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A few days ago I'd heard that my paternal grandfather, Gramps, was diagnosed with Lymphoma and was going to have some tests done to see what treatment was required. Today I woke up and found out via email that he had died. I gather that it wasn't terribly unexpected to those around him, but it took me by surprise.

He lived to be eighty-eight, which was probably a good decade over his life expectancy. When I last saw him around a year ago, he had definitely slowed down, but still had a good quality of life. I visited him and my grandmother in Palm Springs, where they were spending the winter with my aunt and uncle. He had five kids, tons of grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and had a good relationship with every one of them. He had a very good life, probably died with few if any regrets, and left all of us better off.

While there's some sadness that I'll never get to see him again, mostly I feel happy that he did have such a good life, and I feel grateful for his influence on me. In that spirit, I thought I'd share a few little stories.

As a kid, my favorite time of the year was summer, specifically the couple weeks I'd get to spend with my grandparents out in rural Vermont. My three siblings and at least six of my cousins would all come visit at the same time. By any measure I had a lot of freedom and independence as a kid, but Vermont was the pinnacle.

A Walk in Bali

On GlobeTrailing

Going to Bali is a rite of passage for any West Australian. It is the Cancun of Australia. People go there to party and take advantage of the ridiculously cheap way of life. It is cheaper to get to than Sydney You can rent a scooter for 5 dollars per day, my accommodation was never more than 10 dollars per night, meals were never more than 5 dollars with the cheapest and coincidently most enjoyable being the 75 cent Nasi Goreng (an Indonesian staple) purchased at a sweaty night market outside of Lovina.

But I must say, I hated Bali from the start.

On the Airplane, people were just there to party and have fun. There was total disrespect for the flight attendants and obnoxious behaviour. I was ready to get off the plane and get away from tourists.

Upon leaving the airport I was surrounded by "taxi" drivers wanting my business. A taxi driver in Bali is a guy who owns a car and hangs around at the airport for so long that he forgets where he parked his car while his family is sleeping to earn a few extra bucks. I was told to go for the "Bluebird" metered taxes because there is no arguing about the fare. They were right. I got into an argument with him because he specifically told me one price at the beginning, then changed it at the destination saying that it was his accent. The price difference was the equivalent of $2.20. This is not a significant amount of money to me but it was the principle of the matter that annoyed me. I soon learned that this is common in Bali.

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