Monday, December 27, 2010

Dragon Fight! One day trip to Komodo Island part 2

The ranger and the local guide are walking around us to make sure we are save. They have the Y shape sticks can push away dragons if they get close to us. They say it is hard to know how many of dragons here because dragons don't have the sense of their own territory. The zoo of San Diego has a team here to study those dragons, they cut open a deer or sheep to attract the dragons and put numbers on them [ Don't ask me how they do it..] they think there are about 1300 dragons on this island which also means there are about 1290 dragons we haven't seen as far hiding some where around us...

Luckily, noon is just too hot for them and most of them are resting under the bushes. It is a bit too quiet, the guide is now searching for their egg nests.

After the mating season, female dragons lay their eggs in a 1.5-2 meter deep dirt hole made by one kind of bird. They usually make couple more holes around the real one to misleading the egg thieves. The eggs will lay in the dirt for 9 months so the mothers usually guard not far away from the egg nests. Ironically, dragons also eats the eggs and that's what I am about to tell you.
I think that is the 3rd or 4th hole we find and at the same time, we see 2 female dragons are right by the nest. We move perpendicularly to their right side quickly about 4-5 meters away. We hear they hissing like snakes but 50 times louder. 2 female dragons are challenging each other face to face! We hide ourselves behind bushes and peak out through the leaves. All the sudden, the 2 dragons jump in the air and hit each other with chest and belly exactly like how Sumo players do. They fall into the bushes and we move 2 meters closer to them quickly, we finally dare to take a picture.

You can see there is a defeated dragon flat behind this monster
The one on top keeps pushing the bottom one into dirt, after 1-2 mins, the bottom one loses the fight and seems to us, loses its conscious. The guide tells us dragons have very fragile face and they can die if you hit their faces hard. The loser just lays on the ground belly up, the clearly bigger size winner leaves her and moves towards to the nest.

She gives us a nasty look and keeps going. She leaves us alone because she has a more important goal.
At beginning, we think she is the worried mother can not wait to check on those eggs. She slips into the nest hole and starts to dig into the egg holes.

After she tries to dig 2 different holes, we realise she is the outsider planing to eat the eggs!
We leave her alone after her second dig and I hope she doesn't find out where the eggs are.The whole thing is so intensive we quietly keep going on the trail. The ranger and guide keep telling us we are very lucky. There was a Japanese TV Show spent 4 weeks to wait for a fight last month. Meanwhile, the guide spots the other interesting animal!

Remember those birds making the nest holes? They are chicken size no fly ability birds always come in pairs. They are similar to the Kiwi birds in New Zealand. The pair infront of us are light brown color and using their skinny but strong legs to dig a new 1.5-2 meters deep dirt hole.

They are hidden in the deep bushes, we only catch a blur image from behind.

After those unexpected great events, we are ready to have a break.We take the boat for lunch on a little white sand beach nearby.

Dragon!? A day trip to Komodo Island Indonesia

I had seen those reptiles before on TV.

I forgot the program was shown on Discovery or National Geographic channels but I remembered I felt horrified by the look and size of those giant lizards. I pitied the poor cameramen! Thats why I almost get a heart attack when B tells me we are going to have this day trip to Komodo Island for visiting those infamous Komodo dragon, what can I say besides life fulls of Karma.......

The plan is to take a one day trip to Komodo island from Lombok island during our Christmas vacation in Indonesia. The problem is the 2 islands are not that close to each other so we have to take a flight instead of boat [ it takes a week for a boat trip ]. The trip takes so many different transportation tools just for getting there. The schedule is as fellow:

6:00 AM : a car picks us up from hotel and take one hour to drive to the airport.
7:15 AM : 1.5 to 2 hours flying time to get to Flores Island.
9:00 AM : short car ride to the harbor and take a speed boat to Rinka Island [ a smaller island right by Komodo island where has more chance to spot a giant reptile] .
9:45 AM : arrive Rinka Island and hike for 1.5 hours
11:30AM : snorkeling by the Batu Bolong island and have lunch by the beach.
2:30 PM : take the boat ride back to Flores Island
3:00 PM : 2 hours fly back to Lombok Island and have a air tour see the second highest volcano mountain in Indonesia.
5:30PM : one hour car drive back to hotel
6:30PM : take a shower and celebrate we meet the biggest lizard in the world!

