Palau #5

The say: “Time flies when you’re having fun”

….. It’s so true. I have no idea what happened to the last few months, they just disappered and I have no idea where they went. There are just 2 more months left here and I have sort of decide what to to afterwards. I have so many ideas of what I want to do, all nice ones, all involve traveling/working outside/being somewhere under the sun….
The plan so far is to go home for a little while. My flight back to Amsterdam is the end of October. November I’ll probably still be homeless, loafing around, maybe visit some friends somewhere… I dunno yet. Back home in December. Leaving again in the new year.

What I’ve found out since I’m here is that I need the sun. I always thought I did, but now I’ve experienced it. And I also found out that fysical work is good for me. I cannot recall when was the last time I’ve felt so good. Content, not hysterical euphoric, just content and full of energy. I think I make an average 4 to 5 hours a night, I work 13hrs+ let’s say 6,5 days a week, and I seriously feel great.
So, I think it’s time to make plans on how to organize my life in a way that all those aspects will be there.

For the rest all good here (apart from a second ear infection). August turns out to be very super crazy busy in Palau, but somehow for us (the divingcenter) not so much, today in the 2nd moring off this week.

And: I’ve got my hair dyed

Palau #3

Little crab
Little crab

Time goes fast! I’ve been here already more than 2 months. It’s weird. But I’m still having a crazy good time here. Last week colleague #4 arrived: a 20 year old guy from France. The 4 of us are having a great time together!

Jazz on a rock
Jazz on a rock

Two weeks ago I’ve finished my Divemaster course. The last test I had to do was called the stress-test, which was indeed a test that made me stress quite a lot. We were with 3 people, breathing from 1 tank. Only I had my equipment on and I had to exchange it with one of my collegues while the other collegue would turn off my tank once in a while so I did not have air. I had to give the out-of-air signal and then he would turn my tank back on. After we had done the equipment exchange we had to swim for a bit, exchange equipment back again and swim back to the starting point. All this while I was NOT wearing a mask!!! Phewww, that was interesting! But we had a great time!
Then there was the (unofficial) snorkel-test last Thursday. Basically you get a mask on and a snorkel in your mouth and they poor a certain amount of alcohol in the snorkel (which you have to drink in one go). What happened afterwards is interesting and I’ll save you the details, but it was not really healthy. The next day I was slightly sick and stayed in bed most of the day. Anyway, I passed both tests and I’m officially working here now. Apperently they are so satisfied about me that I can stay here till the end of the season (which is longer than planned). I booked my ticket back home last week and I’ll arrive back in Amsterdam on the 27th of October.

Octopus
Octopus

From next weekend on we are completely fully booked till the end of September, so it will be hard work for the next few months, but I’m feeling great being outside all day, 7 days a week. My muscles are still growing and I’m losing fat (not weight though, cause I’m gaining muscles faster than I’m losing fat).

Moray eel
Moray eel

Yesterday my colleague was giving a Open Water course at the beach and all of a sudden he saw a seahorse! A SEAHORSE! So when he came back we all jumped up, run to the beach and there it was, more or less 10 cm and yellow! Such a pretty thing :). It’s crazy how you can be looking for something for such a long time, and all of a sudden it’s just there, on the beach! In between all the children playing and people swimming.

DCIM102GOPRO
Yellow Seahorse

Palau #2

My office 🙂

So, it’s been some time since I wrote something. Maybe a bit too busy, maybe a bit too tired… Probably a combination of these two.

It’s still amazing over here. I’m having a great time with my collegues. This English girl I wrote about in an earlier post turns out to be freakin’ awesome. We’re having such a great time working and socializing together! She heard today that she can stay here for the whole season (after one month trial), I still have to wait to hear if I can stay for the season (wait until I’ve finished my DiveMaster course).

The underwater world starts to be more and more fascinating. It took a bit of time for me to get used to the diving again (it had been quite some time I had not been in the water), but I start to be more confident every day (and so I’m relaxed enough to look around me and enjoy the things there are). Also navigating under water starts to be more easy (still need a compas tho) and my buoyancy improved a lot. The visibility it getting so much better as well! When I just got here there was slightly more than 10m viz, and now it’s already up to 20m (on a good day).

JellyPalau
So many jellyfish around the other day! So pretty!

