Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Vacation Planning: Spring Break

Wreck Diving with Bali Scuba in Tulamben at the USS Liberty.  Not Hong Kong.  Not Chinese New Year.
If you opened this post thinking, "At last! She's finally going to get around to telling us about Chinese New Year in Hong Kong," MsCaroline is sorry to burst your bubble, but it's not happening this time, either.

It's true that the trip to Hong Kong was well over a month ago and MsC realizes that, in that time, a really responsible blogger would have already sorted photos, written the blog posts, and been looking forward to the next trip.  However, MsC has never claimed to be that responsible, so it should come as no surprise to you that all those photos are gathering (virtual) dust in the 'pictures' folder on her laptop.

(Actually, if MsCaroline can procrastinate long enough, she can just re-use the photos at next year's Chinese New Year and save herself the trouble of coming up with new content.)

So:  What's so time-consuming that MsC can't even write up a travel post that requires no more effort than a book report?

More travel, specifically, Spring Break, which is bearing down on us very quickly.

Choices this year were narrowed down to Cambodia or Bali, both of them being high on our list of 'places we want to travel while it's cheap to fly there we live in Asia.'

MsC (an avowed history geek) was plumping for Angkor Wat, because she is all about ancient overgrown temples and crumbling ruins and bygone dynasties.  However, MrL wanted to go to Bali, and, since MrL is celebrating a milestone birthday (I'll leave it at that) this April, MsCaroline graciously allowed him to have the final word.

If you are wondering, 'why Bali,' the reason is, that MrL has established that he must celebrate this milestone birthday by doing something that he did frequently and enjoyed tremendously when he was 18 and living in Manila (I mean scuba diving, people.  Get your minds out of the gutterwhich means the Asia Vus will be spending their spring break in Bali  getting our Open Water Diving certifications. (MrL had his certification, but hasn't used it in more years than he would like to think about, so we're all doing it together.)

While MsCaroline loves underwater wildlife, and has no problem with the concept of Scuba diving in and of itself, what she does have problems with is the idea of herself in a wetsuit.  This proposition has caused her to sleep badly and spend long moments meditating on one of her beloved late father's favorite descriptive phrases:  "gopher stuffed into a rubber glove."  However, as a loving and loyal wife, she has put aside her own misgivings ( do they even make wetsuits in her size, and if, so, does the Dive School even have one in stock?) and pretended to begun to look forward to the next adventure.  (That, Young People, is an example of True Love.)

Those of you who already have your diving certification will also recall that there is a certain amount of academic work associated with this certification, which means that, accordingly, MsC has begun online study, diligently working her way through units covering such burning topics as:  "Your second regulator is your friend,"  " how to calculate whether or not your lungs will explode if you swim another foot down toward that sea turtle" and 'Things that can hurt or kill you underwater,' as well as more mundane information such as what all the various straps and knobs are for, and how to use the buoyancy compensator (that's your 'BC' to those of us in the know.)

MsC is positive that, once she gets underwater, she will completely and totally enjoy herself.  She has also booked a lovely hotel that looks like just the place to relax and recover after a long day of learning how to breathe underwater without panicking.  And besides, the course only lasts for 4 days, after which they will all leave the remote northeastern beach and head further inland for some history and culture.

MsCaroline had then pictured a few days of peace and relaxation after the stress of spending 4 days in a wetsuit where people could see her learning the complexities of scuba diving, but - alas! - there is no rest for the weary.

While MsC mooned over the photos of the tranquil resort and spa they would head to for the 2nd half of the holiday, envisioning herself dozing over a book on the veranda with a gentle breeze rustling through the palm trees, Son#2 had other ideas.

MsC admits that she is at fault for this one, because she stupidly showed him a video clip of this activity,
never dreaming that he would be interested in doing it - mainly because it requires getting up at 3am, which is anathema to Son#2.  In this case, however, the thrill of climbing a live volcano in the dark appealed so powerfully to Son#2's inner daredevil that he has talked of little else since we booked our vacation.

Mt.Batur (a live volcano that Son#2 proposes to hike.  In the dark.) via
The activity in question is a "sunrise trek" to the top of Mt. Batur, a live (as in lava) volcano.  While MsC thinks viewing a sunrise from the top of a volcano in Bali sounds marvelous and life-affirming, she is less enamoured with the idea of rising at 3am and hiking up the side of a live volcano (lava, people.  Lava) in the dark to get there.

She has been slightly mollified by the thought of seeing monkeys warming themselves by the steam emanating from volcanic fissures, though.  Because, well, - monkeys.  

So, as you can imagine, between reading up on regulators and buddy breathing and getting myself conditioned for a 3am hike up a volcano - there's really just been no time to do something like post about Chinese New Year.

And no, there will be no photos forthcoming of MsC in a wetsuit.  Lava and monkeys, yes.  Wetsuit, no.










16 comments:

outboundmom.com said...

That sounds like a great vacation - minus the wetsuit and lava of course! So glad I have very girly girls - minus the fact that they do this stripper like but slapping thing which really bothers me! - but at least I don't foresee hiking a volcano in my future :)

Elizabeth Musgrave said...

