Thursday, November 25, 2010

Good times (and bad)

What a great trip it's been. I’ve been trying to think of what the highlights were and the things that stand out the most are the outdoor adventures: trekking through the Malaysian jungle, walking down into a volcano in Java, and riding a horse through sand-dunes in Mongolia. They didn’t seem enjoyable at the time but afterwards they’ve lingered in my mind; the sense of achievement at the end of them was amazing. There were other highlights too: the freighter trip from NZ, visiting the offices of the Phantom comic in Sydney, having a picnic at Hanging Rock, seeing the Pixies in concert in Melbourne, the amazing scenery of Australia’s red centre, the temples of Angkor Wat, the outdoor food stalls in Hanoi, the Forbidden City in Beijing, the Great Wall of China, swimming in Lake Baikal in Siberia, the Hermitage in St Petersburg, Hitler’s Wolf’s Lair in Poland, seeing the Third Man locations and the film itself in Vienna, and the Berlin Wall.

It’s pretty clear what the lowlight was: having my wallet stolen in Sumatra. I’ll never forget the sense of helplessness I felt that day. Also bad but not nearly so much, was having Dengue Fever while on the island of Ko Tao in Thailand. The hassles I had trying to get a visa into Russia from China were also terrible. Another lowlight is one that I forgot to write about on this blog: when Kristen and I almost got arrested after setting off fire-crackers in a park in Beijing. What started as fun quickly turned into sheer terror when we were swarmed by security guards, followed by great relief when we got away with it.

One of the best things about the trip has been the time spent with friends and family. My girlfriend Kristen came to visit while I was in Melbourne and we had great times traveling along the Trans-Mongolian and Trans-Siberian Railway routes from Beijing to Moscow. Friends and family I stayed with were my aunt Gerry and David in Montville, my aunt Ulli and cousin Conan in Sydney, Cynthia in Sydney, uncle Tony and Michelle in Canberra, cousin Evan and Jen in Tasmania, Mark and Ella in Adelaide, cousin Sarah and Peter in Saigon, Al in Shanghai, Sophie in Rotterdam, and now James and Mona, and Ethan in London. Then there are the friends I’ve made along the way. I’ve met so many great people, too many to list and some of whose names I’ve forgotten and whose contact details I’ve lost. But I’ll never forget Dewa who helped me in Bengkulu when I had my wallet stolen and whom I’m still in touch with.

I’ve seen enough temples, churches, museums, and galleries to last me for some while. I've had lots of dodgy food, but more great food.

I'm going to keep writing on this blog for a bit longer because I'm going to travel around England for while. Then in early December I'll be returning to New Zealand - but this time I'm flying!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, you omitted to tell us about your near arrest in China until now!!

    Do you feel much changed by this experience?

    I think perhaps you are, you have stopped giving us endurance ratings for the trip way back. Does that mean you've taken that teaspoon of cement and hardened up? Or your meter got broken? ;-p

    Been great following your adventures! Thanks for sharing.