Enjoying various outdoor activities while in the South Pacific

My column last week featured a general overview of our recent vacation trip to Bali, Indonesia.

In as such as this is an outdoor page, this week's column will focus on some of the outdoor activities that we enjoyed on that unique vacation.

They were certainly was a far cry from what I would normally have been doing in this general area during those same 17 days in March.

If I had stayed home, my main activities would have been such things as:

1. Trolling for Lahontan cutthroat trout at Walker Lake with my usual fishing partners of Bob "Slick" McCulloch, Norm Budden and Don Hettrick, all of Carson City.

2. Cross country skiing in the Kit Carson Pass/Winnemucca Lake area of California's S.R. 88 and then soaking in the hot water pool at Grover Hot Springs near Markleeville.

3. Spending a weekend at Chuck Selover's cabin at the edge of the Hoover Wilderness Area, near Bridgeport, Calif., while telemarking off the deep snow of nearby, 11,000 foot Mt. Emma.

4. Or a combination of any of the above.

Instead, we traveled some 33 hours (one-way) and 15,000 miles, across the International Date Line, to a region of the world that enjoys consistent, high temperatures of about 90 degrees, lows in the range of 75-78 degrees, a humid climate and plenty of rain.

Obviously, there was no snow. So instead of playing on my "skinny" skies on deep snow in the High Sierra, I was busy as a bee in Bali having fun outdoors doing things like:

- Walking from the Melia Bali Sol Hotel into the nearby, outdoor shopping areas of the city of Nusa Dua. It was a ton of fun bargaining for items and also sampling the many different food items that were for sale. However, I absolutely drew the line at a lunch special that I saw advertised at one particular outdoor food stall. That special was "pig's brains and chicken feet." Yuk!

- Having a ball, bargaining with the many different street vendors in an attempt to buy assorted souvenirs of the trip. Geez, after being in Bali, I could drive a Nevada used car dealer crazy with my new-found experience in heavy-duty bargaining.

On one occasion, a street vendor wanted 20,000 Rupiahs for a sarong and I would not go over R16,000. How much is that in American dollars? Well, with a current exchange rate of $1 American equaling R7,200 (Rupiahs), the two of us were heartily disagreeing over a difference of 55 cents.

- Playing team water volleyball at our hotel pool. Unfortunately, our team got its butt kicked in every game. Some of our players were short in height and they floundered in the deep water in the middle part of the pool. Our team had lots of desire but darn little skill and some players had a serious lack of height.

- Going biking in the vicinity of our hotel. Our tour guide was from the hotel recreation staff and we were accompanied by another hotel guest from the Channel Islands, located between England and France. The four of us had a ball, zipping around the gorgeous shoreline on those bikes.

- Wading way out in the bathtub-warm, shallow water of the Bali Sea, looking for souvenir sea shells. As you may recall from that previous column, on one of those searches, I encountered a nasty-looking, yellow-and black-striped, poisonous sea snake. It very quickly made me forgot about picking up souvenir shells in that area.

- Spending each day goofing off, dressed in either sandals and shorts or just a bathing suit. I had packed a light jacket and a number of T-shirts and long pants. Heck, I needed them in Bali like I need a comb.

- Working on my tan, while lying on the white-sand beach. Hey, everyone has to be somewhere! I was on the beach. Where were you?

- Getting absolutely soaking wet from a torrential downpour one afternoon. When it rains in the South Pacific, it does not fool around. However, it's not that big of a problem because within an hour or so, you are dry, once again.

- Seeing large numbers of dogs, cats and chickens wherever we went. Those animals all looked alike, probably due to some serious inbreeding. All of the dogs were average size, tan-colored, short-haired and had pointed ears. All of the cats, were small, skinny, yellow-colored and mangy-looking. All of the chicken were small, white and constantly pecking for food. Interestingly, all the dogs, cats and chickens seemed to happily co-exist, with no chasing or fighting.

- Photographing the activities of the many monkeys and fruit bats at the temple city of Mengwi. I photographed a baby monkey that was estimated to be no more than one hour old at the time that we saw it and it's mom.

- Video-taping the spectacular, heavy-duty, surf and breathtaking sunset at Tanah Lot, a very holy temple on the edge of the ocean. The temple, the surf, the sunset and the huge crowd of people was unforgettable.

- Watching a huge 4-5 foot long Komodo Dragon lizard walk across the sidewalk, while we were on the way to the beach one morning. I don't think I want to come back as a bug or insect in Bali, with lizards that big roaming the area.

- Snorkeling in the ocean at two different reefs. The water was warm, the weather was gorgeous and the variety and color of fish and sea life on those two reefs was unbelievable. I followed one fish that was just as large as me for a long time until it finally disappeared on the deep-water side of the reef.

How's that for a different number of ways to enjoy the Great Outdoors in the month of March? Not too shabby!

- Bet Your Favorite Pigeon

Bet your favorite pigeon he can't name the largest lake on the island of Bali.

If he responds by saying, "Heck, it is Lake Batur, near the temple city of Kitamandi," he has also been to Bali.


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