I'm sitting alone at a Japanese restaurant in Sanur called Ryoshi -- the very same place Robert Delfs took me to in 2003 during my first visit to Bali. Dave Patchen was with me during that visit, but he had stomach problems and was unable to come out and eat with us. It's been a real treat having such an international community of acquaintances and friends, as someone is bound to be wherever I happen to be at the moment.
Last night, I went out to Batu Jimbar Cafe for dinner with Delfs, Mary Jane Stoll, Drew Wong. (who recently found himself in the middle of a carjacking/gun battle in Malawi, which resulted in the loss of everything he had with him), and two of his friends, Kevin and Naoko. The cafe has an amazing Indian chai made with fresh ingredients, and if you are ever in Bali, I recommend checking it out if you're staying in Sanur.
More coincidences: we bumped into Larry Smith, who was sitting alone on a zodiac by Gorgonian Passage, and Stephen Frink and Jackie and Mary Lou Reid were on the Pindito in Raja Ampat while we were down in FakFak. Unfortunately, I heard that the visibility up north was terrible, and after some disappointing dives, the Pindito hit an island and lost her front mast. We saw her being worked on in the Sorong harbor, and she looked pretty bad.
I know it's just a matter of time before I end up on a boat where something bad happens, and I feel fortunate each time there is a close call. :)
15 days on a boat with strangers seems to be pushing the limits. We were fortunate and had a good group, but on the last day, an incident with dwindling bacon reserves caused one guest to tell another to f-ck off. Yes, you read that right. Bacon caused problems on the boat.
Oh, and I finally finished reading A Fine Balance and My Year of Meats, both recommended to me by Hitomi Nakao during a lunch on the Kamakura coast in Japan. I thoroughly enjoyed them, although both were rather depressing.
I'm done with lunch now. Thanks for listening. :)