Friday, July 27, 2007


I had the best pedicure of my life today- and I now know why all the American women on this island talk about Cocok. I made appointments for Mia and me, and we arrived at noon. They sat us down, and gave us a binder full of nail design pictures. Seriously - as many pages as a magazine. They had separate nails painted with designs for kids (to include butterflies, Spongebob, an ice cream cone, etc.), and for everyone else (including kids if they wanted) they had everything from seasonal pictures to every color shape & size flower imaginable - and more than that. Amazing. I had a 20-minute foot & calf massage, Mia had one too - she really loved it. Here she is with her feet in the pink water, but when she was done she hopped back up in the comfy recliner to get her massage & painted toes. These women are artists - they can do ANYTHING on your toes.

Mia picked glitter pink with dark pink hearts with wings on them. First - have a laugh at how much her toes look like mine (oh yeah, I'm subjecting you to my toes below...), and then realize that the woman painted these hearts with wings on EVERY tiny toenail - She didn't screw up either!

I went a bit more unusual with a cool flowing design I saw. Next time maybe just some nice hibiscus flowers or something, but hey - first time there, what the heck?
So - it's not a once a week thing, too expensive, but yes, I will definitely treat myself to this once in a while! Totally worth the splurge.


The Banyan Tree Golf Course on Kadena Air Base. The location hereto forth to be known as "Where Craig caught the golf bug". Clubs are going to be the next major purchase for him - I guess he'll wait to get scuba certified so that he can dump money into golf equipment. They do also have a par 3 9-hole course (maybe for Mia & I one day).

You can see the driving range in these 2:

This is the Tee House restaurant overlooking the course - 5 minutes from our apartment, and very good! Great lunch spot.

Monday, July 23, 2007

And So It Begins

What a week we have ahead of us! First of all, thanks to everyone who complimented the photos of the water via comments & emails. It's fun to shoot, and a bit easier to get good shots with thousands of dollars worth of camera equipment. Also, we shot those in RAW format, and manipulating them with Adobe® Lightroom is OH so fun - it'll be even more fun when I have my manual with me to reference (see "Household Goods" below). The water is great, but it's 86 degrees in there, so not really that much relief. And hosing down the kid & us after getting out is a bit of a challenge too - at a tucked away beach with no fresh water faucets close-by. And of course, the moment you're out of the warm water you start sweating profusely again, and now all the sand is sticking to you.... you get the picture.

Scuba Class, Day 1
I began last night, Sunday evening, at 3pm. The night previous Craig and I were lying in bed and he said, "Are you excited for diving?"
"Yeah," I replied, after having finished chapters 1-3 of the book I had to read before day 1 (which was about 2/3 of the book). "Just want to be as safe of a diver as I can be and really learn all this stuff. Maybe a little nervous."
"Well," replied my wise hubby, "Les and Wendi did it, and they were probably drunk the whole time while they were on that vacation, so you should be fine." We had a good laugh at that one. I put this dig in my blog, not to insult them, but pretty sure that neither of them read this regularly, so now I guess we'll see.

First class - I arrived at 3 for a classroom session and finished at 8. I did NOT think I'd be there for FIVE HOURS or I would've brought a freaking cheeseburger with me! We actually didn't start until 3:30 because we waited for 2 no-shows for that long.

The instructor, Bill, a Marine with 20 years of diving experience is fun, amusing, and will be a great teacher - though quite VERBOSE. There are two 11-year-old girls in our class, which we've all been told will slow us down in the pool and on our dives. Fantastic, because in the classroom that shouldn't have made a difference but it DID because one of the girls has a mouthy diver father with her who needed to put his two cents in on everything the instructor said. THAT guy is going to annoy the heck out of me for the rest of the week - guaranteed.

At the beginning of the class, Bill said that if everyone wanted to pitch in we could rent a boat to go out to a really cool dive site for our dives, but only if everyone agreed they had the money to pitch in. UNFAIR! Of course I do, but there are 3 Marines in the class (I'd say E2s or so, which translates to starving teenagers who don't have much money to their name) who probably won't be able to afford it. Just my luck. But - whatever, I'm there to learn and get certified, right? I have 3 years to dive - minus any time I might be pregnant of course (I said "might" - in the future, not now, stop speculating - I want to have cocktails and eat sushi for a while).

