Trip Start Nov 29, 2005
79Trip End Nov 21, 2006
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And since that's really all there is to report on, a little reflection on my time in Asia.
I'll absolutely miss the backpackers I met along the way. I think the bond that forms when you're sharing an overnight bus or just simply forced to go up to people in bars or restaurants is stronger than the one forged when you just met at a hostel. Most of the best friends I've met in five months of traveling were the ones I met in six weeks here.
I absolutely won't miss, though, how much you have to force yourself to be social here. Hostels are so much easier. I also won't miss those damn overnight buses. They do make for some good stories though.
I'll miss the people of Southeast Asia. Absolutely the friendliest in the world. Whether it's the women in Thailand who gave me rides on their motorbikes or the school-aged girls who stop to talk to you just to improve their English, they are beautiful people. I'll miss the Laotians who don't speak a word of English but will still greet you with a warm, genuine, "Sa-ba-dii!" when you walk by or the Vietnamese street vendors who want to teach the foreigner the proper way to eat their dish.
I won't miss the people of Southeast Asia who are after your money. Let me walk the streets in peace, I don't want a tuk-tuk ride or a moto ride. Let me read the menu in peace, let me decide for myself if I want to buy your t-shirt. Those people have soured plenty of tourists holidays, and it's such a shame that it distracts foreigners from the generosity of the rest of the people. I will miss taking the piss out of those people though, especially the night in Saigon when I was sitting out in front of the hotel impersonating them, offering every foreigner "Moto ride? Marijuana? Ex? Heroine? Massage? Love you long time?"
I will miss the food. Not only is it delicious, but it's never more than $3 for a meal. It's only fantastic to not once have to cook for yourself in 6 weeks.
I won't miss the fact that the next dodgy stomach is only a bite or a sip away.
I'll miss the tuk-tuk rides, flying down city streets on three-wheeled cars, motorbikes and all that other good stuff. I'll never forget trying to balance myself on the back of a motorbike while carrying my 35 pound rucksack on my back. I'll always enjoy giving the tuk-tuk drivers license to be as mental as they like.
I won't miss (as I alluded to before) telling them I don't want a ride. That got old fast.
I'll miss treating myself nicely -- eating out all the time, having a room to myself, going out as I please -- and hardly ever spending more than $15 a day. The money goes such a long way out here.
I won't miss dealing with the absurd numbers in the currency. Try dividing, for example 238,00 by 16,000 in your head. Quick.
And that's that for my time in Asia, it went way too fast. Now I'm on to Greece, via Dubai, where I'm probably staring at a night in the airport square in the face. I've been there before, I know how much fun it can be.