Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Crown Range Road

I've got an interesting relationship with the carpark at the summit of the Crown Range Road. It's a popular tourist stop, which is just fine, but it's interesting to me because it falls into a special category of roadside attractions.

These are attractions it so happens I've visited far more frequently on a bike than in a car. There are only a handful of these points of interest scattered across the meager portions of the globe I've traversed, and this one is extra special.

You see, of this particular class of places I've seen more of via bike, the Crown Range lookout gets extra points because the road itself, when ridden, has brought nothing to my life but unmitigated agony and regret.

I cannot think of a time that I've arrived at the summit, climbed off my bike, and thought "golly, that was nice." My typical visit involves staring blankly at my feet, spittle half-dried on my chin, and contemplating all the ways in which I'd relinquish my soul in exchange for never having to climb that fucking road again.

That negotiation is usually followed by wondering if I've done permanent damage to my heart this time, shaking violently while unwrapping some awful sporty snack, and then pointing my 8kg steed of plastic, rubber, and aluminum downhill towards corners that lie in wait with a thousand and one ways to die, among other secrets.


In other news, I'd highly recommend coming to visit New Zealand on a cycling holiday!


I've written the above because these two photos were taken from the aforementioned carpark on one of the rare occasions that I've stopped there in a car. I wasn't quite sure how to contextualize them, and then I just started typing, and I'm pretty happy with what came out, so we'll roll with it.

South (incl. Magellanic Clouds)


Anyhow, these photos are worth sharing because it's not at all guaranteed to be good stargazing up there, and these were from a night that featured a neat mix of clear air, light pollution, moonlight, clouds, and even a bit of airglow.

I suppose I could have just written that, but I think the bike bit makes for better reading.


Monday, January 16, 2017

Bali Finale

Right, so I've dragged this out as long as possible, but it's finally time to button up this Bali trip and get on to other stuff.



What I've got for you today is a collection of photos that, for better or worse, make up my lasting impression of Bali. Some of these show the nice things, and others show the not-so-nice things, but it's all real.

Over the wall

Dusk on Batur

Most places I've visited are ones that I've felt eager to return to, but Bali...not so much. Dunno; just think it's not quite my flavor. I will concede that with a little experience under my belt, I would approach a return visit to Bali or somewhere like it far differently than I approached the maiden visit. I'd certainly have a better idea of what to expect.

Shading the departed

The fleet sleeps

I guess a thread that runs through my thoughts about the place is that the Balinese have an indomitable spirit. There are a lot of people with few resources packed into a relatively small area, and they continue to thrive, which is awesome. On the flip side, I feel like an awful lot of tourists there kinda run rampant and take advantage of the country, and that's not really something I want to participate in.

Stormy reflecto

Roadside supermarket

Sadly, I never snagged a photo that adequately represents burning plastic, so that's missing from this collection. Can't say my lungs are missing it, though.

More sunrise

Awaiting departure

And if I had to do it with a single image...

Scooter is life



Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Island Life

Life for the Balinese largely revolves around the sea. In my more cynical days, I'd have suggested that it's difficult for islands to avoid this, but I'd never think of such a thing now.

Minimum wage in Bali is ~150USD/month, and word on the street is that most people get by on about 200USD/month. With an overall budget of seven dollars a day, it should be no surprise that ingenuity and the ocean play pivotal and equal roles in their lives.

At the ready

Good catch

Boat driver + owl

Good as new

Kelp beds I

Kelp beds II

Last tasks

And while not sea-related, a bonus:

Here kitty kitty

It turns out that I do have another post to share from Bali - it's a small collection of photos that don't share a unified theme other than best representing my lasting impressions of the place; suppose it's a highlight reel of sorts.


Lembongan Touristing

With our remaining couple of days in Bali, and in the relative sanctuary of Nusa Lembongan, we strive to do as little as possible while doing as much as possible. I'm not entirely sure what that means, but it mostly makes sense.

Our routine is beyond bland in its simplicity: wake, jog, shower, breakfast, swim, scooter, coffee, scooter, lunch, scooter, coconut, scooter, coffee, nap, scooter, dinner, beer, bed. Here are a few photos that hopefully do some justice to this tortuous routine.

Mirror pool


Inverse Guinness

Nice kitty, mascot of Poh Manis

Beach shacks

As an aside, I get served a meal with metal shavings in it at the place with the cool beach shacks. Staff seems unconcerned. Whatever.

Mini temple at Paddy's little resort

View from Two Peaks

About as fancy as we get; roughly $12 for dinner

Last light

I've got a few more photos to share depicting more daily life and less touristy stuff, and that'll about do it for this hyper-delayed trip report.


Past Detritus