A killer, a dinosaur and a magic land

20181029_185437I knew he could kill me in a blink of an eye! But, I stayed there staring at him from behind a tree, I could see him moving slowly and I could also hear the noise coming out of his nose or mouth, I wasn’t sure…then I realized there were another 2 even closer to me. So dangerous!

The guide explained to us that the Komodo dragon can weigh up to 150 pounds and eat up to 80% of their own body weight in one sitting. Well, I guess this didn’t make me feel very safe, especially as our protection walking around the reserve was only one long stick with a Y shape.

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Some people believe they are “dragons” and some that they descend from dinosaurs but in fact they are biiiiig lizards “varanus komodoensis”. There was a theory saying that these islands had some effects in the bodies of animals and humans as this lizard is extremely big and they also found in Flores what they called the “hobbit cave” where bones, smaller than usual, from primitive humans were waiting to be revealed.

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Indonesia is a very interesting country with more than 17 000 Islands, and I booked a trip for 2 days and 1 night in a wooden boat that brought me to see the dragons in Rinca and Komodo Island. I need to say that it’s quite pricey, about 1 million rupees for the boat plus another 500k to enter the islands and snorkel that national park with no luxe except … Bingo! You have the luxury of feeling the wind on your face and see the tide and the funny shapes created by the current, you sleep under the stars floating in the middle of the ocean and the moon caress your skin, and yes next morning you see the sunrise from the boat while you navigate to reach Padar Island.

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What a dream, this country has it all! I also swam with mantas and I saw their dance under the water like giving us a private show, then we headed to the pink beach, which is not that pink but with some filters hit tons of likes on Instagram.

 

One of the good presents of this trip was to meet Lusia (yes, with S), a bubblish lady from Surabaya. She was doing her 1st solo trip at 34years old and as we had the same age and both studied the same plus she was very funny, we immediately clicked. She helped me to relax after being upset for the lack of punctuality of the company we were using for the trip. And she was trying to not be obvious taking me videos and photos in the boat as many Indonesians do to foreigners to post them on social media and get likes from other Indonesians…weird thing yes, but I got used to it after 2 years of living here. So when I saw her taking me a video, I posed for it and she laughed and said: how do you know? I laugh as well and replied: well, the camera is right in front of me!. She ended up telling me the story of her life with a couple of tears that made me feel like she was not that happy about her job and having some pressure to fit into the Indonesian society but she has quite a free soul which I loved.

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I’ll keep as well in my memory the moment when I was walking behind the komodo dragon (2m away) to pose for a picture – encouraged by the ranger – and the animal didn’t stop watching me for a second, also I will not forget how after “posing” for all my pictures he just slept and the next tourist that arrived after me couldn’t take any, perhaps he liked me (as a potential snack). Their skin looks like a snake one and the movement of their tongue as well, I cannot define the noise they do and I definitely don’t want to see them running towards me ever! (20km per hour)

What an adventure, Thank you life, Thank you Indonesia!

 

Bali: forbiddance that will bring you to heaven

The government closed the airport, vanished the TV and ask to stop the WIFI, what, The WIFI? No please, take my life but no the wifi (joke). We were not allowed to go on the streets or anywhere actually, if you were staying at a resort you couldn’t go out, or even to the beach, forget about music and also light!

29339526_10155516659235888_2785035375171600384_nThe darkness was covering everything, and we were not allowed to turn on the lights. Few years before one of the employers was catch by the police fixing a light at the gate and was deported. I was excited and little bit concerned as well. “Nyepi” The day of silence had come and I was in Bali.

It was 19:30hrs when I came out of my room and BANG I couldn´t see anything, there was not a single light in the resort, quite unsure if I was allowed or not I used my cellphone to be able to see little bit and went downstairs and suddenly when I looked up, the whole universe was contemplating me, I was absolutely astonished by the quantity of stars I could see, it was an overwhelming feeling and the silence allowed me to hear the music of the nature.

