Exploring Extraterrestrial Guam

Exploring southwestern Guam in a dune buggy for Jungle Rules Adventure Tours has got to be one of the most fun photography jobs I’ve had. I took care not to spill out of the car as we raced over red dirt hills alternating between gorgeous sea views and otherworldly ‘lunar scapes.’ If the clay hadn’t been red I would have suspected we were on the moon, the earth looked so extraterrestrial — a sort of lunar desert, but with trees. The hubby drove with aplomb and we even threw our hands up (camera between legs) as we took hairpin turn after turn and caught air over blind dunes.

Shark’s Cove: Guam’s Most Secluded Beach

The trek to Shark’s Cove feels a lot like being a castaway. My wild imagination had me calculating survival techniques and glancing nervously at my diminishing cell battery. (Times like these I thank God I married a MacGyver type.)

Tanjung Puting National Park, Borneo

Day two on the klotok allowed for two hikes to feeding sites. We ventured to the heart of Tanjung Puting, Camp Leakey, another half-mile walk through the singing rainforest. A large female orangutan named Siswi was tucked under a raised house in near slumber.

Sacred Monkey Forest, Bali

Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, Bali

Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is exactly what it sounds like — a nature reserve and temple complex with more than 340 long-tailed macaques roaming freely. These entertaining socialites do not hesitate to climb on, steal from, and perch from visitors brave enough to interact with them. We thought all our junk was bolted down, but alas a furry, klepto-maniacal macaque lifted some trash peeking from our bag.

Tips for Enjoying Blissful Bali

It’s hard not to describe Bali in hyperbolic terms like “paradise” and for good reason. One of 17,000 islands in Indonesia, this home of four million people is only 90 miles (east to west) by 50 miles (north to south) but infused with ornate temples, picturesque rice fields, and fresh organic food. Eighty percent of visitors…

Bali Rice Fields / Temple

Not for the faint of heart or flimsy of shoe, a visit to the idyllic Gunung Kawi temple in Tampaksiring requires descending nearly 400 steps, which is fine until you realize there’s no way out but back up. As Balinese never miss a merchandising opportunity, the steps down to the temple are lined with fierce hawkers (watch out for the women) of sarongs, jewelry, and all the standard Balinese bric-a-brac. Whatever you do, don’t buy until you’re almost out of the place.

Mount Batur, Bali

Just being near the mountain was invigorating for me. Without going all Crouching Tiger, I truly felt a sort of energy from it, and at the same time, a peaceful tranquility. We couldn’t have had a better view, a refreshing breeze wafting through open-air balcony of Grand Puncak Sari Restaurant where we lunched. This is a good time to tell you just how fresh, spicy, and flavorful Indonesian food is. For someone who subsists on veggies, tofu, and seafood, I was in heaven.