Hey SuperChicks!
It’s already February and I’ve been traveling for 3 months now.
Since 4 weeks I’m in Indonesia and enjoy yet again a different culture. Starting point in Indonesia was Bali. From the airport I went straight to Ubud, which is regarded as the cultural and spiritual centre of Bali. Since the book “Eat, Pray, Love – A Woman’s Search for Everything” by Elizabeth Gilbert, Ubud is probably as known as the famous white beaches of Bali: Batik, wood carving, different balinese dancing, cooking classes, jewellery making, Yoga and mediation – all can be learned and studied between 1/2 day to months long courses. I took Ubud as a hub and did several excursions on scooter. Yep, I rented a scooter – had to come to terms, that cycling in 35 degrees Celsius in very mountainous terrain and the sun frying the brain, just can’t be regarded as healthy anymore… There are again many temples to see and some still active volcanos to be seen. One night I got up at 2am, jumped on my scooter and drove for an hour whilst still rubbing the sleeping dust out of my eyes. Then ‘staggered’ in pitch black dark for 2 hours up to the rim of a volcano and from 5:45am experienced one of the most wonderful sunrises I’ve ever seen. This hike was so worth while – although I wondered what I was doing when the alarm clock first went off.
After Bali I took the boat to Gili Air, one of the three Gili Islands, just off Lombok. If heaven is missing a piece of paradise: here it is! An island with sand paths only, no motorised traffic, only horse carts or bicycles. It’s big enough to see different things but also small enough to walk around it in 90min. Snorkelling grounds are literally in front of every beach bungalow. I was told to go snorkelling at 11am and/or 5pm to increase the chances of seeing a turtle.The island must be lying on the turtle commute as I wasn’t disappointed. What gracious, wise animals! And they didn’t mind me swimming with them for about 15min. And when I went diving I experienced more of the underwater world: sharks, many more turtles, snakes, moraines, octopuses are some of the amazing creatures I’ve seen next to all the tropical fishes in all different shapes and sizes.
But next to snorkelling/diving and lazing on this marvellous island I also went for a few runs on the beach. It’s a great workout and has many benefits! Because of the sand, your body is able to strengthen your ankles, arches and muscles below the knees as well as significantly strengthen your lower-body stabilizer muscles and it torches your quads. You’ll develop power in your lower legs in a shorter time frame than you will when running on hard surfaces. According to some researches, you’ll burn 1.6 times more calories per mile on each run and and those stubborn extra pounds from Christmas will melt away and be replaced by muscle. The reason is that running on sand consumes more energy – as most of you probably already experienced by sprinting to the towel over hot sand. After pounding in the sand for an hour your quads might end up singing like a seraphim. It really burns!
You’ll be surprised to hear that although it’s daily between 33-35 degrees hot here, they are going through the yearly “cold” season at the moment. (Probably “wet” would be more accurate as it rains every now and then for an hour, but quickly dries up with the sun.) Although the temperature is more or less the same year-round, but with some showers between Dec and Mar, it’s interesting to see that the local English newspaper informs its readers how to protect themselves from the flu and how to keep themselves warm. Apart from the common ‘elevated vitamin C intake’ and ‘plenty of sleep’ recommendation I also came across some slightly more exotic items, which aren’t as commonly promoted in the UK:
Chestnuts – They are different from other type of nuts as they are low in fat, high in fibre, rich in potassium, folate, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. It has the function of strengthening the kidney-system to fight off the flu and combat infections.
Honeysuckle – It’s a natural anti-microbial herb that has been used for centuries to increase resistance and fight against bacterial, viral and fungal infections.
Royal Jelly Bee Products – It’s naturally used for feed queen bees. It has long been regarded in Asia as a longevity tonic that enhances energy, virility and immunity. Contains a lot of vitamins and collagen material. An anti-bacterial protein in the substance, dubbed royalisin, is effective against certain bacteria, including streptococcus and staphylococcus.
I leave it up to you to raid the nearest health food store or Chinese herbalist but it’s worth a try.
Two more weeks in Indonesia before I fly on to Australia, from where the search for health and fitness around the world will continue.
Keep yourself warm and well!