We are six people-3 couples and we booked a flight for 6 of us few weeks ago. Now, we have a problem--they only have 4 seats plane available this week! That means 3 passengers can get on the plane for a day and no couples want to be separated during the trip! I almost want to give up my right to go [happily] but I feel guilty when I see B's disappointed face. We decide one couple goes per day and use 3 days to finish our goal.

B's younger brother and his girlfriend went yesterday and we are going today. We manage to wake up on time, pick up our breakfast sandwiches from the hotel [lovely Oberoi resort!] and get in a Suzuki four wheelers heading to the airport.

This is my very first time fly in private airplane, I am extremely excited.

B is the co-pilot and I get to be the photographer. He has the responsibility to pull out the parachute of the airplane if we gets in trouble....scary.

The tiny airplane gets in the sky really quickly and I am stunned by the breathtaking view!
I fall in sleep on the half way!? When I wake up, I see this amazing "Jurassic Park" looks like view from my window! Ole! We are here!

The landing was bit trouble because the president of Indonesia parks 3 of his helicopters in the tiny Flores airport and we are not allowed to park with him.
What ever..we park ours on the grasses and keep heading towards to the port for the boat.
This boat is supposed for 6 but now just for us 2, Luxury

30 mins later, we finally land our feet on the Rinka Island--where the dragons hang out...
Well, generally speaking, I don't really enjoy the company of reptiles, the image of the lizard gets 50 times bigger than the ones hanging ot on our patio just makes my stomach sinking...I told B to try to imagine if one day I ask him to an island full of giant spiders 50 times bigger than usual ones..........he gets that.  I am here because of the greatness of love, haahaaa.

Here we go, the land of giant lizards!
For people who don't know much about those komodo dragons, their teeth are poisonous due to the heavy bad bacterias living in their mouths. You don't want to get too close to them and there is no medicine can save you on the island. If you get bitten, you better pray there is a flight to take you to Bali that day or you are screwed. Last incident was a ranger got bitten 4 months ago.............

We walk into an open field, dry and lifeless. Soon we see some interesting little one claw crabs and a water buffalo [ dragon's food...]

B spots one dragon wondering around the field even before the ranger, good eyes!
That is a female dragon. You can tell their sex by their size. Female dragon is smaller.
She looks quite fat not because she is pregnant, she just had her lunch and I don't want to know what she ate....Apparently, the Komodo dragon can eat up to 15 kg a meal.

We keep going but B is too focus on taking pictures to notice we are leaving and I have to drag him back to the group. I am not being too careful, last man got eaten 9 years ago was lost because he was taking pictures alone...they only found his glasses and camera......

We walk to the entrence bungalow to pay for the tickets and camera fee [ yes, you need to pay for taking reptile pictures] and a local ranger join us to lead our way to the trail. There are 2 trails, 5 km and 3 km. We choose the short one because it is too hot outside, the long one doesn't provide too much shade for the lizards or us to hide under.

There are some people live in the B&B bungalows here, they are very careful about what they cook. Dragons are very sensitive to the smell of blood. Girl shouldn't come here if she is in her period.

Even they only cook simple food like noodles and vegetables the dragons still gathering under the kitchen. about 5-6 of them.
 B is so excited and is taking about hundred million pictures of them. I say he never takes so many pictures of me but he replies " trust me, if I only gonna see you one hour in my life time, I would take a gazillion pictures of you." Hahaaaa. What a smart man knows the right answers to all the stupid questions.

Then, I find this guy, the true dragon look giant lizard! He is the coolest of all. The ranger tells us this dragon might be at the end of his life circle [ they can live up to 50-60 years] He is amazing!
After killing so many memories of our digital camera, we finally are going to the real trail. Before entering the national park, there is a wall with all the dead heads of dragon's food.
Couple seconds after we step on the trail, there is a strong and tough looking male dragon walking pass us. He has this mega attitude and poses like a big boss! 

