Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Our trip to Indonesia

We had a fantastic time with the Millers in Jakarta! It was so fun to meet Heidi, Creed, Nash, Grant, Luke and Mallory at the beautiful hotel! We spent the first four days relaxing, and having lots of fun in Bali with all of them. The grounds of our hotel were absolutely beautiful. Bali is so green and lush. The kids loved boogie-boarding in the ocean. We really enjoyed some fantastic food. There was plenty of time for swimming in the pools, and don't worry...Heidi and I got in some great shopping. We also went to a beautiful water park with really fun slides. The landscaping was incredible. I hope you will forgive me for the length of this huge blog entry! I just had too many photos, and believe me, I narrowed it down!

On the first day we went to a beautiful Hindu temple up on a cliff overlooking the ocean. It was incredible. The hindu have reverence for monkeys, so there were monkeys roaming the entire temple grounds. Eli learned to listen to his Mom when one of them bit him! Luckily it didn't break skin, or it would have been an entirely different vacation. We watched a famous traditional hindu performance that was very interesting with men using their voices as an orchestra for the entire hour performance. This is Rachel and Mallorie with one of the performers.

A highlight of the trip was the rafting trip we went on. We were just in awe that we were actually rafting down the jungle! There were actually lots of white-water rapids only a level 2 or 3, but it made lots of excitement. Especially when Mike flew over and almost pushed me out of the raft! There were some amazing sculptures along the sides of the river, as well as some beautiful water-falls. They even let Mallorie come, though they said she wouldn't be insured. We all wondered exactly what we were all insured for...

Driving through Bali was beautiful.

The adults got to go out one evening while the older kids babysat. We went down the beach to a fish restaurant. They sat us at a table near the water, which was great until the tide started to come in. We had to move up 2 tables and were scrambling to get our flip-flops before we lost them. Don't Heidi and Creed look like they are having a romantic meal? Sorry guys, I couldn't resist adding your cute photo!

The Balinese people live in the most interesting compounds. They live in extended family dwellings with a big wall around the outside. The inner buildings are both indoors and out. Each compound has their own little temple, and they pray many times a day. They give offerings every day. Every home I saw had this same look to it. It was really beautiful.

We spent 4 1/2 wonderful days in Jakarta at the Millers home. They were so great to make us feel right at home. We have missed our Miller-Wadley thanksgivings that we used to have in Michigan, and Heidi actually did a Thanksgiving dinner with ALL the trimmings on Sunday! Wow, it was fantastic. Then we enjoyed late-night pie parties almost every night until we left! It was really fun for the girls to see the school their. We attended their branch in Jakarta, which was really nice. Rachel actually was able to attend early-morning seminary with the small group that meets from the branch. She really enjoyed that, and the four boys aparently commented more than ever before! Heidi, the girls and I went and had a wonderful facial and pedicure at the spa. We endulged in Crispy Cream Donuts, and Cold Stone Icecream. The girls found some great buys at some real outlets Heidi took us to.

We could not have a get together without the movie done by all of the kids! This year it was done in the Millers' pool with a Jaws/David Hasslehof theme!???

I couldn't resist this cute photo of Mallorie in the little Chinese outfit we brought her. She did lots of Kungfu for us, along with many other fantastic song and dances!

Heidi took us to a really fun Safari. The kids loved it. Here are some fun photos from our outing.

We thought this was so funny...the bear was trying to say something important to the ranger. The ranger would not look at him. Sorry about the reflexion from the window, we were a little too chicken to roll it down!

There were really funny signs like this all around the park. I was careful cause I sure didn't want to lose my hand to a camel! And, we wondered if all of the signs were based on actual occurances!

Of course, the highlight of the safari was when we got to hold baby animals! We knew that this was a rare opportunity.

We had quite the exciting trip back to Bali, where we were to spend our last 2 nights. After being delayed over 4 hours, we finally started our trip to Bali. About 30 minutes into the flight, we heard an announcement that said due to technical difficulties, the plane needed to turn back to Jakarta. That is not what you like to hear about your plane! I'm just glad they had the smarts to turn us around. We went back, and were put on another flight. I had booked the Novatel hotel on the internet and pre-paid. We arrived at the hotel around 1:00am. The hotel had given away our "standard" rooms. Well, they only had pool villas left, and told us they would put us there for one night and then move us to the standard rooms. Mike said that we wanted to stay wherever they put us because it's hard to move around so much. Because it was their fault, they left us in the two connecting pool villas for both nights! Talk about luxury! We were in Heaven! The kids thought they were movie-stars, I think. The bathrooms and living areas were outdoors under large straw roofs. It was amazing! The perfect way to end a trip of a lifetime!

Friday, February 01, 2008

More Snow For Nanjing

This week it has snowed more in Nanjing than it has in 50 years. It has taken the city totally by surprise. The entire country has been blown into a frenzy with snow and bad weather. Trains have been shut down, electricity outs, shortages on food and gasoline in many areas. It has happened at the worst time possible with Chinese New Year starting and everyone wanting to get home to their families. That is what you do for Chinese New Year. You go home to see family. They say numbers equivilant of the population of England, Germany, and France together, travel all at once. For many migrant workers it is the ONLY chance in a year they get to go home to see their family members. Many Fathers and Mothers work in a different city and see their children once a year. Thousands of people have been stranded at train stations, in buses on freeways, etc. Here in Nanjing, thankfully, we have only been inconvenienced. The children have been home from school all week. They told employees at Mike's work to stay home Monday and Tuesday. Taxis have been impossible to get. This morning, our driver spent two hours driving around the city to try to find gasoline. He then waited in line for 2 hours to get it.

We will be heading out to Bali and Jakarta Indonesia on Monday. We are really looking forward to seeing our great friends, the Millers. We are pretty excited about the whole trip. It's snowing now, but supposed to stop tomorrow morning. We have train tickets to Shanghai where our flight originates from, in case the freeway is shut down. It will definately be an adventure.

I thought I would share a few photos of the Nanjing airport when it snowed. Give it to them for creativity! We got these off of their websight. Also, I'm adding a couple more snow photos.

This shows about how much snow we got in one 24 hour period. It's been so mild here before now, that you can see the poor blossoms got a shock.

Here are a couple of common scenes in Nanjing. The first is in the department store. Free movies in the TV section! The second photo shows the unlucky guy who got to sit in the back on a COLD day!