We watched a video of the first chapter of the book - nearly verbatim. (Yes, about half of the 10 or so students in the class didn't read or do the chapter reviews before class, so that slowed us down too.) Then we went over it and took a quiz on which I got none wrong. 5 minute break. Then we spent about 1 1/2 hours going through the Tsunami Gear dive shop and learned about & saw all the gear. Interesting, educational, and informative - but at least 30 minutes more than needed to be dedicated to it was in there with funny quips and stories. I did learn that I should buy ALL my gear here if I want to keep doing this - it's HUNDREDS of dollars less than in the states due to government subsidies. (For those who know the equipment, a top of the line BCD is $300-$500 here, in the states upwards of $800-$1,000, or a titanium regulator is $365 where I think you'll spend $500-$800 in the states for it.) Then we went BACK to the classroom, another video, 2 more quizzes, and at 8:00 the class voted to go over chapter 3 on Tuesday when we're back in the classroom.

Today (Monday) I have to swim 200 meters (no time limit) and float for 10 minutes. No big, then we do some pool work with the equipment for the first time. I did already buy the mask, fins & snorkel, they provide the other stuff for now. Tuesday more class time where we cover the last 2 chapters of the book. Wednesday in the pool again for more practice and some emergency situation procedures. Saturday & Sunday are dive days. Very excited for that!

Mia's Swim Class
For the next two weeks Mia has swim class at 5:30 - Craig has to take her b/c my scuba class is at 6 - whoops... but oh well, Mia will be back in swim! She's so excited. The following 2 weeks she has swim class at 10:30 b/c I can take her.

Household Goods
AND today they're coming to get our borrowed furniture (2 beds and a couch) and we sleep on air mattresses tonight. Tomorrow (Tuesday) we get our household goods somewhere between 8-5. HOPEFULLY closer to 8! OUR OWN BEDS! OUR COUCH! MY KITCHEN STUFF! It's going to be like Chrismakkah! We haven't seen our things since May 30th - I think I've forgotten have the crap that's even in those crates. I'm very excited - so are Craig & Mia. Back to big head TV!

Ok, it's 7:40 and they might come as early as 8am - gotta go get ready and take the sheets off the beds!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

More Pictures

Click here to see the rest of the pictures in the slide show on Kodak Gallery.


I laid eyes on some of the most beautiful water and beaches I've ever seen in my life yesterday. And I am more than excited to get scuba certified so that I can dive into that pristine water I saw. And I want to leave here knowing I've seen every inch of it I could.

However, the heat...oh the heat! It's the most uncomfortable time of year here, and it's a very conflicting feeling to want to see all these gorgeous places - but from within an air conditioned bubble! 90 degrees with a heat index of about 107.... thanks to that humidity. The smiles you see in this picture were for the second it took to push the button - after that we went back to OHMYGODGETMEINTHEAIRCONDITIONING wince faces. We would've had more pictures of the places in between, but I wasn't willing to get out of the car. This heat will remain until about September, I'm told - then we're in for a treat - it cools off - and we're still here!

This is Craig & Mia on the rocks overlooking Cape Zanpa. It's stunning out here, I'm told the cliffs are about 90'. And you can see the bottom of the ocean when you look down, as deep as it is, because the water is so clear.

There's a lighthouse on Cape Zanpa - we saw it, we thought it was very pretty, and we did NOT climb the stairs to the top of it in the heat. Maybe on a cool day some other time. The fact that Mia & I were in flip-flops didn't help either.

People actually fought here - in this heat? Oy. I'd lay down my weapon and share some ice water with the enemy....

I know, right?

Another shot of the man & his kid - if you look at these pictures (the larger versions when you click on them) and you see brown dots, that's not dust on the lens - those are dragonflies. They're everywhere.

We left Cape Zanpa and drove further north along the coast, and then we stopped at a shop that looked interesting. Well, it was - they sold everything from necklaces & knick knacks to sweets and booze (and you can TASTE the booze before you buy! - oh, and the sweets too). Awesome store, we loved it.

There were steps in the back of the shop, and when you got to the bottom there was a gem of a beach - clear beautiful water and even a starfish!We got some ice cream at the Blue Seal counter in the shop and walked down with it - can you believe this water???
The rest of the kick-butt photos are uploading now - I'll put a link here as soon as they're done.