We watch he passing by silently and think we are so lucky today to see so many dragons in the first 20 mins. Little do we know, we are about to witness a unusual event of this season--Dragon fight!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The color

Our schedule is tide and somehow I think we are on time.
Yesterday, we started to paint the studio. No need to explain, you can tell what we are up to!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bathroom---I love you

As my opinion, Kitchen and bathroom are the most important space at home.

I always know I want 2 bathrooms, it is scary enough to live with a guy but share the toilet ? No wayyyyyy. Besides, I really enjoy spending my time in my bathroom, I read, surfing on line, listen to music, have long bath, steam myself and have my full mask section. I can easily stay in my bathroom heaven for 1-2hours. I don't want to see B has to pee into the kitchen sink or our mini garden.

Especially a day like today, hard construction work kills my arms and lower back, nothing is better than soaking myself into my eggshell tub [from TOTO]with the book I read about hundred times [ so I don't need to pay too much attention to it.]

Today's recipe is: Harnn / Oriental Herb Bath salt+ Himalaya Magnolia Skin Pampering bubble bath.
I discovered Harnn during our last trip to Phi Phi island and I love their Oriental Herb collection. When I use their Oriental shampoo, my hair has the natural glow the next morning! The smell calms me down and drags me to very sleepy and peaceful place.

OK, enough talking, I am about to slip into my lovely tub, good night.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Update---Ikea, how can we survive without you~

Yes, We swore that we would say goodbye to IKEA for good.

But when you work under a tide budget, IKEA looks much more attractive than usual.
I have to say I used to Hateeeeeeeee IKEA lighting department, but ever since they started the PS series I noticed that they improved a lot in that section!

The lamps look fun and refreshing and we decided to finally say YES to them. Thanks for the free return policy, we took couple possible candidates to the studio for a tryout.
Notice some differences of the wood and cement work?
Our studio is going to be done in 1.5weeks!

See how we gave up IKEA

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New project

This comes out from no where, at least, we didn't think this day would come this soon.

We have a new project to work on---we are opening our new studio!

The beginning of this year B and I both discontinued our job contracts with the big corporations. We thought we were going to take some time off and to finish the  leftover projects in our hands. Maybe couple months later we would find jobs in China or Europe.....
Some nice friends heard we were taking a break from regular jobs, they past on some projects and we got busier and busier. Now, the little office place we share with other designers is not enough to us anymore, our shit slowly taking over other people's space. It is about time to get a serious working space for ourselves.

We are in a rush, we can not spend too much time on searching for the perfect spot. Fortunately we soon find a place has good location and reasonable rent. The only drawback is this place is completely empty...{ well...the rent is cheaper than others in the hood for a reason]

We get one month to fix this empty shell into a functional office.
Here is the place looks like now, we see what kind of magic we can play...
we want the first floor, and yes, it is actually a garage

Suppose be the main working area [ in the near future]
This will be our material lab and "get our hands dirty work room"

meeting room~~we love the old rusty window

Little kitchen and rest area for both us and the visitors

Since our home burned a hole in our pockets, we determined to spend as little as we can on this project. Nothing is cheaper than" do it yourself" when it comes to simple wood work. Tonight, we are going to visit B&Q, get some table saw, band saw, air staple!
No worry, we took model construction 1,2,3,4, we will try not to cut our fingers off or staple into our hands. The expensive tuition got to pay off some time some where.

Monday, October 4, 2010

On day in Soder

Maybe because I wrote about Soder, maybe because I am tired of the perfect Ostermalm. B and I decide to go to our old neighborhood---Medborgarplatsen today. It is the next station of Slussen. We get on our old school Swedish bicycles [mean they have only 3 gears] from Strandvagen and 10 mins later we are in Soder.

Soder is still so bohemian and 80's punk as we remember and on the way uphill I meet my childhood idol " Moomin"! I don't know how many of you know who moomin is, Moomin cartoon from Finland was a huge hit in Asia when I grew up.

Although the mascot is only playing with the kids but I still ask him to take a picture with me shamelessly!

