Archive for April, 2013

Time for another vacation yet?

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

We were unceremoniously thrown back into work this week – can I go back to Indonesia, please?

I was happy to see that my back-up handled pretty much everything while I was gone – so nice to come back and not have fires to put out. That said, it is the season for employee evaluation reports (EER), so I was busy proofing reports for review panels and writing EERs for staff. The week flew by, and I spent all day Saturday and half of today (Sunday) trying to catch up.

We have two new officers starting work on Monday, so that’s exciting. It will be fun getting them settled and trained. Since most folks just sign up for one year here, there are lots of comings and goings.

Something bloomed recently that my allergies don’t like, so I’m a little sniffly. The upside is that the gardens look beautiful all over town!

Back to Islamabad

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

Tugu Farewell

Sadly, we had to leave the Tugu on Sunday afternoon! It was hard to leave after such a great stay. We left around 3 PM to head toward the airport. Our flight the next morning was leaving early and we wanted to be closer to the airport. On the 1.5 hour drive back to town, we went through the “monkey forest” – a couple of miles over a mountain – and there were monkeys everywhere. Tourists feed them, so they just hang out by the side of the road hoping for hand-outs.

We checked into a blah-but-clean hotel and headed home the next morning. To only go three time zones, it sure takes a long time! By the time we got home, 24 hours had elapsed since we got up that morning in Lombok (we came home via Jakarta and Bangkok). Unfortunately, the weather in Islamabad was bad, so our scheduled 10 PM arrival was delayed until 3 AM – the rest of the time we spent sitting on the plane in Lahore, where we were diverted.

The rest of the week, we just stayed home – it was great to see little Flavie and she is happy we came back! She’s been sitting in my lap all week. We’ve watched tons of television and read, and really enjoyed the last few days of our vacation.

Friday night we went to dinner with a friend at the Marriott for sushi. Yesterday afternoon, John smoked a duck and some chickens – yum! And this morning, we attempted to hike up the Margalla Hills to Monal Restaurant. Wow – it’s a long way! We did see some great wildlife, including a bunch of monkeys (one was very curious and got really close to us) and a huge (I mean HUGE) momma boar and six tiny babies. We got about halfway up before I threw in the towel. Our buddy kept going while John and I walked back down the hill to get the car – we drove up to the restaurant and picked up our friend at the top. We sat outside and had lunch and enjoyed the wind and the view.

 

Excellent R&R

Saturday, April 13th, 2013

John with a Bintang beer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This has been an excellent R&R! The days have run together since last week’s post – the weather cooled off a bit and we got more afternoon rains, which we have really enjoyed. Every day has been spent with a book in hand, either on the beach or lazing around somewhere on the property.

The hotel upgraded us to a fancy room a couple of days ago. It is also lovely. We have a private pool, outside day bed and ocean view – the best thing is just being able to hear the ocean – so relaxing!

Happy John

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last night we had our last dinner here. They set us up in the Chinese temple – a huge lovely structure with smooth teak floors. They set up dozens of candles and flowers everywhere – very private and nice.

 

Private dinner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click to see all of our Lombok photos. Click to go to the hotel’s website.

On a very sad note, Dail passed away this week. (Click for obituary.) I am just sick at heart to know that when I go back home, he won’t be there. His wife Nancy and I had many email exchanges throughout ¬†the week – due to the 13-hour time difference, I was able to email her while she was awake in the wee hours of the morning. It was a comfort to get those updates from her and made me feel a bit closer. Of all of the tributes that have been posted either on the Caringbridge site or elsewhere, my favorite was¬†Phillip Cuffman’s “Raconteur, bon vivant, mock curmudgeon” – an excellent description. You will be missed, friend.

 

With Dail 2012

 

 

Paradise Found

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

View from the restaurant, over the pool to the ocean

I think we really have found paradise.

We started our R&R on Monday. We did a little bit of work in the morning, then spent the day doing laundry and packing. We got to the airport at 8 PM for our 11:20 PM flight…I mean, our 2:30 AM flight. After a maddening 3 hour delay, we were off. We figured that we would miss our connection in Bangkok, but lo and behold, Thai Air saved us! We were picked up at the gate and whisked to our connecting flight – and even our checked bag made it! We arrived on time in Lombok, Indonesia, after our layover in Bali.

The hotel picked us up and drove us 1.5 hours to our destination. It’s really lovely – thanks to Scott and Laura for the recommendation.

Since Wednesday, we’ve done nothing but relax. And by nothing, I mean nothing. Breakfast…then lay by the beach…then lunch…then lay by the beach…then afternoon tea…then dinner and maybe a movie in our room. Sleep like clams, then get up and do it again the next day!

The only down side to the trip has been very bad news from home. Dail has been hospitalized again and the prognosis is not good at all. This is one of the times when it’s hard to be so far away. John and I both would love to be able to see him and Nancy – it has made us really glad we saw him when we were home last fall.

With Nancy and Dail Spring 2011