Saturday, June 30, 2007

Florida Gators Rock

Well, our week at Disney has come to an end. After spending thousands of dollars we don't have, we packed up Dad's car, and set off for Virginia. Since Gainesville is only a couple of hours north of Orlando, I asked Dad if we could stop off for an hour or so to visit my old haunts at the University of Florida. I am a 1985 graduate, and probably the biggest Gator fan in Indonesia. It was a blast visiting the campus again. I had not been back to UF since 1990, so it has been some time. We visited the Gator store where I dropped a couple of hundred bucks buying T-shirts and other Gator stuff. My girls are now Gator fans, and are sporting the correct colors and clothing. Good for them!! GO GATORS!!

Friday, June 29, 2007

America is FAT

When you have lived overseas for a long time, the first thing you notice when you return to the states is how large the people are. It is incredible. We could not believe the number of obese people we saw wandering Disney. Most rented little electric carts to get around the park....I think we have a problem in this country.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Family Photos

We took advantage of the gorgeous weather while at the Gran Floridian to take some family photos. My sister's family is pictured above. Kathleen's oldest son, Steven, just graduated from high school and will be going to Virginia Tech in just a few weeks.

We then got a shot of the entire family, but we were missing Pam and I used the magic of Photoshop to include them in the photo below....

Kayla Meets Cinderella

Megan (Kayla's cousin) and Kayla got dressed up like princesses, and then met some Disney Princesses at the Gran Floridian for a character dinner. The only princess Kayla wanted a photo with was Cinderella. The dinner was good, but the bill was not.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Animal Kingdom

If you go to Disney, skip Animal Kingdom. It was incredibly crowded, and many long lines that were not worth the wait. I am sure the park would be way cool if they weren't so crowded, but the crowds were just too large. We made it an early day, and then took off for the peace and quiet of the hotel. Dad and I managed to skip out and play a round of golf on one of the Disney courses....that was well worth the trouble from our wives.

By the way, that is "Grand Dad" pictured above with Kayla.

Monday, June 25, 2007

EPCOT Center

Today was EPCOT day. Let me begin by saying that we enjoyed EPCOT more than the Magic Kingdom. There are more options for adults, and still plenty of stuff for little kids to enjoy as well. They have at Disney now these things called a Fast Pass. They are great. You sign up for one when arriving at the park, and it allows you to pass all the people in line and go right to the front of the ride. So, the secret arrive at the park early, get the fast passes you want, and then plan your time around the times of your fast pass.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

First Day at Disney

We got up early, actually woke up at around 4:00 in the morning, and went to the magic kingdom. Kayla had a great time, but we got pretty tired at around 3:00 in the afternoon. It seems that all we do at Disney is wait in lines, eat and drink, and spend tons of money. Oh's vacation.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Long Trip to Florida

It was a very long trip to Florida. It took over 36 hours until we finally arrived at Disney World. We were greeted by Mom and Dad, and rapidly fell asleep. Good to be in the States, but Man, what a long flight. Thankfully, Kayla was incredible....

Friday, June 22, 2007

Leaving in 30 Minutes

Ok, we have to get in the car in about 30 minutes to go to the airport, so I have to make this quick. This is the most recent update on the house. The roof for our main living room is going up. The main roof over the rest of the house will be installed when we return. There is a special ceremony called a "salamatan" that has to be performed before the main roof gets put up. Tika's mom and family will all come for is important in Indonesia for this to be done.

Ok, Tika is yelling at me to go take a shower before I leave, and can't believe I am making a blog entry at this time.....better get going....see you in the states....

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Packing Day

I posted eight more photos from Irian Jaya if you want to take a look....

It is one of those "last minute" kinda days....gotta get packed, get our staff ready for our departure, print tickets, get money, etc... I also need to back-up all my computer files before I leave....that can take some time. We still have most of tomorrow as well for the truly "last minute" stuff....

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Bogor Botanical Gardens

I have a new fondness for Orchids since visiting the Orchid gardens in Singapore. The Orchids at Bogor Botanical Gardens were really nice too, but not quite as nice as Singapore's. This time, though, I brought the correct lens to photograph the orchids. Here are a couple of shots I got today....pretty nice, heh??

New Family Portrait

We took a trip up to Bogor today (in the rain) to visit the Botanical Gardens. It was gorgeous up there, so we took some new family photos....we haven't done that in some time, so there you go....the above photo is a sample...

We talked with Mom and Dad via ichat this morning trying to sort out our ticket fiasco that was caused by total stupidity on my part....the little date mistake cost me about 900 dollars, but it's only money though, right? Well, money that could have bought a brand new set of golf clubs, but lets not think about that....

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Komoro Gallery Posted

I only have uploaded 8 photos so far, but just wanted to let you know that I have started a new gallery of photos from the Komoro Tribe in Irian Jaya. Click on the pbase galleries link to the right to view the photos.

A Day in Traffic

I had every intention of starting today early. Well, early by vacation standards....maybe start at 8:00 ?? Well, we woke up to rain, so that just told me I needed to stay in bed we did, and we finally got our lazy bones out of bed at around 10:00.

