Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Coach K Receives his Open Water Certification

Coach K received his Open Water Dive Certification from Dive Master Samuel Samiaji in a ceremony held in Jakarta, Indonesia. Because Coach K was packing for the long journey home, the award was accepted in his honor by Blogger, Tula Holmes.
Wow! 32 meters below the surface! Despite the fact that you lost your head, that's a record to be proud of! Did you lose your head due to nitrogen narcosis? As for touching too much coral- that's a no-no coach, even if you were narced! But as the certificate read, it was a brave journey for a guy who scuba dives in a suit and tie, with no regulator or air!
Coach K was humbled by his award. He bobbled that it was as exciting for him to earn his Open Water Certification as it was to win a National Championship. The Coach is happily on his way to Advanced Certification and many more dives in Indonesia.Thank you to the dive team for braving the HIDEOUS Jakarta traffic to attend Coach K's award ceremony. And thank you to Coach K; for accompanying me to Indonesia, for being my companion to the bustling city of Jakarta, to the incredible Bunaken Marine Park, to the Island Paradise of Bali, and to the magnificent shrine of Borobudur. It was a wonderful trip. You brought many laughs and much pleasure to the people you met along the way. You have left behind many new Blue Devil fans who are waiting for your return. And as for me, I will travel the world with you anytime! Just bobble your head when you are ready to fly! Tula - Blue Devil Class of 1973

Coach K Visits Amanjiwo in Style!

The staff at the Amanjiwo in central Java welcomed Duke's famous basketball coach to their oh so fancy hotel!
Coach K insisted on beginning our feast with champagne. Oh Coach! how you do turn a girl's head!Wong and the Coach had a bit of a discussion about Wong's traditional Indonesian dinner. The waiter had to pray in the background to prevent a ruckus! Wong, you may have been in the Special Forces, but the Coach has beaten all opponents in the past. Watch out!
After dinner, the Coach was ready to hop into one of Amanjiwo's beautiful outdoor baths!
Coach K loved the Aman hospitality! I had to leave him at Amanjiwo for the night! Nighty night dear coach!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Coach K Visits Mount Merapi in Central Java, Indonesia

Mount Merapi in central Java erupted at the end of November in 2010. 273 people died and over 300,000 were displaced. The Coach was concerned for the people of Java and wanted to see the damage. He was willing to hike through the ash to talk with the villagers. Thank you Coach for making everyone aware of what happened seven months ago on the slopes of this volcano.

It was November 30, 2010 when Mount Merapi, the Mountain of Fire, showed its ugly side. Mount Merapi is the the most active volcano in Indonesia and has erupted regularly since 1548.

Wong, the Coach and I visited the location where Mbah Maridjan, the spiritual guardian or gatekeeper of the mountain, died. The Coach posed on the ambulance that had gone to rescue Maridjan. All were incinerated in the volcanic blast. We remembered the spirits of the people who had died on this spot.

It has been seven months since the blast. The rebuilding of the local villages is progressing slowly. The Coach greeted a worker from the only house we saw under construction. Most of the villagers work under tarps which line the ash covered paths that were once the roads to their homes.

The Coach was quiet during his visit to this place of destruction. The people he met along his way were grateful that he had come to see what had happened to them, so that he could, in turn, tell you. We some times need "a little help from our friends." Thank Coach for hiking up to Merapi.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Coach K Learns About a Princess

After hiking to the top of Borobudur, the Coach hired a car to see Cardi Prambanan, the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia and one of the largest in Southeast Asia. The temple complex contained 240 temples which were destroyed by earthquakes. Like solving a massive puzzle, 18 of them have been restored by workers and archaeologists.
Tula climbed around the temples looking for a spot where Coach K could sit and contemplate the universe.
After charming the Macaques in the Sacred Monkey Forest in Bali, the Coach settled into a nich with the Tree of Life and a couple of monkeys.

The legend goes that the father of a beautiful princess was killed in battle by a bad dude. He then decided that he wanted the princess for his bride. Grabby, huh? She was afraid to refuse his proposal. She told him that she would marry him, only if he could build 1000 temples in one night. He gathered his minion workers to build the temples before the dawn. Fearing that this creep would accomplish her seemingly impossible task, the princess built a large fire. Now this was a huge fire. The evil workers mistook it for the rising sun. Evil workers are not always bright. They quit work, which as it turned out, was tantamount to cutting out of a job early. They only completed 999 temples. The princess was delighted, feeling that she was free. Unfortunately, not all fairy tales have positive conclusions. The bad dude was furious when he discovered that he had been tricked. This guy was a real bully and used to getting his own way. He turned the princess into a statue. She lives in Cardi Prambanan today, at least the statue of her is in one of the temples there. Unfortunately, the Coach couldn't visit her statue, as her temple was closed because of the earthquake damage from the eruption of Mount Merapi last November. Coach, you will just have to come back to visit the princess.
Coach K really wanted to help piece the remaining temples back together. Coach, you are one of the good guys!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Coach K Goes to Borobudur to Seek Enlightenment