Today we have seen quite a big ray swimming in the blue, a beautiful yellow scorpionfish, and yesterday a massive spidercrab of at least 40cm diametre (including legs of course). Still haven’t seen manta rays, great white sharks, blue whales or whale sharks, but I do not expect to bump into one of these in the Mediterranean sea (I would really like that tho). There are lots of octopus, cuttlefish, morays, baraccuda’s and nudibranch (no dead body’s floating around -> this was a question my grandma asked me the other day, sincethere are lots of refugees from Africa who drown on sea….).

WWII airplane engine, underwater Urbex!
WWII airplane engine, underwater Urbex!

For the rest still busy with my Divemaster course, I’ve done the swim, snorkle and towing test. I passed all, but I’d prefer to be a bit faster, especially with the swimming test, it took me 8 min and 40 sec for a 400m swim… But, J… That’s so tiring! I still have to do some mapping skills, I started today with drawing a map, my drawing skills underwater are not that good tho… (see pic).I think I have to improve them a bit, haha. I’ll try to upload some pictures of the underwaterworld soon, but the visibility is starting to get better just now.

My amazing mapping-skills

For the rest it is interesting to live in Italy. The village is small (lots of gossip apparently!!), by now I know most of the people around. It’s nice, but also a bit boring maybe: there are not many different places to go to and to meet new people other than customers from the dive center doesn’t really happen. We do have lots of nice guy’s and girls diving with us and they often want to go for drinks or for dinner with us (they invite us 🙂 very nice). We don’t really have lots of time to hang out with people since we work 12 hrs a day… 7 days a week. At the start it was a bit less busy, but season is starting now! I’m even creating muscles, at the end of the season I might compete with my little sister, joking, I’ll never make it that far. Ok, I’m tired writing. Next time some underwater pics, I promise!

Palau: Day off

IMG_1462-Lighthouse close to Palau-

Today we had a  day off (it was supposed to rain, but it hardly did, not much sun though)! Yesterday an other of my colleagues arrived, a girl from England, Liverpool, I think she is cool and it looks like we can have lots of fun, yeah!! So since we had a day off we went for a walk around Palau to discover a bit the area.
So many beautiful flowers and plants! 3 different orchid species and some broomrape. Awesome!

For the rest I’ve finished my rescue course and tomorrow I’ll start my Dive Master course, woop woop, the real work! 🙂 Which means I’ve to study a lot again.
I’m still enjoying it a lot down here! Can’t wait to get into the water again!!

View on Palau-View on Palau-

Palau

Ok guys, I think it might be a good time for a short update about how it is in this famous Palau, Sardinia.

Practical things: Since I arrived here I’ve already finished my EFR and EFR for children (as you all know how much I love kids and how much I’d love to save all of them) and I’m planning to finish my emergency O2 tomorrow. Ones I have finished that I can start the rescue course (hope to finish that one in about 4 or 5 days), after which I can start my Dive Master course (= basically the reason why I’m here 😉 ). My first (drysuit) dive was a disaster! Haha! My feet kept moving up, which put me almost upside down (must have looked very funny for my teacher). I lost one of my fins 3 times, ascended to the surface 3 times and was not really able to control my buoyancy for the first 15 minutes. In the end I managed to control my buoyancy and stay horizotal and so I had lots of fun being in the water again!
Today I even had my first customer to guide around in the water and let him do several tricks which I had to perform and show him first (to be honest I was not really able to control it all yet with that drysuit, but I did my best!).

Finally my cold is getting a bit better, but in the water my sinuses are still a bit painful and I have to descent slowly otherwise I get this squeacking pain in my head. Luckily I’m always able to clear my ears (even when I’m having a cold like this!!).

Sardinia is beautiful! Really! It took me several hours from Alghero to go to Palau by bus, but there was not one moment I was bored of looking at the scenery. It is quite diverse (in terms of different species of plants) and there is wild fennel everywhere! Palau is a small village on the Mediterranean sea with a view on different small islands and Corsica.
Untill now the weather has been great, today I even got a little sunburn on my cheeks and shoulders. Ofcourse the food is lovely (always when abroad, one of the reasons is: just cause it’s different. But also Italian… Woopwoop!), everybody is nice and friendly, and slide in my panties because of the beautiful language (literally translated from dutch, hihi).

My colleagues are very nice aswell. I’m learning a lot and I love it. And still so much to see, do and learn! I love the process!
Later some pics (I did not take any yet).

Update: I finished my O2 today! Start rescue tomorrow! Plus Game of Thrones tonight (there are several leaks already, so I’ve got episode 2, 3 and 4 too!)

