Suva Reimagined

I spent nearly a year in Suva back in 2003. Since then, my overwhelming memory of Suva was constant rain and clouds. I’ve been telling people for years that Suva experiences non-stop rain. When I arrived in April 2019 again, it started to rain and didn’t stop for 2 weeks, and I thought, “Yep, this is what I remember.” But then the rain stopped and winter set in and May to September were gorgeous… weeks and weeks of clear blue sky, cool temperatures, nice breezes. What a lovely surprise. It shows how our memory can fail us.

This weekend started to get hot. We took a long walk to town, explored some smaller back streets and found this lovely little cut-through.

Orchids

In April 2019 we moved from the US to Fiji (its a long story and I haven’t been on the blog recently…..).  So, I got to start a new tropical orchid collection.  I inherited 5 plants from the office helper, Mili.  But, I didn’t have a spray bottle and neglected to get one, so they didn’t get watered much for a few months.  I thought they were all dead when I finally got a spray bottle and started watering them.  They had dropped their leaves and were looking pretty bad.

Then, last week, one of them perked up with some buds and then bloomed – my first blooming orchid.  🙂  Yay!

Dendrobium fimbriatum

Wild orchids on our street

There is an orchid species blooming in all the trees around our house.  It has big bunches of small, fragrant, white flowers.  So nice!

 

Growing orchids

We have a few orchids that we were gifted when we were in North Sulawesi.  They have been up on our verandah and tree for a few months now.  A few of them are starting to grow, so I thought to document the growth here.  Can’t wait for them to start blooming!

July 2017

North Sulawesi getaway

Fareea and I have a long list of places we want to visit in Indonesia.  They range from national parks to volcanoes to cultural events.  Its such a vast and diverse country, I can’t imagine seeing it all.  A few weeks ago, I made a visit to some of WCS’ project sites in North Sulawesi province.  It was amazing going to the islands between Indonesia and Philippines.  Some of them were the original Spice Islands with nutmeg and mace and other spices growing there still.

At the end of the trip, Fareea came to meet me in North Sulawesi and we enjoyed a few days of diving in Bunaken National Park for diving and at Tangkoko National Park to see some birds and endemic monkeys.

North Sulawesi with markers on Bunaken National Park and Tangkoko National Park

We had 4 days of diving in Bunaken National Park.  Each day we took a 30 minute boat ride from the resort on the mainland over to the park.  The park has a few islands, including one amazing volcano and lots of amazing reefs with deep drop-offs and big underwater walls.  We saw turtles, corals, gorgeous reef fish, a few sharks…. and on a couple of the passages over to the islands, pods of 50+ dolphins!

Bunaken National Park and the breakfast view from the resort.

Tangkoko National Park is a small park at the northern tip of the island.  We spent two nights, hiked more than 20 km in one day, and saw all the top birds of North Sulawesi!

Buzzed by dragons

I’m sitting on our front porch, having my morning coffee, listening and watching for birds, when…. suddenly….. whooosh! And…..whoosh!

One, then another lizard swoops past and lands on the tree in our garden, just 3 meters from me! Flying lizards! Actual dragons! (Never mind that they are less than 10! Ha ha)

Learn more here:  https://futurism.com/draco-volans-the-tiny-dragon-discovered-in-indonesia/

If only I could get a shot like this!

Chap Goh Mei

The 15th day of Chinese New Year marks the end of the celebration. Bogor hosts one of the biggest Chap Goh Mei celebrations within a mahjong-marker’s throw from here. We went with a friend from Bogor – he is about to set off on a cycling trip from Bogor to Europe – to see the parade and celebrations. Luckily the rain subsided as the parade started and we got to see it all. All. 5 hours of parade. Local dancers. Hari Krishnas. Marching bands. Traditional Indonesian dancers, puppets and costumes. And then the endless procession of lion dancers, Chinese drum troupes, dragons and more! So exciting bit it was a long night…. and there were so many people! 

Thanks to Nafal for the photos!

Move to the jungle. Be the jungle. 

