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May 2006



(Click on any picture to see a larger version)

Bali - NASA image
Bali - looking South, Mt Agung on left

Indonesia has over 15,000 islands and the largest number of active volcanoes of any country in the world - over 600.  Recently one close to us on a neighboring island has become active.  Mt. Merapi in Java has started getting rather grumpy of late.  AND it is only 15 miles from the large city of Yogyakarta & the historic Borobudur.  I've received many emails from family and friends wanting to know if it is effecting us or Yanti's family.  In a word -  NO!  We can't see or hear it or feel it here.  Nor did we feel the earthquake that killed more than 5,000 that hit Yogyakarta a week ago.  But, thanks for asking.  Here are two images I saved from Google Earth that show where we are, where the earthquake and volcano is.  Click on an image for a larger (and more readable) image:

Bali & Jave - Mt. Merapi & Earthquake
Bali & Java
Bali, Java, and Singapore
Bali, Java, & Singapore


On to happier topics -

Well with me teaching English on the internet five days a week; the kids in school six days a week; and Yanti busy every day, it's sometimes tough to have some 'family' time.  When we realize this we just have to make a plan; add it to our schedules; and 'go for it'. 

The Bali Briscoes

So we had our driver pick us up on a Wednesday and take us all up to the mountains for a day trip.  Bali has three volcanoes!  Luckily two are extinct and are now filled with lakes, while the third has not had any activity since 1965.  Unlike Mt. Merapi in Java which is erupting as we speak.  (By the way, Mt. Merapi is very far from us and from Yanti's family that lives in Java!)

If you were wondering why we went on a Wednesday, it was because that is my day off and it was the beginning of a 10 day holiday period in Bali and the schools were closed. The holiday is called Galungan.

This is from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galungan
Galungan is a Balinese holiday that occurs every 210 days and lasts for 10 days. Kuningan is the last day of the holiday. Galungan means "When the Dharma is winning." During this holiday the Balinese gods visit the Earth and leave on Kuningan.

Penjors for Galungun

Occurring once in every 210 days in the Balinese cycle of days, Galungan marks the beginning of the most important recurring religious ceremony that is celebrated by all Balinese. During the Galungan period the deified ancestors of the family descend to their former homes. They must be suitably entertained and welcomed, and prayers and offerings must be made for them. Those families who have ancestors that have not yet been cremated, but are still buried in the village cemetery, must make offerings at the graves.

It took us about an hour to reach Badugul and Lake Bratan.  There they have the famous 'floating' temple, which is just off shore of the lake and is very beautiful with the cloud covered mountains in the back ground.  We walked around, the kids road some old rides, and I held a bat!  What a day.  Then it was off for some shopping and lunch.  Lake Bratan is known for it's flower market, so Yanti spent an hour or so, picking up more flowers.  She had me stay away from her bargaining, since the sight of me would cause the prices to jump!  She has a good eye for the colors and we came back with several more orchids - a beauty purple one and an interesting tiger-flower (I  don't think that's the'official' name).

Yanti has a love for flowers and color, so we have many beautiful roses growing in the front of our house.  There is a special market in Denpasar that she visits occasionally to find some very special color of rose.  She also has been collecting incredible orchids which grow wild in Bali and other islands in Indonesia.  I had never really looked at orchids before and now  am fascinated by how delicate they are.  They look like little smiling Disney characters.  We hang them in the many trees in the yard and occasionally move them into the bathroom which is open to the sky in the shower area.  It is so beautiful to shower near these delicate little creatures.

More pictures like the ones on this page can be found here:

  • more flowers - roses and orchids - HERE;

  • more family pictures - HERE;

  • our trip to Lake Bratan, the temple, and the flower market - HERE 



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Yanti & Fifin


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