Coach K was eager to walk the nine levels of the Buddhist shrine of Borobudur to achieve enlightenment. Borobudur was built in the 8th century and is the number one tourist spot in Indonesia. It is a holy pilgrimage destination for Buddhists. The Coach donned his sarong and began the trek upward.The Coach walked the two miles of corridors and stairways, contemplating the 2,600 relief panels.The Coach captivated the groups of children he met along the way as he led Wong and me up, climbing closer and closer to the top three levels of the Buddhist cosmology.
At the top of Borobudur are 72 Buddha statues that are seated inside of stupa that look like large, stone bells. If your arm is long enough to reach inside and rub the Buddha, you can achieve enlightenment. Unfortunately, the top three levels were closed due to the earthquake damage after the eruption of Mount Merapi last November. That did not stop Coach K. He did not need to rub the Buddha. He found his enlightenment by leading us to the top. He promises to lead me to my enlightenment when we hike Borobudur again. What a day Coach! You made it!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Coach K Leaves Bali

Coach K celebrated his last night in Bali with dinner and drinks at Cafe Havana. Wouldn't you know that after slamming back a frozen martini, the Coach grabbed the mike from Karma and belted out some Johnny Cash tunes! He had them dancing on top of the tables. Hey Coach, they will remember you for quite a while in Ubud. You are leaving behind a slew of Blue Devil fans!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Coach K Tours the Countryside of Bali

Coach K enjoyed driving through the rice paddies of Bali, looking for Oxen, farmers, and temples.
Ever interested in the local folk wherever he travels, the Coach talked with a farmer who was gathering palms for offerings. The farmer is now the newest member of the Cameron Crazies. All of Indonesia will be pulling for the Blue Devils this year Coach!

The Coach was blown away with the view of the stepped rice paddy at Tegallalang, Bali.Thank you Made (I Made Dharma Yasa- dharma_made@yahoo.com) for being an excellent driver. The Coach had me post this advertisement for you! The Coach never forgets a promise.

Coach K Visits a Coffee Plantation in Bali

No one knows how to savor a good cup of coffee more than Coach K. He climbed onto the stone stove, made an offering to the Coffee God, and observed the hand roasting of the Bali Coffee beans.
The Coach learned about Luwak Coffee, which is the most expensive coffee in the world. The Asian Palm Civet eats the young red coffee beans, which sit in its stomach for a while, and then, well, you know, come out the other end. The beans retain their shape, and are gathered, washed, dried, roasted, and brewed. Luwak Coffee is touted for having an earthy, nutty flavor. For this reason, the Coach and I decided not to buy any!
The Coach was overwhelmed at the coffee and tea laid before him for tasting.
The Coach loved the Lemon Grass Tea, the Ginseng Coffee, the Hot Cocoa, and the Vanilla Coffee. He bought Lemon Grass Tea to bring to the team back home in the USA.
After a long day of touring the Balinese countryside, Coach K and I enjoyed our coffees and teas while looking across the coffee plants growing in the jungle.

Coach K is Purified at the Holy Water Temple in Bali

The Coach was required to slip into a sarong and make his offering before entering Pura Tirtha Empul, the Sacred Water Temple, in the center of Bali. Just look at him. He loved wearing a sarong.
I had to hold the Coach's bobble head back to prevent him from diving head first into the first sacred water pool. No diving from the edge Coach. Only from a diving board, and there is no diving board here!
The Coach was purified in the water twice, this time under a waterfall. He is ready to win a national championship with all of this good karma.
The Coach loved the Sacred Water. I had to drag him out of the flowers.
The Coach's aura now is one of balance, peace, and happiness. Wasn't it always that way Coach? Once a year, come back to Bali for a dip in the Holy Waters.

Coach K Rides an Elephant

Coach K hoisted himself to the top of an elephant today in Bali. Tia is a 27 year old elephant rescued from the Island of Sumatra. She was pleased to show the coach around the Elephant Park.
The Coach called down from Tia that everything looks better from the top of an elephant!
After his elephant ride, Coach K and Tia relaxed by the pond. They were so chummy that Tia scooped the Coach up with her nose and placed him in her lap.
Riding one elephant was not enough for the Coach. He jumped out of my arms and up with a trainer to ride a male elephant.
Today was a great day to ride an elephant. Thanks Coach K for taking me to the Elephant Safari Park in Bali.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Coach K Dances the Barong!

Coach K was the last man standing in the temple in Ubud after the Keris Dance. The dancers entered a trance, were blessed by the priest, and then stabbed themselves with swords. When the dance was over, and all dancers collapsed but the Coach stood tall... well, tall for a bobble head!
Coach K learned to play the "gong" for the holy Barong Dance. Coach, is there anything that you can't do?
The Barong is the King of the spirits in Balinese mythology, and the leader of the good. Barong and Coach K had a lot in common. K explained to the Barong that in America, the Blue Devils are the good, and he is their leader. The Balinese now refer to the Coach as the Barong K !
The Barong Dance is performed in the temple, and is considered a holy ceremony. As the Barong K, the Coach was invited back into the temple to relax with the dancers. I was not able to accompany the Coach, as I was not wearing a sarong. From scuba diving to Hindu temples, the Coach is always dressed appropriately.

After a night of dancing, my Bali hostess and friend, Renee, took the coach and me to The Deli Cat for rose. That's what we drink in Bali. (All the other wine is too expensive, even for the Coach!) The manager, Gusti, was thrilled to meet the famous, winning basketball coach! Cheers Coach! Welcome to Bali nights!