Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Your Ride Awaits...

Just a "little" surprise for the family when we got to Sydney. :) Enjoy, We did! ;)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It's A Hard Life

I am just testing out a new app on my phone. Seeing what works and what doesn't. the last group of pictures was way too big. So here we go with this one. Enjoy!

Grandma and Grandpa Arrive!

Leaving for Christmas Break!

Trying out my new app. :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Mud Slide

A few weeks ago, we woke up to a lot of heavy equipment noise. I finally got up from my rocking chair to go have a look outside to see what in the world was going on. At the bottom of our street, I saw a big yellow excavator. Now why on earth would there be one at the bottom of our street?? As I was standing out side, in my pj's!, friends of ours that live close to us walked by. So we asked them if they knew what was going on. Of course they did, because they were out walking around!

What happened was a major land slide between the houses on the opposite side of our street and the houses on Amole 3, the street next to us. There is a stream/run-off between the houses, and the mud slide followed that down. Thankfully!!! Not one house was ruined in all of this. Or more importantly, no one was hurt!

This happened around 1 o'clock in the morning. Chris and I did NOT hear a thing. All our neighbors were out on the street, and we slept through the whole thing!

You see, we get so much rain here some days that land slides are a normal occurrence. For instance, yesterday I was playing volleyball, and it rained so hard for 10+ minutes that you couldn't hear anything in the gym. We probably got five inches of rain in those 10 minutes! So lots of rain mixed with mountains, sometimes is not a great recipe!

This first picture was taken at the top of our street. There is a bridge on the other side of the debris pile. Well what was left of the bridge... :) The top of this pile probably reached 5 feet. It was probably 30 to 40 feet long and 20 feet wide.

This was on the other side of the pile above. The slide took out the guard rails. We thought they were going to have to redo the whole bridge, but the cement was still ok. However, there were a few chunks of concrete taken out by the boulders.

If you walk up the street just a bit, there is a foot bridge that connects Amole 2 to Amole 3. This bridge was totally taken out.

This was the scene that greeted us at the bottom of our street. So now the top is blocked, and so is the bottom! We won't be driving anywhere for a while!!!
On the right side of the photo, are single men's living quarters. On the other side of them, is one of the main rivers that flows through town. They were so lucky that they weren't pushed into the river from all the debris that flowed through and around them!
At this end, the muck pile was probably up to mid-thigh for me.

Here is the excavator starting to dig out the river, so water can start flowing through the culverts under the street instead of over the street.

I should say here, that this happened on a Sunday morning. So we got ready for church, then put on our flip-flops and trudged through the mud, to get to church.
So this is now the other side of the slide. You can see our street, Amole 2.

So fast forward a couple of hours, and we are now on our way back from church. They have dug out part of the river so the water could flow, but now even more muck is piled on the street. So instead of everyone getting all muddied up, Chris carried everyone.... but me .... across the street, to the stairs that you see in the picture. We could walk up and around these units to get through. This is Gavin on his back.

This is a view from the top of the units. This stream was probably 6 to 7 feet down from street level. That's a lot of mud, rocks, trees, tires :), you name it, to fill that up!
If you see the light pole to the left of the picture, that is approximately where our house is.

Ok, so boys will be boys! Chris carries them through the mess, just so they can jump in and play in the mess, on the other side! ......In their church clothes!!!!!

We finally made it home, and started to wash feet...

Here you have it, just another exciting thing to deal with in Tembagapura. Thankfully no one was injured, or worse. People were moved out of their houses, but are now back in them.
If I think about it, in my very busy life, I will go take "after" pictures today and post them soon. Until then...
Slipping and Sliding in Tembagapura,

Happy Birthday Gavin!

I know, I know!!! It's only a month late!

Gavin's 9th birthday was November 11th. I am a little bit behind in my blog post...

So forget the rest of Manado, I am just going to post other things, and maybe one day get back to our Manado trip.

So here is my one and only picture of Gavin! The poor guy... the last of four birthdays in a two month time period. Hopefully he will survive and not too much counseling will be in his future... :D

And if that isn't bad, look at HIS "cake"!! I didn't even attempt to make creeps. He just got STUCK with ice cream! Maybe I should really start saving for counseling sessions now!!! :D

Happy Birthday Gavin! Don't look so excited... Sorry it is so late in posting. Next year I will try to do better!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Volcano

Another of the tours we got while in Manado, was to a dormant volcano. It was about a two hour drive, through crowded streets and very narrow roads, from our hotel. When we finally made it to where the cars could go no more, it was about a 20 minute walk up to the top of the volcano.