Serbia #4 Hotel Zlatibor, Užice


Hotel Zlatibor-Hotel Zlatobor, Užice,
Visited March, 2015

An abandoned hotel in the middle of the city if Užice. Downstairs there are some shop and at the reception is still someone “guarding” the building. I had read somewhere that you could just enter the main entrance and walk upstairs pretending it’s the most normal thing to do, even though it is completely abandoned.
So that’s what we did. It was quite scary to enter a building that’s still guarded (most of the time you go Urbexing you try to avoid security as much as possible, you don’t want to get cought and kicked out). The adrenalin was rushing through my body! At first we ran upstairs to the 4th or 5th floor to avoid someone would come afer us.
The firt couple of floors were almost completely trashed, but as we moved further upstairs there were less and less sighs of people “living” or spending time there. From the 4th floor and up it looked almost as if the staff decided to leave one day and never came back. The sensors of the lights were still detecting movement, and at one floor the lights even went on when we passed by (whooo, that was scary!).

Zlatibor room-In a lot of the rooms the beds were still perfectly made-

The hotel, located in the middle of the center of Užice, was opened on 24 September, 1981, not long after Josip Broz Tito died. Both the interior and exterior of the hotel exudes communism. It’s sober, 100% concrete (brutalist architecture), appearance is not the most beautiful thing, but very fascinating to see. The nickname of the building is “Sivonja” (or “The Gray Ox”), which is probably because of it’s color and size.

The interesting thing is that the website of the hotel is still online.. It even seems you can still book rooms if you’d like.

Unfortunately we arrive at the hotel slightly after dark, so no good pictures could be taken. I’d really like to go back there one day to take pictures.

Urbex Beograd Serbia – Stara Šećerana/ Стара шећерана

Servie11 kopie-Stara Šećerana/Стара шећерана-

What a day, last Sunday! Amazing! Saturday we drove to Beograd (Belgrade) to spend the weekend there. First we walk a bit around town, then we had diner and met a guy who would explain us a bit about the Urban Exploring World around here. He gave us some tips and addresses we could visit. So Sunday was the day to go Exploring! At first it seemed a bit strange to me: we had an address and the phone# of the owner so we could enter the building. That isn’t really the way Urbexers work, but since we didn’t really know how it works in this country (rules, law, guard dogs, old mines ect.) we decided to follow the rules the guy told us the day before. When we arrived at the site we gave the owner a call: he had already seen us walking around the building. We went inside to meet him, he was very welcoming and told us we could walk around the building and take pictures as much as we wanted. The building was an old sugar factory, build in 1898, became a state company in 1906 and was abandoned around 1970. It was easy to excess; lots of metal constructions and dust. I loved it, but because of the whole “legal” aspect (the owner who allowed us to walk around) a part of the excitement wasn’t there. Still: awesome! After we explored a bit we went back to thank the owner that he allowed us to walk around a take pictures. He offered us some coffee and tea and we sit down for a talk. This guy turned out to be a famous producer of theater plays: he has worked all around the world (also in the Netherlands with Dogtroep) and won several prices. He had a very different political point of view and he was an interesting person to listen to. After the tea an coffee he went to show us the part of the building he rebuild we he squatted the place in 1995. It was amazing, but so weird… Almost impossible to explain. Try to imagine an old factory, rebuild as a theater, a big stairsway with naked men on hands and knees shouting and screaming and a guy (who turned out to be the former chairman of the JUL party) explaining us things about his theater group (KPGT). It’s almost impossible to explain how bizarre this whole situation was, but just trust me, I’ve seen and done quite some things, but this really amazed me.

Serbia #3

Servie05 kopie– 🙂 –

I’m still impressed about the beauty of this country. The light and the colours, the people and the food… It’s really worth visiting.

Servie09 kopie– Little house on the river –

Bajina Bašta is “famous” for this little house on the river Drina. People even think that pictures from this house are photoshopped, but is is very real!!

Servie07 kopie– Hotel Šljivovica –

We visited this old hotel last week as some kind of Urbex-trip. It was nice to see such an old hotel, though it was way too trashed and therefore not too interesting. Closed down as an hotel 25 years ago, it was used by the army until 1995. Eversince it’s been empty, changing owner every ones in a while, different purposes with every owner but never served as those goals.

Servie08 kopie– Hotel Šljivovica –