Wednesday, March 4, 2009 by Dave Blum

What were *you* doing back in 1987?  If you’re a Millennial, you may not even have even been born yet!  (Wow, that makes me feel OLD.) For my part, back in the later 80’s I was foot-loose and fancy free, having just finished a two-year stint teaching English in Japan.  Twenty-four years old, with money in my pocket, I was many years away from thinking about corporate team building activities, scavenger hunt ideas or treasure hunt clues.  At the time, I really had only two thoughts in my mind: 1) seeing the world and 2) pushing my limits.  Needless to say, I wasn’t coming home yet.  There were far too many exotic locations to experience, and nowhere more exotic than Bali in Southern Indonesia.

So there I was on tropical summer day in Sanur Beach, Bali, contemplating the sparkling ocean with my girlfriend (at the time), Yumiko.  Knowing me, I was probably the one with the brilliant idea to go walking on the tide pools…in our flip flops!   Out we went, further and further, observing the colorful fish, gazing at starfish and the like, when the tide starting coming in.  My second brilliant idea of the day:  Instead of curving back along the top of the reef the way we came, why not simply swim/wade directly back to the beach?  You can see where this is going.  Within minutes I felt a sharp stab in my right foot, causing me to fall to the left and get a dose of whatever it was on the sole of my other foot.  You guessed it — I’d stepped on sea urchins.  Oh, I’d “pushed my limits” all right!  Both my feet were now absolutely studded with poison-tipped, Balinese sea urchin spines.

“Yumiko, I think I’m hurt!”
“Ah, come on Dave, stop joking.”
“NO, Yumiko, check this out.  I really put my foot in it this time!”

Dog-paddling back to the beach (just above the reef in the rapidly rising tide), I plopped myself down in the sand and Yumiko checked out the damage:  14-15 little black spots on each heel, arch, ball and toes — and all those little spots were hurting like the dickens.

“Yumiko–you need to go for help…now!”

To Be Continued…