Bogor is a rainy city in the middle of what was once dense rainforest. Our house is on a street teeming with greenery. It is like living in a green cathedral. But that isn’t enough for me! I want a jungle IN the house!  There are plant shops lining nearly every streeet in Bogor. You can buy sod, ferns, orchids and trees! They have everything and it’s super cheap. We got an avacado tree last week for less than $10. 😎🤓 This is just the beginning. 

Panoramas

Broaden your horizons…… How many high school seniors write that in their Yearbook?  (Do they even still have Yearbooks?)  Travel is supposed to broaden your horizons.  If that is the case, I must have super broad horizons!  I AM getting broader…. but…..

I find myself really liking the panorama function on my iPhone, so I take them quite often.  Here are the ones that are my new (office) laptop.

….broadening….

Uluwatu, Bali sunset

Uluwatu, Bali sunset

The bane of my life - conference rooms.  :-)

The bane of my life – conference rooms. 🙂

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Banda Aceh river at sunset

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Small fishing port on the west coast of Aceh province. In December 2004, this was wiped out by the earthquake and tsunami

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Lagoon on the coast of Aceh’s west coast. Stunningly beautiful place.

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Shark catches. Can we ever make this sustainable?

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Traditional fishing port in Lombok, Indonesia

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East Lombok Marine Protected Area – no tourists. Yet.

East Lombok MPA

East Lombok MPA

WCS All Staff Retreat

Its time for another All-Staff-Retreat!  The dreaded 3 words.  Six a.m. group yoga.  Team building exercises that involve hugging people you’d rather disembowel.  Endless sessions of navel-gazing, developing strategies that will be immediately ignored, and feedback sessions that never result in any changes.

That was what welcomed me at WCS.  Those three words.

But, WCS is not the monochrome bear that I used to work for.  Its not even the potholder.  This is a whole new alphabet.

And our All Staff Retreat was a different animal.  We needed to get away and get to know each other.  I am new here, but apparently I am not the only one.  Others have only been around for a few months.  We are growing.  So….. we went away (all 170+ of us) to one of the most historic cities in Indonesia to get to know each other.

Of course, we had some group sessions.  We had some plans for some team building.  But we also had a cool train ride across Java. We had trips to not one, but two (two!) World Heritage Sites (there are 8 World Heritage Sites in Indonesia, so… 25%!), and the chance to meet people from Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi, Lombok, Sumbawa, Pulau Rote and more….. the WCS Indonesia Program is as diverse as the country itself.

And…. they invited Fareea to come along too.  So nice of them.  🙂

And with no further ado, here are some of the photos.

We got up at 3:45 on a Friday morning to meet at the office at 4:30 to catch a bus to the main train station in Jakarta.  Then we had an 8 hour train trip across Java to Yogyakarta (pronounced Jog-ja-karta).  We had a nice dinner Friday night at the hotel, an inspirational talk from our country program leader (Ibu Yani) and an introduction session where all 170 of us got to say who we were.  Saturday morning had us listening to presentations about our main programs and projects and then we went to the first World Heritage Site.  Sunday we went to the second World Heritage Site, got some shopping in, and then we had a dinner with our ~40 Marine Program staff.

From Wikipedia:

Candi Prambanan or Candi Rara Jonggrang is a 9th-century Hindu temple compound in Central Java, Indonesia, dedicated to the Trimurti, the expression of God as the Creator (Brahma), the Preserver (Vishnu) and the Destroyer (Shiva). The temple compound, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the largest Hindu temple site in Indonesia, and one of the biggest in Southeast Asia. It is characterized by its tall and pointed architecture, typical of Hindu architecture, and by the towering 47-metre-high (154 ft) central building inside a large complex of individual temples.[2] Prambanan attracts many visitors from around the world.[3][4]

Borobudur, or Barabudur, is a 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist temple in Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia. The monument consists of nine stacked platforms, six square and three circular, topped by a central dome. The temple is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. The central dome is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues, each seated inside a perforated stupa.[1] It is the world’s largest Buddhist temple,[2][3] as well as one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world.[4]

And now some photos…. and videos…..

Prambanan……

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Boroboudur……

And miscellaneous photos around Yogya and the train….

And a few videos from the window of our train going back to Jakarta.  Enjoy!