying in Kuta for the night and head on to Gili Trawangan tomorrow. After a week on Gili T we take the boat back to Bali where we will spend another 3 days in Ubud. It’s going to be interesting to experience “Nyepi Day” – the “Day of Silence” or Balinese New Year. On this day no one is allowed to go on the streets. Actually no one is allowed to do ANYTHING. Traffic is stopped, the airport will be closed, no public transport, no TV, no nothing. The evil spirits shall be fooled into thinking that the Island was abandoned.

I don’t expect to have any internet connection, so don’t expect any updates for the next 2 weeks.

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Sebastian @ 10:42
Category: Australia, photography, Travel
Barossa Valley & Adelaide (pics)

Posted 25 February 2011

Here are the pictures that I didn’t upload with my last post.

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Sebastian @ 00:32
Category: Australia, photography, Travel
Barossa Valley & Adelaide

Posted 22 February 2011

I finished my last post with “The Great Ocean Road is waiting for us!” – well….. it still is! And it still will for quiet a while, because we didn’t make it: We messed up our route. Apparently our brains were on holidays (or rather one was, the other one was way too busy working), but we booked a motel on the direct route. The “Western Highway” runs inland between Melbourne and Adelaide – about 200km from the coast and thus the Great Ocean Road.
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Sebastian @ 15:05
Category: Australia, Travel
Melbourne – Wellington • return please

Posted 18 February 2011

We’ve been back to Wellington this week.

It was fun to stay in our old flat – this time in the guest-room, as Tina – a sailing mate of Babs – moved in back in December.
It was good to catch up with everyone even though I’ve been working for the week and some of our dear friends were touring the south island and missed us by a day. I also took my full motorbike license test on Tuesday (successfully of course)!
Barbara took the chance to get her indefinite (permanent) residency visa as well as her NZ international drivers license.

We will be picking up some stuff that we left with a friend of ours (plus a new lens that I ordered to his address: 100mm/2.8L Macro) and then head of towards Adelaide tomorrow morning.

The Great Ocean Road is waiting for us. :)

Sebastian @ 10:40
Category: Travel