Nyepi is an Hindu celebration based on the Saka calendar, a very special “New Year” and it is a day reserved for self reflection, preceded by the Ogoh-Ogoh ceremony where the communities chase the demons and build big figures to represent them and bring out on the streets while the young people play some music, and everybody makes a lot of noise to scare them.

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A day of silence, while us westerns would be preparing the party blowers, a playlist with all the current hits, etc. The Balinese new year is the opposite: God, humans and earth come to a balance, the whole island stops. I decided to stay awake with my friend and we took one big bed from the swimming pool and carried it to a very open area to see the sky. Hours passed while we were in silence just looking at the universe and tons of stars that might not even exist now but that sent their light thousands of kilometers away to reach my eyes. The night was chilly and I could feel the humidity and also hear the waves crashing on the sand, we took some towels to cover our bodies and we decided to sleep there enjoying this magical experience.

It was hard to believe that without a telescope the sky looked this way, it’s also hard to believe that this is the way it would look everyday above our heads if we were not surrounded by lights everywhere. There were so many shooting stars that I told mi friend: after 1 hour here, I will be slim, rich, etc, as I can ask so many wishes. We laugh in the darkness, and I started my special ritual that I do in moments when I feel so blessed and I say in my mind; Thank you God, thank you life, destiny, family, myself, my job, mother nature…at the end it is all related and things need to fit like gears in a machine to let us be there in the right moment with the right people.

Amsterdam and my tiny socks

16422607_10154400095055888_8758513939919827222_oSnow?? – I exclaimed – and look down at my tiny socks and olive converse.

Of course! It is -3 but it seems that there is no snow today, still is going to be cold – The KLM flight attendant gave me a quick look and probably felt bad about my unprepared outfit.

In fact, I was prepared…at least my body’s upper part haha. I was traveling to Mexico for my yearly holidays after being 1 year between Thailand, Japan Malaysia and Bali working and my company bought me the longest trip ever, crossing the world.  I remember checking the weather online but probably I got confused between the 13°C In Mexico and the -3°C in Amsterdam.16003165_10154346023340888_5225664511900000040_n

Anyway, I had 7 hours of an stopover in Amsterdam and I was ready to discover the city, I put on my long sleeves shirt, my hoodie from Paris and a scarf from India, took the metro that makes 17 minutes to the central and wrongly or luckily came out from the backside that looks to the river. It was 8 in the morning and the pale sun started to come out behind the buildings and my happiness was rising together with it, feeling the cold wind in my face and smiling to life.

8:30am and this marihuana smell was everywhere, OMG really? At least you should eat some corn flakes with milk for breakfast. I remember that smoke marihuana is like buy a Coca Cola in this country but I am not interested in this type of souvenir…at least not now.

Amsterdam Is as beautiful as all the postcards you can find, the architecture and its reflections on the channels give to the city a “movie touch” where everything is perfect. I imagine me and my boyfriend riding our bicycles with the pale winter sunrays on our faces, laughing and singing…but first I need to find a boyfriend haha.15994887_10154347778460888_8135025271190524704_o

My legs and feet were freezing and my nose was as red as Rudolph the ranger so I did a quick stop for breakfast which was delicious and help me to warm myself up before continue my tour. I end up in front of the famous letters that says I love Amsterdam where of course I took many selfies. And there I was, standing in front of the museum that is dedicated to my favorite painter when I was a kid, I knew his life since I was about 5 years old, Vincent Van Gogh, always the geniuses are misunderstood.  Didn’t have enough time to get in but I did it on my way back from Mexico to Bali and I was the happiest girl on earth.

I forgot to tell you that I was traveling to Mexico to visit my parents and friends but without telling them so it was a surprise, I supposed to be there for Christmas but I couldn’t, therefore I was full of excitement and buying souvenirs everywhere.

I choose to be happy always and that makes every moment perfect!

