This is the freshwater lagoon, around which the original settlement of Candi Dasa on Bali’s east coast, was established. Bounded by a temple, restaurants, hotels and the ocean it is a serene place for a stroll, despite the local traffic that cuts between it and its temple.
As the sun was setting behind this dissipating thundercloud, an ice crystal halo cloud reflected and refracted the fading light. On the balcony of our Bali accommodation, a single potted flower and the adjacent, tiled rooftop could be nicely silhouetted against this spectacular backdrop. (Well, if you contorted yourself into uncomfortable shapes between the furniture to make the angles work, it could!)
The last few days have seen me post photos of a teenaged adult woman playing rugby, building houses for disadvantaged people in Thailand and taking part in adventure sport. Some might regard these as unusual activities for a young female, so here I try to re-dress (pun intended) the balance. All women enjoy dressing up in pretty clothes right? This one is no exception, believe me! So, given the opportunity, what chance of saying no to modelling a whole range of pretty clothes at a fashion show?
Here’s the twist; the whole show was organised and performed by teenagers. From venue booking, ticketing, security and catwalk scheduling, to outfit donations, lighting, compering and music. Even some of the clothing was produced by one of the participants’ fledging clothing business:
The result was a very successful and enjoyable evening, which also happened to raise over US$6000 for a local school for hearing and sight impaired children.
Youth of today – can’t organise anything, got no drive, no ambition, got no compassion for others – yeh, right!
Continuing my series of disparaging blogs about the youth of today, here we have another photo illustrating the interminable, wasted hours spent by this section of society in front of computer screens, playing worthless, war-and-sexually-centric games. I mean, look at this girl; she’s dressed up in a rubber suit, wearing tight belts, straps and all manner of other weird appendages and she’s even inside a World War II US Army Transport Ship, sunk by a Japanese torpedo attack in 1942 – talk about taking it to extremes and getting totally immersed in the fantasy!
The USAT Liberty was carrying railway and rubber supplies from Australia to the Philippines when she was torpedoed by the Japanese submarine I-166 near the Lombok Strait on 11th January 1942. Taken in tow by the US destroyer Paul Jones and the Dutch destroyer Van Ghent, she was making her way to the Balinese port of Singaraja when her damage overwhelmed her and she was beached near Tulamben in order to salvage her stores. She remained on the beach there until 1963 when the nearby volcano, Mt Agung, erupted. The tremors associated with the eruption caused this 13000 ton, 125 metre-long wreck to slip off the pebbled, sloping shore and back into the water, finally coming to rest on a sand bottom some 150 meters away.
I’d read a lot about the fantastic diving at this site so forced the rest of the family up at 0445 to make the 1 hour drive there and get in the water before the projected ‘hordes’ arrived. Although we were in the water before 0700, we still shared the site with almost a dozen other divers and all the resident large shoals of fish had already left for the day. The ship lies in about 6-30m of water and we managed to explore most of it in our 40+ minute dive, despite a stiff current picking up about halfway around the wreck. The dive was good, don’t get me wrong, but having read such glowing reports on the site, I have to say I exited the water a little underwhelmed on this occasion – but therein lies the beauty of scuba diving; the ocean is not a zoo and you never know what you are going to see from one dive to the next.
I was also initially a little underwhelmed on this dive by the performance of my newly acquired (but second-hand) GoPro Hero 2 camera. Of the 50+ photos that I took on the dive, this is by far and away the best one, but at the same time it is only just about acceptable for me to post as a photo. Again, perhaps I’m being a little harsh; I bought this small, easily handled unit for about £100 and it has provided me with an image to remember the day by – and it recorded that image under the most extreme conditions – we’re about 25m underwater here; there’s a huge amount of external pressure and very little light. Even the light that there is has had its colour composition markedly altered by water attenuation. In the water at the same time as us was a guy carrying an incredibly unwieldy camera and strobe-light combination, costing many thousands of pounds. He struggled to get in and out of the water through the breaking surf on the beach and was comparatively unmaneuverable underwater. He certainly didn’t follow us through some of the smaller ‘passages’ in the wreck that we swam through. Although I never got to see how good his photos were, I wonder whether they provided him a better memory of his day!