Here is our group starting out.

At the top, there was a survey marker.

The family on top of the world.... or maybe just a volcano. :)

An active volcano "across the valley" from where we were. It's the smoke coming up from the right side of the volcano on the left.

The city of Manado from up on top the volcano.

The inside...

The kids...

Long Drive, long day. But very worth it!

Bunaken Island

While in Manado, part of our package was to take the family snorkeling as many times as we wanted. Well, we ended up going out for one day. With all the scuba classes, that was as good as it was going to get.

Our guides took us to a place called Bunaken Island. We did some snorkeling, and then they took us into the island to have lunch.

Below is a view of the island from where we were snorkeling.

This is the restaurant where we ate. It was a family owned restaurant.

Lunch....... :)

Oh, excuse me, this was lunch! Ha Ha Ha!
They took us "out back" to pick out which fish we wanted. I think this was from the catch just that morning.

Everyone sitting down to eat.... well, except for Chris. He was taking the picture. ;)

You know, it is just lovely eating a fish with its eyeballs still there!

After lunch, we did some exploring. Here is how they dried their clothes.
Our hotel was straight across the ocean from where this picture was taken.

Of course, Chris knows no stranger, and started chatting it up with some of the locals while the rest of us checked out the souvenirs.

Mersades and Mike waiting patiently for the shopping to be done.

And finally..... Remember way back when we first moved here, I took a picture of the "Squat Pot" being taken out of the house and a western toilet being put in? Welllllll, I finally had a chance to use one!! Let me just tell you, Thank Goodness I had my swimsuit on!! Why people do this, I really don't get it!!! It's something I don't want to have to repeat!
Here is a picture of my very first "Pot"! :D

Bunaken Island..... Many first for me!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Under the Sea!

While the divers were learning how to dive, the rest of us went snorkeling. The reef was a 20 minute boat ride from where we were staying. It was very interesting and lots of fun. All I have are pictures from our friends camera, of life under the water!

Loved the Star Fish!

And we found Nemo! ... and his home! :)

Ok, I guess I really loved the Star Fish! Here's four and counting... See if you can find number 4!

Our friend just happened to spot a Sea Turtle! How cool is that!!! You can't see it that well, but it is still there!

Life under the sea is amazing! Just like it is on land! We are very fortunate to be able to experience and see this part of the world!
Under the Sea.... Under the Sea....!

Friday, November 12, 2010

SCUBA Diving, Manado, Indonesia

Back to our vacation in Manado....

The biggest reason we chose to go to Manado was to get Chris, Mersades, and Teddy SCUBA certified, and do it at a price that wouldn't kill the travel account. Many people who live in Tembagapura have gone to Manado to do just this, and all have recommended for us to get the certification done in Manado.

Gavin, who wasn't old enough to get his SCUBA certification, could pass the "Bubbles" course and do open water diving, one on one with a guide, up to two meters. Next year, when he turns 10 we plan to take him back to Manado and get him fully certified.

Here are all the divers, with Gabrielle using Chris' secondary regulator. This was in the pool at the hotel.

Dad and Gabby.



Well, I got a few pictures out of order.... These next two are of the group of divers getting all their equipment ready to do their pool diving. They needed so many hours of pool time to be certified.

Here is the group headed out to do their open water diving. They had to to four open water dives to get their certification.
Love this picture!!

Just sitting back waiting for the boat to get to the reef.

Mersades and our friend Lorraine, who also took the course.

Chris and Gavin... (Gavin it trying real hard to contain all that excitement!) This was also Gavin's one and only open water dive. When this was over, Gavin told Chris that this was the best day of his life!!! He also informed his dad that he no longer wanted to join the Army, and that he wanted to become a Navy SEAL!!!!
Since then, Chris and a friend of ours have pulled him back in to the Army, by showing him a show on Master Combat Diving in the Army! Goodness, that was a close one.... :)

Chris helping Mersades get her gear on.

Ted getting ready..... Goodness, he is sooooo cute!!! :)

Chris is ready to dive...

Here is Gavin with his instructor. I can't believe this is the only picture I uploaded of Gavin with his diving gear on.... Just fire me now! :)

I believe this was the groups second dive.

I didn't go out on the boat with them for their third and fourth dives, so I guess this is where the picture taking ends. But no worries!! I have many more pictures to post from our vacation in Manado. So stay tuned.... Next up will be the snorkeling pictures!
Have a wonderful day!