A moment of pure bliss - Ah vacation ... how I miss you, the ridiculously long flights (over 46hours on an airplane over 2 weeks), living out of a suitcase, the lack of clean laundry, the fantastic food, the cheap massages ($5.00 for an hour), the home coming in Hong Kong, the usual sights and real public transit! My two-plus weeks in Hong Kong and Bali (Indonesia) were really needed. It was fantastic, but I was numb leaving Hong Kong and realising that I had to come back to "reality" soon.
The homecoming is always bitter-sweet and suddenly the lack of hot-water and water pressure in that hotel on the beach seems quaint, the mosquito nets and haphazard air-conditioning seems like fancy extras and the total disconnection from smart-phones, e-mail and computers in total a release. There were no moments when I felt home-sick, where I wondered about home or work, where I thought about my bed - NONE. I was 100% there and just living it fully. But there were a few moments, that were the perfect moments. Moments I will not forget.
108-foot under water
I had two criteria when I invited friends to join me; Hong Kong and scuba diving, everything else was negotiable! I got five days of diving on a remote beach in Bali, in a tiny town called Amed, the closest ATM was 30 minutes away by car, the sea was calm and the locals friendly. On day four, there were other divers, but none could join me on "the wall" because they were not experienced enough (note I was always with an experienced local Dive Master). The wall was over 120ft deep and teeming with life, from pygmy seahorses and cheeky clown fish to cuttle-fish and giant hump-nose Napoleon fish. But one thing always lures me - the vastness of the deep. Swimming away from the wall and just watching the blue - wondering what is out there and what might appear. The world isn't quiet when you are 100ft underwater but out there, beyond the wall there is a different quiet and an emptiness that is full of life. It excites me and scares me and something about just waiting thrills me and makes me feel alive.
Alone on the beach after sunset
On night number six in Amed, I was alone - the others had gone on ahead to Ubud. My usual after scuba diving ritual included a late lunch, a swim, a massage, another swim, a shower, drinks watching the sunset and dinner. None of this change except that I was running behind "schedule" and ended up on the beach with a cold beer after sunset. The sea off Amed was calm, like glass, and reflected the full moon the first few nights, but this last night, the moon never made an appearance, instead the perfect stillness reflected the southern stars. As I lay on the beach-chair gazing at the upside down star-scape, I watched a distant thunderstorm slowly move north from over Lombok, across the ocean - just on the horizon. Each bolt of lightening shadowed the monstrous thunder-caps, and yet where I was there was no breeze, no rain, no sound - only stars.
I am now basking in the joy of an Ottawa spring, the weak sunshine and early morning bird songs, but often I think back to my seven days in Amed and how peaceful and uneventful life was, and yet how alive I felt.