Habitat For Humanity is a non-profit, non-government organisation that seeks to provide a basic, minimum, but decent level of housing for the poorest of communities throughout the World. Finance is provided by donation and top-up, cheap, non-profit mortgage loans for the eventual owner families. Labour for the building programs is provided by the owner families themselves, Habitat For Humanity specialists and volunteers. Since its beginnings in 1976, this organisation has provided housing for well in excess of 2 1/2 million people
In the second of my posts on the youth of today, this is where this photo is appropriate. Here we have a group of 17/18 year-old school children/young adults helping to build a new home within a disadvantaged community in Thailand. Over a 4-day period, in sometimes torrential rain and awful ground conditions, foundations and a pit for a septic tank were dug and walls were built. By the end of the period, the house was in a fit enough state for the keys to be handed over to the new owners, with whom the kids had been working side-by-side.
Everybody wins; the new owners get a far better, sanitary dwelling than the tin shack they have been living in up to now and the volunteers learn many valuable lessons and gain a sense of achievement and ownership of a thoroughly worthwhile project.
Youth of today, eh! Lazy bunch of uncaring, uninformed, layabouts, huh?
Having been a little remiss in my blogging recently, I thought I’d start catching up with a mini series on ‘the youth of today’. With a daughter passing into adulthood over the last couple of weeks, this series of photos will try to showcase, in a far more positive light than is what popularly portrayed in the press, just what some of the youngsters of today are getting up to.
The first photo is a composite image of a try being scored in a ladies under-20 rugby match. Click on the image to view it in a larger size and pick out the detail. On display here is athleticism, determination, bravery, teamwork and skill. There’s not a single computer screen, alco-pop, or drug to be seen! All these young women played this game in a fantastic spirit, with a very good standard of technique and, when they left the field at the end of the game, smiles and laughter were mixed, quite literally, with blood, sweat and tears. Hats off to them all !!
In answer to my own question in the title of yesterday’s post about Hong Kong – “But isn’t it all Skyscrapers?” – here is the answer;
“Some parts of it are”
This is a view of the Kowloon Peninsular and the North Shore of Hong Kong Island from atop Lion Rock, taken a few weeks ago on what, for Hong Kong anyway, was a very clear day. This part of Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated area on the planet and has the highest number of high rises anywhere. 52 buildings reach higher than 200 metres, 272 are higher than 150 metres and there are more than 7687 ‘high rises’. In fact 36 of the 100 tallest residential buildings are here and more people live above the 14th floor than anywhere else in the world and, with that number being over 3 million, that means more people live above the 14th floor in Hong Kong than the entire population of Chicago!!
Hong Kong really is the world’s most vertical city!
I was in Sydney recently and paid a visit to the excellent Australian National Maritime Museum at Darling Harbour. One of the permanent exhibits is the ex-Royal Australian Navy destroyer, HMAS Vampire. Whilst wandering around the ship, and especially in this gun turret, I was reminded of a similar visit to a Royal Navy ship in 1976 (clearly remembered, as it was the hottest British summer on record) when, as a young teenager, my father was trying to convince me that a career in the Navy would be a wise choice. In the equivalent turret on that trip, my father pushed one of these shells along the track, only for it to disappear into the loading mechanism with a lot of clunking and whirring. As a young kid I was convinced the gun was now loaded with high explosive and only a button press separated downtown Portsmouth from total obliteration. In fear of being discovered for our brazenly war-like act, we toured the rest of the narrow, claustrophobic, unwelcoming steel ship and I became unwaveringly convinced that a life in HM’s ships was absolutely not for me.
If that life would have been bad enough, next door to HMAS Vampire was an even worse proposition – HMAS Onslow – an Oberon Class Submarine.
This is the one and only route through the submarine and we are looking at the engine room. Tucked into nooks and crannies throughout the vessel are kitchens, washrooms, bunk beds, the occasional individual cabin (if you were ever senior enough), communications and operations rooms. I’m sure never to be forgotten by her 68-strong crew was also the fact that all of these ‘amenities’ were of course hemmed in by torpedoes at both ends of the hull. This could be your home at sea for months at a time with up to 6 weeks solid spent underwater. How did they ever sell the idea to anyone?
So there we are, 2 jobs that are performed in claustrophobic, steel clad surroundings, in close proximity to high explosive and with the likelihood that people might try to kill you; both jobs that I would have absolutely hated doing. And what did I elect to do instead? Well, I dressed up in highly constrictive clothes with a helmet and mask on my face, strapped myself tightly onto a seat containing a couple of pounds of high explosive under my backside, wedged myself into a tight steel cockpit and blasted off at high speed into the sky where there was a high likelihood that someone (friendly, unfriendly, or self) would try to kill you.
Teenage logic, eh? Go figure!