Japan: Snowflakes, nudity and red foxes

FB_IMG_1508813372484A red fox!!!! I couldn’t believe it. We were driving on the roads covered by snow on our way to an onsen that was in the middle of the forest and Lydia was yelling: red fox, where are you? Come red fox!. I was in the back, in the darkness and in silence appreciating the nature’s shapes and shadows, last time I saw snow, it was in Canada 9 years before and just in the city. Suddenly it happened, a red fox jump into the road and we all got excited like kids in our car, whoever was driving diminished the speed as it seems it wanted to cross the road, but in fact the red fox was playing with us…or at least that’s what we assumed as it was running on the side of the car and then kind of in front guiding us until it finally left.

The onsen was still closed as it was end of November, so we came back few days later and we succeed, I stick my nose to the glass on the window on our way to this place as it was snowing and I also enjoy to see the naked trees covered by this white powder.

20171024_110808We pay in the onsen by putting a coin inside a machine, got in, got naked and proceed to take a shower sitting in a little plastic chair in front of a long mirror, side by side with other ladies taking shower, fortunately or unfortunately it was separated for boys and girls, so while washing properly all your body with the soap and shampoo provided I was trying to don’t look in the mirror the other ladies around me and also avoid to see my fat reflecting all those hamburgers and beers that I should not eat and the lack of gym hours. We entered to the suuuper hot water where another 2 Japanese old ladies were already there, in other situation I would be making jokes and laughing loud but it was Japan. I need to admit that was little bit embarrassing to be naked with some coworkers but I was trying to focus in the cultural experience, that was very quiet by the way.

We went to the outside area for what you need to do few steps in the snow and jump in the hot water as the temperature was about 10 and my only cover was my own skin. It was not snowing anymore but if I stand I could see the forest and all the trees covered by the snow as long as the light allowed me to see, it was purely amazing. I felt so alive and grateful to be there, sharing it with a girl from France and a girl from Japan, across the bamboos that separate us from the male onsen we can hear the boys voices so 1 guy from Morocco and another from France where enjoying this as well.

Few days later I was taking pictures outside of the resort when I started to hear some bustle in the back and when I look there was a red fox standing very close to the entrance surrounded by some people taking pictures, suddenly the red fox started walking towards me and I got super excited ready with my smartphone to take some pictures, and then for a second I got little bit scared as it was a wild animal, What if it attacks me? Then this beautiful animal just accelerated the pace and got lost among the trees not before I took few pictures to remember this forever.

Japan was welcoming me with so many treasures to make me wanting to stay there between snowflakes, nudity and red foxes.

Sahoro; snow trekking, snowflake & happy ending

Another day, another adventure! We took the gondola and went all the way up to the mountain to go down by doing snow trekking. It was quite confusing for the security guys at the entrance as normally people will do either ski or snowboard but they let us go.. the problem was when we keep going up and up and I started to feel vertigo and once we came out of the gondola and I look down to the mountain I was full of fear.

Here I am, a Mexican girl without experience in snow trekking, on the top of the mountain and with vertigo what a great combination!…suddenly a snowflake settled on my arm, I was absolutely astonished as it looked exactly like in cartoons and I took a picture of it to never ever forget how perfect it was and that it might be a sign of nature saying that everything will be fine so I made my mind and started to walk all the way down from the mountain feeling its ethereal consistency and capturing the beauty of the snow with my poor 5mp smartphone.

I do need to say that I had a short rehearsal for my snow trekking experience couple of weeks before with a funny ending.

Let’s go out to walk on the snow and verify the area as we will open the resort soon! I was not exactly fit so she was in the front opening up the path for the virgin snow. Me, well…trying to manage to get her same pace, don’t fall down and take pictures at the same time. Believe it or not I perfectly managed all of this and before getting back to the hotel as it was lunch time I wanted to take the last picture because the wind was making the powder snow fly and with the sunlight was just magical, but right after I took the picture and try to walk the last steps down leading to the entrance next to the restaurant, my snowshoes got stocked one into another and like in a slow-motion shoot I was going down, first on my knees and then for a fraction of second standing like a crucified person as my hands were into the poles straps and …puff in a blink of an eye my face was in the snow!! Then with some help to remove my equipment I managed to get up and realize the full restaurant with the entire ski and snowboard instructors were stuck to the big glass wall looking at me, laughing hysterically and taking pictures. That night was the first training I need to deliver for all of them at the packed conference room… well, at least all of them know me by now, I said to myself.

