I am on the plane to San Francisco. It’s the first portion of my journey to Bali, Indonesia. Our dive group is wonderful. They are friendly, and relaxed. Each person has traveled the world in search of experiences that cannot be discovered above the surface of the water. They talk of places in Micronesia, the Philippines, and Thailand. They reminisce about World War II wrecks, of three foot fan corals in florescent colors, and of shy, brightly colored schools of fish that can be seen only at night. I am entranced, and know that I soon will have the bug. The intoxication of wanting to see what lies beneath the waves has begun to take hold. I want to photograph the fish, the coral, and the wrecks. Where we are heading is the best of the underwater world.
Until a few days ago, I barely knew where Indonesia was located, somewhere above Australia and below China. This group of islands, some large and some small, to the west of the Indian Ocean, is 90 percent Muslim. It will be completely different from any place I have traveled. The island of Bali is our first overnight stop on land. Our first night will be spent winging our way to Hong Kong. It will be a fourteen hour flight. I am not worried. I have Ambien. Everyone has already asked for pills. I have plenty of drugs to sedate the entire plane. I am prepared. I was a Girl Scout. I could probably live in Bali for a week with the supplies in my carryon “purse.” In fact, my purse is a back pack stuffed like a Rubik Cube. The pockets of my raincoat hold my books, glasses, and extra power bars. I look like Captain Kangaroo, if you are old enough to share such memories. My carryon bag has clothing and enough necessities to allow me to move to Bali. With what I have brought in my suitcases, I can apply for citizenship and set up a boutique. I am keeping my options open. It’s my new mantra for living.
I am excited about the trip. After all, I am on my way to Bali! I have been joking around with the passengers and crew. I told the man taking our boarding passes, that I was stripping down to my bikini in the bathroom at the back of the plane. Several male passengers thought this would be a good idea. The blond gate agent on the microphone told me that she was jealous of our trip, and knew I would have a great time. Of course, my smile is as wide as the jet. The stewardess did ask me to be quiet, while I was running a monologue for my new dive friends. I think we were laughing too loud. Heck, I am not even drinking champagne. TSA wouldn’t allow me to bring my saber on board. I am drinking water so that I will be hydrated. I have to get sixteen glasses of water in before we arrive in Indonesia.
Legalities are far away now. The ocean is ahead, with all the brightly colored fish, and the white, white sand, and the swaying palm trees, and the fluffy drinks with umbrellas, and a wonderful group of welcoming divers. We are infected by the same bug for which the only cure is a plunge beneath the surface of the ocean.
We are getting ready to land now in San Fran. I’ll report again when I wake from my Ambien induced sleep. I will be dreaming of Indonesia, the Wakatobi Dive Resort, and wishing you were here to see it with me! Sweet Dreams!