Now in a normal country, if you had to do a few things at work, and then drive about 20 miles to pick up your mail, it would probably take at most a couple of hours. Well, not in Jakarta!!.....I left for school at about 10:30 to do a just a few things, and then I had to drive to the embassy to pick up my mail. I got home at about 4:30 in the afternoon having accomplished hardly anything other than picking up my, I must have spent 4 hours in traffic to travel 20 miles and back....unreal.....I wonder how much of my life I have spent in a car on Indonesian roads?? Don't answer that would be scary.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Freeport Mine Gallery Now Posted

I just posted 20 of my best shots from the Freeport Copper and Gold mine in a new gallery called Images From Freeport Mine. Just click on the link to the right (my pbase galleries) to view the photos. I will post the other photos from the Komoro Village in the next few days. It is best to view the photos using the slide show function when in the gallery.

House Check

We went to check on the house today, and to clear up a few matters. The biggest change was that they finally removed all the bamboo under our entrance. You can now see the fish ponds that will surround the front walkway to our entrance. Looking pretty cool. The fish pond will actually go under the house on the right side, and end in the small bathroom at the front of the that bathroom, it will be open to the sky with a small garden and the fish pond...that area will be glassed in.....hard to explain, but it will be way cool.

They are also putting up some steel beams for the roof over the main living area. The rest of the roof will be built when we return from the states.

I played golf up at Sentul today with Tom, Esti and Will. I played really badly. Except for a couple of really good drives, I couldn't do anything right. Dad, I will try to get better before playing with you....I don't want to be an embarassment.....

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day, Dad!! I hope you liked the present that Kathleen arranged for you. Your golfing buddy from afar is thinking of you, and can't wait the few more days until we will once again hit the links together.....gonna be great!!!

I spent most of the day (my father's day is almost over) watching the third round of the US Open on TV which followed the Yankee game against the Mets.....a perfect day of laying on the couch watching baseball and golf, snoozing every hour or so, and routing Tiger on in the Open.....then it was Burger King at the mall and an ice cream doesn't get much better than this.....

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Kayla in the Kompass Newspaper

Ok, finally got my blog up-to-date. You probably want to scroll down a few entries and read upwards to catch up on my trip to Papua.

I arrived home yesterday, and Tika showed me a large advertisement in the Indonesian Newspaper called The Kompass. When I say large, it was really big....took up most of the page. I remember back about a month ago when they took Kayla's photo, but I didn't know it was for a huge ad for Garuda Foods like this.....pretty cool to see your daughter's photo in the newspaper....we will have to get it framed. The Kompass is a national newspaper read all over Indonesia...

Friday, June 15, 2007

The Most Remote Golf Course in the World

The kids all flew back to Jakarta on Thursday, and I stayed an extra day to get some more photos, and to also play golf on probably the most remote golf course ever built.

It was incredible. The course was literally carved out of the rain forest. As you are playing, there are hundred foot trees lining the fairways with Birds of Paradise, Horn Bills, Parrots and Cockatoos flying overhead. It is unreal. The course was very wet as it rains every day, but the fairways and greens were outstanding.

I played with Bill Harris (pictured above) who is the CFO (Chief Financial Officer) of Freeport. He is also the guy who arranged our trip for us. His son played on my softball team and was also a student in my Pre-Calculus class.

After our round of golf, Bill arranged for me to fly back in his executive jet with him to Jakarta. talk about was first class all the way....we were driven to the door of the jet, and then took off less than five minutes after boarding. The food was outstanding, and we flew directly to Jakarta with no, what luxury. No ticketing, no baggage claim, no lines. What a treat. Thanks again, Bill, for such a great trip!!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Lab Visit and Butterflies

Today we visited Freeport's laboratory where they test the environmental impact from the tailings. Tailings are the crushed rock and stone that comes down the river from the mine that is the waste rock that contains no copper or gold. There are massive amounts of tailings that are deposited in the river. Freeport tests the river for any contaminants and also tests growing different plants, trees, fruit, vegetables, etc. in the tailings so that the area can be reclaimed when mining is finished. The plan is to plant thousands of trees and plants in the areas where tailings are to restore the area close to it's natural state.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Hospital Visit

Before we went to visit the Komoro Tribe, we stopped off at the local hospital built by Freeport. We had brought with us several boxes of stuffed animals and toys for the kids. One of the most memorable moments is when we stopped by one of the beds (pictured on top) where a little girl had cerebral (sp?) malaria which is a very rare form of malaria that effects the brain. Her parents are from the Dani Tribe in the highlands, and they hiked more than 75 miles to get to the hospital. They said that their daughter was unconscious when they arrived at the hospital. The parents cried when we gave them stuffed animals they were so happy. It was a very touching moment, and one I am sure our students will never forget.

Eating Grubs and Worms

This grub was eaten alive by one of our brave students....
Above is the wood the Komoro cut open revealing some tasty worms that were fed to a few lucky people....

The Komoro

Today we visited the Komoro Tribe about an hour's drive from Timika. The Komoro are the lowland's tribe that were still using stone tools until the late 70's. Our visit was really interesting. They welcomed us with a dance, and then we were able to try some of their food which consisted of live and cooked grubs, and some worms taken from wood. Yes, I tried them both, and they were actually not bad.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Gigantic Trucks

I think the kids, and myself included, thought that the trucks at the mine were the most impressive. These are the largest trucks in the world. They cost 4 million dollars each, and each tire cost over 50,000 dollars. They are gigantic. The other impressive thing about these trucks are the drivers. They are, for the most part, driven by local Papuans. Most of them didn't even wear clothes before learning to drive these massive trucks, and most had never seen a motor vehicle before.