After our ship stopped in the ice near Marble Point in Antarctica, a few of us wandered off the boat where we discovered an interesting ice formation. A large iceberg had become trapped in the sea ice (most likely for years), and looked to have melted and refrozen numerous times during particularly warm summer days.
The melting and re-freezing of the iceberg created a smooth patch of frozen fresh water on top of the sea ice. This fresh water ice formed an ideal ice rink for skating. A few of us had had the foresight to pack our hockey gear for the patrol, and we were eager to test the ice out.
What do you do when you find yourself in Antarctica suddenly a little short on cash? A problem many of us have probably encountered before. Well, there is actually a Wells Fargo ATM located at McMurdo Station in Antarctica.
Here is my ATM receipt from a withdrawal I made during my first trip there in 2003. Notice no ATM Fee!!!
After years of having Indonesia at the top of my to-do travel list, I finally made the trip in November 2011. Mimi was my usual travel partner, so I had to stop by Manila first to meet up with her.
The flight from Key West was quite long as I had connections in Atlanta, Detroit, and Nagoya Japan. I landed in Manila at about 12:30AM on Nov 19. Unfortunately, my luggage didn’t make it for another day and a half.
After a few days in Manila, it was off to Jakarta! Being the caffeine addict that I am, one of my most anticipated activities in Indonesia was to try some of the local Kopi Luwak which it is claimed is “the most expensive coffee in the world”. The coffee is made by an Asian Palm Civet (a small mammal) eating coffee cherries and then defecating them out onto the jungle floor. Locals then collect the droppings and sell it as super expensive coffee to people with too much money to burn like me.
After our coffee it was time to do some shopping at Plaza Indonesia. Mimi with her sophisticated tastes was upset that the Prada store in Jakarta was still under construction.
Later it was time to experience the nightlife in Jakarta. We spent the next two nights clubbing at Red Square and B.A.T.S. Nightlife starts late in Jakarta and I don’t think we even left the hotel room before 11PM. Of course due to the fact that we are both getting up there in years, this required some napping beforehand…..
After a few days in Jakarta, it was time to move onto Bali. At the airport on our way out of Jakarta I got to try some Oxtail soup.
We didn’t have much time to relax after arriving in Bali. At 4:45AM the next morning we were up for the Hard Rock Hotel “Rock n Run” 5K race.
I think I finished about sixth or seventh place overall out of over 500 runners. Not bad for only getting a few hours sleep the night before. Mimi wasn’t too far behind me. She was the top finisher from the Philippines for sure!
The next day we decided to do some activities that were less physical. We hired a driver for 12hrs and drove around the island with a mission of hitting as many temples as possible.
Collecting temple photos around Bali was fun, but the next day it was time to get back to some more adventurous activities. I wanted to go SCUBA diving, but Mimi protested “I can’t swim” and “I’m not strong”. After much debate, I finally caved in and we decided to do the next best thing…..Sea Walking.
Our last two days in Bali we just hit the beach.
Our fun in Bali finally ran out and it was back to Jakarta for a night and then on to Manila. We had one last activity planned for there. Timing worked out perfectly in that David Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy soccer team were making a visit to Manila at the same time we would be there. Mimi diligently reloaded the webpage for ticket sales for hours waiting for them to go on sale. We were rewarded with front row tickets to the game. We were just meters away from Beckham, Donovan, and company as they took on the Philippine national team. Manny Pacquiao was also in attendance at the game.