I love sweet drinks and, fortunately, Lisa is usually quite excited about them as well. It has become something of a routine for us to find our favorite drinks in each country and then partake in them endlessly. In the states, I usually accomplished this with unlimited coca cola during at least one meal a day. When I travel, it is rare for me to buy soda as I prefer it from a fountain, loaded with ice and free-refills, something you just don’t find often outside of North America.
Here is a recap of some of the better drinks I’ve run across. Unfortunately, I don’t have photos of all of them, as I was usually too excited to just start drinking.
There are so many little things that happen each day that I don’t want to forget. Anecdotes are a collection of these mini-stories or adventures. Also known as “filler material” for when I don’t have anything else to blog about.
sometimes, language is unnecessary
Matt and I were in yet another minivan, this time from Vientiane to Luang Prabang in Laos. I ended up sitting next to a pair of Korean guys, one older in maybe his 50s or 60s, and the other younger, in his late 30s or 40s. The older guy was against one window, the younger guy sitting in the middle, and me against the other window / panel door.
Depending on my mood, I will either engage my seatmates too much (wait, you’re telling me there are people who don’t want to talk to me for 9 hours straight…?) or not at all. If I perceive there to be a language barrier, I usually won’t try to talk to people. These two seemed a bit severe, or maybe my preconceived notions told me that they were, so I assumed the van-riding position: I put in my head phones and unfocused my eyes.
Uh, it’s January 30th? 2014?!?!?! It feels like it was just the New Year a couple days ago! Maybe that’s because it’s the Lunar New Year tomorrow. Or maybe it’s because I’ve completely lost all sense of time and reality.
It has been a crazy month. We entered Thailand on December 30th, Malaysia on January 6th, spent two days in Singapore (January 19th and 20th), and then spent one day in all three of those countries, reversing our route. We are now back in Thailand. For a large portion of that time, we were joined by Cara, a friend we’d made a few weeks before in Cat Ba island. But she eventually got tired of our snarkiness…
and went back home to the States, and we’re back down to two. Here’s a more in-depth summary of the last month.
A huge part of why our journey thus far has been so amazing is the kindness and hospitality that we’ve been shown by others. Whether it be by chance, old friendships, ultimate, or couchsurfing, our trip has been blessed by other people who have been our travel angels.
Perhaps the greatest traveling lesson I’ve learned thus far is how helpful it is to explore a new place with a local. They can help you avoid getting ripped off, find all the best food spots, and give recommendations on all sorts of things from how to get around, sights to see or avoid, and what the craziest local dish to try is. They’re also useful for learning about a place’s culture and understanding what life is like for them. And, greatest of all, having a friend in a new place makes traveling so much better.
X-Cross Ultimate in Kampar, Malaysia moments before a downpour
As we travel through Southeast Asia, I’m always keeping my eyes open for opportunities to play ultimate frisbee. Most of these occur at hat tournaments in the region, as the scene is largely comprised of ex-pats living here. The notable exceptions in the region are the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore where the sport is growing rapidly among locals, while Vietnam also has some players based in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. It can be hard to get to pickup games when traveling, as sometimes you just aren’t visiting on the right days. So imagine my surprise when UltiAsia
listed a pickup game in Kampar, Malaysia (population 67,000) that supposedly took place every day!
My first hitch. Cara from Vermont, a friend we met in Vietnam last month, has been traveling with us for a couple weeks.
Having arrived in Cameron Highlands only an hour earlier, and not sure what to expect, less than ten vehicles passed us up before a pickup truck pulled over and offered me my first hitchhiking experience. We had tried and failed in Vietnam
, so it was nice to no longer feel rejected. Troji, the owner of a not-yet-opened hostel named Westwood Highland, had told us it would be easy, but I had no idea it was going to be this quick and painless! Over the next few days, I would rack up ten hitches in a very diverse set of vehicles.
Matt and I have made it two months on the road! It feels both like an eternity and the blink of an eye since we were back in Denver. Our trip hasn’t turned out as I had anticipated, but all in positive ways. I didn’t have any specific expectations for this adventure, just some vague goals about self-growth. I thought we’d see some cool stuff, eat some good food, and meet a few people. In all those ways and more, these last 60 days have far exceeded what I had thought possible. We’ve had so many amazing and incredible experiences that it doesn’t seem possible that we have only been at this for two months.