After the high light of my day, we pop into a magazine shop we usually went to when we lived here. The shop carries more than 70-100 different mag from USA, England, Italy, Span, France, Sweden and so on. B is a watchaholic and he soon shows me this one:
OMG, this watch is designed by my very respectable school senior mate JW and I am so excited to see his work is on a mag cover! It is crazy to hold a work done in LA here and I am so proud and jealous at the same time! Congrats to M and J W! Stockholm people also love your work~~

Our ultimate goal today is going to shop some Asian food and there is a little shop right behind the apartment we lived before. Here is getting colder and colder, my asian stomach is screaming for some hot soup!! This little shop sells most of asian instant noodles and other goodies from Japan. I find this yummy waffle ice cream today and it makes me a happy girl in Stockholm!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

First time runner

I hate running.
Running is one thing I often wonder why people do it regularly. You see, If I want to go somewhere, I can bicycle which is much more fun and efficient. If I want to work out, I will do something involves in competing with B so I get motivated such as playing squash.

Again, never say never, this morning I become one happy runner for the very first time. What can I say? The nature of Stockholm is just perfect for running. I wake up at 7:00 am today, the sun is shinning and the air is crisp. All the sudden, I feel the desire to put on my running shoes and get into the forest cross street. I am ready to inhale all those great Pythoncidere!!

The air is so cold and I have to run faster to keep my body warm, the lake and the forest are so beautiful I almost forget how hard my heart is pumping and I can faint in any minute.

There are so many beautiful houses on the way but I am not in the mood to take pictures. I finish the small lap in one hour and have smoked reindeer as breakfast. [ Yes, I eat Rudolph !!]

What a fantastic way to start a day!

A home away from home

I am in B’s home town-Stockholm now, the place we call a home away from home.
For many of our friends from USA and Asia, Stockholm is “ the far far away kingdom” and it is. We usually spend  least 16 hours fly time to get here from either Taiwan or Los Angeles [where we lived before.]

Since my blog is all about A+AB home, why not introduce all “homes” we had lived from now on? So lets start with Stockholm then, where we lived, we are now and we definitely will come back many many many times in the future.

After we graduated from THE college, we started our Gypsy life style. The first place we moved to was Stockholm. It was summer and everything was bright and shin around the city, we planned to stay in Stockholm for at least 6 months.

B still had his room [yes, just a room] in his parents apartment but who on the earth could live in your husband’s little teenage room with your 14 boxes luggages and with your in laws for 6 months? At least I couldn’t. “YOU GOT TO FIND A APARTMENT FOR US!!!!!” I yelled to B.

And he did, we soon found one charming little furnished apartment located in a cool area” Soder” [meant south in Swedish] were available for 6 months. What a surprise? I thought it was hard to find spot in the center of the city? Well, it was an understatement to say the rent wasn’t cheap, it was super expensive!! And, the size of the apartment was very mini for people lived in Los Angeles near a decade. At first, I felt like sleeping in a shoe box....But we were not in the position to make a bargain, at least it was wayyyyy cheaper than living in the hotel, hahahaaa [ bitter /dry laugh]

Even though the apartment was quit small for us, I quickly fell in love with the life in Soder. The location was superb! People who visited Stockholm knew that this was a tiny little city. You could walk through the city easily with in couple hours. For example, it took me 35 mins walking from my apartment to my mother in law’s apartment. It meant I walked across 3 islands [ wasn’t that amazing?] and 3 town parts!

I was extra careful when we used the kitchen because we knew the apartment owner was a clean freak and he reminded us many many times how much work he put in building his gorgeous, completely white open kitchen.

I bought some white home accessories to go with the kitchen--My favorite spot in town " Tosse Bakery" 
Not only I stained the white counter with Kimchi sauce but B burned the owner's super pricy/ designer/ one of the kind kitchen table with our grill hot charcoal ....... - _- He was MADDDDD, and made us pay for a new one. The apartment came with a tiny tiny patio, the owner managed to put a table and a bench in that little corner. That was my favorite corner.

The other thing we loved to do or I should say B loved to do was taking secret pictures with his spy like long distance camera of our strange visitors in the park right beneath our apartment. The park was a gathering spot in this area and we could see people doing all kinds of activities here. Sometimes they just got too comfortable with the environment...
If you ever want to visit Stockholm, please don't forget to pay a visit to Soder! I love this mixed cultures, mixed personality and weirdo friendly place---just get out the station " Slussen" and you will have a lot of fun~