Wow. Two months since we got on the JAL flight from Boston to Tokyo. Some days it feels like just yesterday. Other days, it seems like we are miles and months away. We have skied and hiked and walked and sat on trains, planes and buses. It's been the dead of snowy winter and the hottest of hot summer days. We have climbed mountains, eaten and slept with local hill tribe families, hiked into caves, cycled around villages, scootered (and didn't die!), played with elephants, snacked our way through markets, visited museums and monuments and temples. Surprisingly, we have only traveled to 3 countries: 3+ weeks in Japan, nearly 4 weeks in Vietnam and we are 10 days into Thailand. If you had asked me before we left, I would have guessed we'd be on our 5th country by now, but we are learning to slow down and "be" in places, instead of just zipping through and seeing the highlights. I like to "GO" - see, do, eat, move constantly - so it has been an adjustment, but a good one. We want to experience the different cultures and get to meet and know the people, not just run through a greatest hits tour of each country. And as an aside, we are ON BUDGET! As of today, we are averaging $98/per person, per day, all-in.
Despite doing just that, slowing down and spending the past 10 days in one place - Chiang Mai, Thailand - we are VERY far behind on our blog posts. There's a lot to come about southern Vietnam, so stay tuned. We made stops in: Phong Nha National Park, Hue, Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City and Can Tho, before flying to Chiang Mai. Instead of writing, we have used our spare time to plan out the rest of this first leg of our adventures. We need to fly home in mid-May for Ruben's son's graduation from Roger Williams College, so while we enjoy being spontaneous, we can't miss this date! I can't believe we are half way to a stop back in Boston.
Some photos from Chiang Mai and Northern Thailand:
On tap for March 25-May 15:
We finally pack our bags and say goodbye to Chiang Mai tomorrow. We fly to Koh Tao, one of the eastern islands, to go scuba diving. Ruben is deathly afraid but has agreed to take a PADI certification class with me. In exchange, I promised to go rock climbing with him, location and time of his choosing. From there, a few nights in Bangkok and we bid Thailand adieu. We planned to visit Laos and Cambodia too, but they will have to wait until Leg #2 of our adventures. We will be back this way sometime later in the year!
After Thailand, we are spending 2 weeks in Myanmar. We have our flight to Yangon booked and will fill in the details once we land (We couldn't completely abandon the spontaneity!). We are both excited to see the country while tourism is still new-ish. Chiang Mai has felt very comfortable. Sort of odd to say, since they drive on the opposite side of the street and the signs are not only in a foreign language but also a foreign alphabet, but wandering around the old city doesn't feel that dissimilar to Boston or Nantucket on a warm summer night: bands playing on the street, friends strolling, college kids grabbing a slice of pizza from a cart after a night dancing in a bar.
Our final month will be in Nepal. We have our flight booked to Kathmandu (more phone calls and emails than I care to recount) and once we arrive, we will attempt the Everest Base Camp Trek. Hopefully our bodies will handle the altitude! And from there...Boston bound!
More posts and photos to come. Stay tuned!