NAFTA

Since Lana and Tim had taken to diving, it seemed to Lana as though every vacation focused around diving. Dive, dive, dive! So… President of the Skeet household Lana wanted a “no-dive vacation.” She liked the idea of settling into a sun destination, but did not want to tote around dive gear or plan her days around diving.

It was settled. Lana and Tim would plan their 2008 10th wedding anniversary trip to Bali, a place they had previously enjoyed in 2003 and 2004 for their anniversary. They wanted to share this experience with another couple, so they invited their good friends, Jason and Carissa, of Calgary, to enjoy this exotic destination with them. After a couple months of careful planning and coordinating with Jason and Carissa, the trip was nearly canceled as a result of two painful family events that took place just weeks before they were to depart. In true Skeet style, their positive nature took over and they decided that it would be best to take a break and truly enjoy their 10th anniversary relaxing and rejuvenating on the beautiful sun drenched beaches of the Indian Ocean.

Unbeknownst to Tim and Lana, Dan and Esther (whom they haven’t met yet) were trying to plan their vacation on sun drenched beaches as well. Having fallen in love with scuba on their trip to Tahiti during their honeymoon, two years had passed and Esther and Dan were ready for another dive adventure. “So where will our American Airline miles take us this year?” they asked themselves. After researching the best dive locations in the world they decided that the destination had to be somewhere in Asia. That somewhere, just happened to be in Bali, Indonesia.

After a stop over in Tokyo and two days of travel, Dan and Esther arrived in beautiful Bali. As the relaxing pace of the island began to sink in, Dan and Esther quickly fell in the love with the friendly island. After arriving at the Bali Intercontinental Resort, it was straight to bed at 1:00 AM local time and then early rise for breakfast and a day to relax by the pool. After sunbathing by the pool until noon, Dan and Esther decided it was time to make their way over to the pool bar to grab some drinks.

This is where the story becomes interesting. On Lana and Tim’s first day at the Bali Intercontinental Resort, while sitting at the pool bar, Tim was sharing with their friends, Jason and Carissa, “You know the other thing that is great about this place? We are far enough from home that we will seldom find any loud Americans.” Now Tim is not necessarily the benchmark for making any claims about being loud or quiet because it was obvious that he was being heard by at least the next couple at the pool bar. Being the social butterfly Tim is, turning to the “next couple”, Tim asks, “So, where are you guys from?” and this is how Lana and Tim (together with Carissa and Jason), met Esther and Dan. Many laughs ensued when they responded “from California, United States” which sent Tim’s foot flying into his mouth. At that moment the NAFTA talks began between the four Canadians their new friends Esther and Dan and a wonderful friendship began.

That day, it was discovered that Esther and Tim were equally loud. As Dan is remembered saying, “Esther, you’re a 9. Dial it down to a 4!” Dan and Lana have continually been the balanced and more socially aware pair. We found out much about each other and the obvious likeness to emerge from our conversations was the common interest in scuba diving. Their visit was short-lived, though, as Dan and Esther would be leaving the following day for another resort in the Northern part of Bali to scuba dive and then directly home after a week more. Too bad. These seemed like nice people.

The four remaining friends at the Bali Intercontinental were pleasantly surprised when Dan and Esther unexpectedly appeared two days later in the pool at the Bali Intercontinental. “We missed you guys so much we had to come back and hang out with you.” Esther and Dan said. The funny part about that is that it is not stretching the truth a bit. Dan and Esther truly did return because they simply wanted to hang out with their newfound friends. Now Tim really wanted to remain true to his commitment to Lana in not diving on the trip, but when Esther piped up and enticingly said: “So we’re diving with Manta Rays tomorrow. What are you doing?” Feeling bamboozled by the Murphy’s, and considering Lana and Tim recently had a failed attempt to see mantas in Yap, Tim (with a huge help from Esther) heckled Lana to commit, they acquiesced and joined the Murphy’s for ONE day of diving. Well, they hit the mother-load on that dive the next day with mantas everywhere on the ocean highway and “Crooked Tail” leading the train of mantas at a cleaning station. The four of them spent nearly an hour planted firmly in one place bobbing back and forth with the surge and watching manta after manta effortlessly glide over the top of them in pure amazement.

Esther and Dan continued to dive on that trip while Lana and Tim reverted back to a more sedentary and “resort” pace for the rest of the trip but they spent dinners, sun and pool time together before the ultimate commitment: Facebook friends.

Friendships can be made in a moment but it really is the meshing of personalities and the commitment to the relationship that will build an incredible foundation. Weeks after their mutual anniversary trips to Bali, Dan and Esther were on the phone with Lana and Tim one Saturday night, and Lana and Tim asked them: “What are you doing tomorrow? We’ll fly down in the morning and hang with you for the day.” Esther and Dan planned an exciting “Esther and Dan show Lana and Tim Long Beach in a day” day for Tim and Lana after they arrived at 10AM. Great times! Riding beach cruisers to Hole Mole (Dan’s favorite Burrito place), Belmont Brewing Company, Yard House and followed by The Auld Dubliner before dropping Lana off with a passed out Tim for their flight back to Canada at 4PM.

And so the adventure continues…

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