2009: A year of change, travel, and adventure

One of my greatest interests in life is to travel, experience, and learn more about other cultures. There’s nothing like soaking up all that a new country has to offer. I feel immensely thankful that my career allows us to travel extensively (always wish it could be more but don’t want to be greedy).

2009 was a year of drastic, yet positive changes with our move from Indonesia to Philippines. Change is what defined this year.

2010 should be more stable, but still allow plenty of travel – perhaps even more if we return to the States for 8 weeks this summer (tentatively planning a trip to the American West).

How about you? What were some of your major trips this year? How did 2009 turn out for you? How is your outlook for 2010?

A quick list of our main travels for 2009:

February – Manila, Philippines – 4 days
March – Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia – 9 days
April: Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia – 4 days
May: Thousand Islands, Indonesia – 5 days
June/July – Ubud / Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia – 3 weeks
July – Manila, Philippines (uh, still here)
September – Hong Kong – 4 days
October – Boracay, Philippines – 9 days
November – Batangas, Philippines – 3 days
December – Banaue, Philippines – 5 days
December – Singapore – 2 weeks

And a visual summary of 2009. (oldest to most recent) Enjoy.

Solar eclipse as seen from Jakarta

Solar eclipse as seen from Jakarta

Our pimped out ride

Dinner delivery

Azure seas and Javanese fisherman

Our new apartment - living room

Our new apartment - cafe corner

Manila flooding Sept 26, 2009

Beauty of Boracay


The dreams of man, pervading nature's womb.

Banaue boy

Elders of Banaue, Philippines

In Singapore for two weeks

We’ve enjoyed a very different type of Christmas this year in Singapore. Laying low and enjoying some downtime has been the key priority. Our wonderful friend who works at the Singapore American School was kind enough to offer her beautiful apartment just near Orchard Rd.

We’ve spend time in Singapore on previous trips, but never two weeks solid. I did forget it was the rainy season here, so the weather has been a bit drab, with a bumpy flight in. Novita’s sister, Nana, is also joining us and the two of them have been shopaholics, excited to see the pre and post Christmas sales. I will say that between Novita and I, I’m the one who spends much more money, so this trip is all about role reversal.

I’ve forgotten just how expensive Singapore is for things like food. A crappy pizza and distasteful pasta set us back over $45 SGD. We’ve become spoiled living in Jakarta and Manila all these years.

Besides walking around, shopping, and the zoo, what else do you recommend we try to do/see while in Singapore for still another 6 days?

Tilt / Shift Photoshop Experimentation

Objects in the Mirror May Appear Smaller Than They Are

Per Maria’s request, here’s the ‘before’:

The technique fools the eye into thinking objects are much smaller than they really are. Obviously, since this is my first attempt, it’s not as convincing as some others. However, it’s quite easy and even a bit entertaining. It involves applying a Photoshop effect which mirrors the effect of an actual (*expensive) tilt/shift lens.

Here’s a gallery of actual tilt/shift photography.

There’s a simple and quick tutorial here for the faux Photoshop version.

A flickr group just for tilt-shift miniature fakes.

And a plethora of other links on the subject.

By the way, the photo above was taken in Singapore (Bencoolen St.) Here’s the full-size version.