Penchant for Life

A Balinese girl cleanses herself in a ceremonial Hindu temple.

It was one of those moments where you feel truly in touch with the vibrance of life. This has been one of my favorite images, and yet I’ve been almost afraid to use it – afraid I can’t possibly convey the way it felt to be there, experiencing this.

Like the last sip of wine, you keep it, savoring, holding on to one last taste in hopes of remembrance. I too, hope to retain what it was like to witness this penchant for life.

Tsunami Survivors Tell Tales

I forgot about this article in the Guardian following the Asian tsunami of 2004. I guess in the pandemonium, I never thought of passing it on at the time, even though this blog was mentioned.

But perhaps the saddest site I’ve visited today is javajive, written by another expat who has been waiting on news of friends in Phuket. At the time of writing this post he’s still waiting, although a commenter on his blog tells of their heartbreak at losing a number of their family to the disaster.

Perhaps the most heart-rending aspect of the site is the pictures of playing children he’s posted, taken only a couple of days before disaster struck. The question one is left asking after seeing them is barely worth repeating. An image grabbed from local TV further down his front page (with caution – it may upset some readers) tempts you to fear the very worst.

I truly hope the tragedy will not be forgotten. Perhaps 100 times as many people perished when compared to September 11, and yet I don’t feel its impact reached the Western world even a fraction as much. Many people I spoke with in the States seemed disconcertingly uninformed, despite their best intentions.

My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones.

U.S. Embassy Warns of Volcanic Eruption in Indonesia

This just arrived in my inbox – not exactly the kind of message I see on a daily basis. I guess there’s never a dull moment in Indonesia.

U.S. Embassy Jakarta
U.S. Consulate General Surabaya
Warden Message
April 13, 2006

The U.S. Embassy informs Americans in Indonesia that the Indonesian Center for Vulcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation raised the alert status for Mt. Merapi Volcano in Central Java to Level 3 on April 12, 2006. Level 3 means that volcanic activity has increased and that an eruption might be imminent. Authorities have forbidden climbing on Mt. Merapi until further notice, and advised miners and local residents to avoid coming within an 8-kilometer radius of Merapi’s summit.

Updated information on volcanoes in Indonesia is available on the websites listed below. The Embassy encourages all Americans residing in or visiting areas near volcanoes to consult these websites frequently and to adhere to all safety instructions from Indonesian authorities.