That night my introduction for the training was: Good evening everyone, my name is Abi, I am from Mexico and YES it was me today the one that fell down in front of the restaurant, the whole room exploded into laughter including myself. We need to laugh about ourselves sometimes, it’s healthy.

I can say that this day I came face to face with the snow haha and I like it.

Snowtrekking- There is always a first time
Coming down from the mountain
Need a break
Bloody scary
Vertigo time
The picture I took before falling down
Landscapes with my guide
In love with the shadows

Japan; a dangerous Mexican landed!

12313970_10153324932600888_3130647259952545521_nI was stopped by customs at the airport! Of course I was the quota of the day; a Mexican girl (dangerous) living in Thailand (double dangerous) and coming for the 1st time to Japan, it must be something suspicious! Even if my passport was full of stamps from all over the world.

In fact I was going there to train the staff of one of the resorts from the company I work with, but well, there is always a 1st time to be stopped and I found it quite funny, one more story to keep. NO marihuana, NO tacos, NO… porn (well… not sure about my phone). Officers were super nice but with their poor English they didn’t arrive to understand everything that easily, anyway I didn’t stay there more than 10 or 15 minutes. An apology from the officers and then I came out to meet my Japanese friend that was waiting for me with an ironic smile knowing something went wrong.

Walking through the colorful ails full of what looked like hieroglyphics (Japanese Kanjis) I was feeling like a little girl in a candyland; food, drinks, bread, candies, basically the airport in Hokkaido Island was looking more like a supermarket for me. We stop to buy a “food box”, such a cute and smart way to bring some food into the train that we need to take to our destination. My friend put her phone (old one) in a little machine and in a blink of an eye she paid electronically…such a normal thing for her and super cool for me, especially as her phone was not a smart phone, but still smart LOL.

I was carrying quite a big luggage as temperatures were expected to be below 0°C and that would be a huge change for my body as I was living in Phuket, Thailand (around 30°C). The train was very proper and of course I was the only foreigner at that moment taking the train in Hokkaido Island and going to the ski resorts that were still closed, such an adventure for me. My eyes were trying to record everything as well as my ears, I was super excited… such a lucky girl…and I didn’t need to pay anything!!Well… I did with all my extra hours and no days off later on but that was nothing compare to what is one of these experiences in your life.

A lady with a little food cart was walking along the train selling food and beer, and of course as a Mexican girl who loves beer and knowing my Japanese friend also does, we bought our can to enjoy our 2 hours trip. When finally arrived to Shintoku station another 2 girls were waiting for us, we pass to the mini supermarket to get…of course, more beer! And snacks, OMG I was absolutely happy – a Japanese supermarket, and it’s me, I am here!! Hey parents look at this – I wished they were with me but they were at 10,616 km in Mexico.

It was getting dark when we arrive to our location in the mountains and the General Manager came out to welcome me together with the few staff working at the resort before the reopening that would be couple of weeks later, it was fantastic to see and feel a resort that is closed, no heating, just basic lights, reception and bar cover in blankets, empty vitrines at the boutique…WOW a perfect scene for a horror movie!

They took me to my room and OMG it was a traditional style one with a TATAMI! This particular smell was floating in my room, it was the tatami material, I wanted to lied down and roll over like a panda, and it has this small table with chairs that had no legs and slide doors covered by white kind of paper…of course I am giving you my description as a western that didn’t know anything about it…if some of you are reading this thinking how ignorant I am giving the descriptions, please forgive me.

I came down and walk to the small restaurant where we were meeting, walking through the dark and cold corridors with no more sound that my own steps and breathing was interesting still not scary. I was privileged to have the opportunity to see how does it looks a well-known resort when it is still closed and I was ready to rock my time in there. Be careful everyone, a dangerous Mexican is in Japan!