I do identify with the wetsuit crisis! We used to sail a lot. Even with father in law in residence we have wondered whether we could wheel in enough care to take two weeks out for more sailing. I am not admitting that one thing that holds me back is the thought of me in a swimsuit. Last time I sailed was about eight years ago. Things can go a long way south in eight years! I am deeply admiring of you and a touch envious though! Sounds truly memorable and fab!

Nance said...

Hey, MONKEYS! My eldest son, Jared, is nuts about monkeys. I am not averse to them, aside from the smell, but I'd be more jazzed about the volcano.

IF THERE IS A GUARDRAIL AND ASSURANCE THAT IT WILL NOT BLOW.

I would be up for the diving thing within reason. Like...if I did not have to swim. Because I do not know how. Ideally, I would combine the monkeys and some diving. Like this place in Japan where you can share a hot spring with monkeys! Let's go.

Wilma said...

Hiking a volcano is fun. We did it in Hawaii when I was about 8. We got to look down into it and see the lava boiling. We were actually one of the last groups that got to go up because it was boiling to close to the surface. It overflowed within a month or so after, as I recall. LOL Enjoy your vacation. It sounds like it will be enjoyable. And, hey, if I can post a video of my fat butt diving into a frigid swimming pool on FB, you can post at least one still shot of you in a wetsuit. *grin*

MsCaroline said...

Outbound - hmmm...I don't know that stripper butt slapping is an even exchange for bungy-jumping and volcano hiking, but I'll agree that it would get annoying. I'm looking forward to going to Bali, of course - but I think we agree that the wetsuit and the lava would make anyone think twice..

MsCaroline said...

Oh, Elizabeth, you DO understand! Although at least on a sailboat you can wear a pair of shorts. I'm excited about Bali, but the wetsuit...ugh.

MsCaroline said...

Nance - MrL is aware that I am always up for any activity if it involves looking at what he describes as 'nature things' (preferably furry ones, but I enjoy the rest of them, too.) You'll understand my hesitation about the volcano hike when you learn that I read several TripAdvisor reviews that read basically like this: "Awesome experience, but there are no guardrails!" and "Gorgeous sunset, but be aware that you are walking on the edge of a lava crater in the dark!" MrL and Son#2 pooh-poohed this ("We scoff in the face of danger") but I am less sanguine about the whole thing. Oh, and as far as the hot spring with the monkeys - yes, ideal. No wetsuit, and monkeys. We're not that far away from Japan, you know...

MsCaroline said...

Wilma - I watched that video and your bathing suit flowed gracefully and attractively around your hips and lower extremities. If I can find a wetsuit that does the same, I promise to post a photo - how's that? As far as the volcano goes - I'm more concerned about the 'hiking in the dark' part than the lava. I keep imagining myself falling into a crater. Very Land-of-the-Lostish.

Trish Burgess said...

These aren't holiday activities, they are Herculean tasks! I don't think I've ever dipped my head underwater unless I'm in the shower.
Volcano climbing....well, why not! In for a penny....

Will happily read all about your trip, from behind a cushion.

BavarianSojourn said...

Have a wonderful wonderful time in Bali, I am sure you are going to absolutely love diving as well, it's so dreamlike! Your volcano sunrise watching made me laugh a lot, I think we live in parallel worlds (I know that last bit doesn't make sense, but all will be clear soon enough!)... Emma :)

MsCaroline said...

Trish - I actually really enjoyed snorkeling when we were in Belize, and would be perfectly happy to continue with it, but MrL keeps assuring me that I'll be able to see and enjoy more if I'm 'at depth.' Hmmm. I'm actually relieved at the moment - turns out the volcano may be off limits if it's raining - which it can do quite a bit at the end of March.

MsCaroline said...

Emma -MrL assures me I'll love diving, so you're probably right. My curiosity is now piqued, though: trying to figure out how Munich and volcanoes could possibly run parallel - maybe I'll see you in Bali?

Michelloui | The American Resident said...

WOW WOW WOW!!!! I love your style of spring break! I have always wanted to learn to scuba but I doubt if I would ever have much opportunity to use it now as my OH isn't so keen. Volcano climbing?! Amazing! This all sounds really fabulous, have a wonderful time. And I haven't been in a wetsuit in maybe 8 years, I dread to think what might happen if I pull it out of the loft and try...

MsCaroline said...

Michelle- sorry for the delayed response - didn't moderate my comments at all while we were in Bali, so I missed this - and you were right, it was quite an experience! Details coming soon...; )

Clare Taylor said...

You are a better woman than me, MsC. I love my husband, but scuba diving - no.... Have a wonderful trip, though! (And thinking of you in these slightly stressful times on the Korean peninsula).

MsCaroline said...

PM- I have to admit, as nervous as I was, I really did want to learn how to do it. If I hadn't, I would have gladly stayed on a chaise lounge somewhere and sent him and #2 on their merry way. Thanks for the kind thoughts - NK is really clashing its sabers these days - it's getting harder to ignore.