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Trip Start Jan 12, 2013
Trip End Feb 27, 2013

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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Wednesday, February 27, 2013

It's the little things...well, actually they are quite huge feats of engineering. Air conditioning. Heating. Right now I am not focused on heating, but you know, for the sake of flipping the coin and all, I thought I'd mention it. But, air conditioning. Man oh man am I looking forward to entering a building, using the toilet, sitting in a chair, all without sweating copiously. Sweating while using the toilet just leave something to be desired for me. I don't know why. Maybe it's the close confines of a stall, seemingly amplifying the lack of cool air. As if potency of the deeds done in a bathroom stall swirl up and wrap you up rather than being swept away by the filtered air. The most tantalizing bit about it all is that the buildings are actually cooled to a degree, but it's as if the thermostat is stuck on 87. I am not sure if it's a cultural difference....I have my suspicions as I watched Cambodians with full winter jackets on in the mornings when, at last, it actually felt 'pleasant' at 74 degrees for us Westerners. I find it increasingly interesting how our bodies are never really regulating their own body temmperatures anymore. Everywhere we go is so highly, and precisely, regulated that we are always in a very comfortable temperature. I remember watching a documentary years ago about the integration of African refugees into America. There were social groups that would help the displaced refugees adapt to a life they'd never known. What the refugees said surprised them most was not the sheer largeness or bountifulness of anything for they knew that America and other countries were a land of infinite food and things. It was the air-conditioning. They said they couldn't believe how everything could be air-conditioned. I feel like an air-condtioning refugee...seeking out the little eddys of cool air. I also invoke my childhood lessons learned in the heat and humidity; you must stop moving, do very little, and eventually you will reach an acceptable homeostasis...although you'd like to pant to help the process along, but that doesn't work with humans.
Today I played Gollum and slithered around my hotel room basking in the coolness and darkness of it. When I went out to eat, I was dizzy with the heat. The sun was so bright and asphalt so hot. Hastily I ate and then scurried like a cockroach back to my lair. Totally reverting to my pampered Western ways, because today is the day I leave Indonesia and the whole of southeast Asia.

I am cutting my trip short by about 2 weeks for several reasons.  One of which is that without flying to another country and then returning to Bali, I feel there is nothing more that I would like to see here.  I cannot go to Komodo because of the weather.  I cannot go to the volcano I wanted to go to because the rains have created landslides.  I have seen the beaches.  With an unlimited budget, I believe I would bounce over to the Phillipines and check it out, but that requires a visa and another roundtrip plane ticket.  Second in my decision is the fact that I moved a week before coming over here, have never been in my new place other than to survey it for 10 min at a showing, and would like to get my life in order before starting my new job in several weeks.  Lastly, I am getting my beloved, annoying cat back that I had to give up when I moved.  I'd like to visit for a few days with my friends and colleagues.   All in all, these forces came together to make me feel the need to return to reality.  haha.  

I still can't believe I actually did it. Did this trip.  Even though it was safe and everything was fine, I still marvel at my naivete.  My personal opinion though?---with our own ignorance, we wouldn't embark on a lot of things!  On my last day of my vacation what am I feeling? I have historically been bad at these things. It is only until I have returned to home that I realize and understand how a trip has impacted me. All of the things that are inherent to my current environment, the things that create and make it what it is, are just too many and sometimes too subtle to really notice outright. The street vendors, the club music blaring in every convenience store, the uneven pavement cobbled with asphalt and stones, the whiz of motorbike engines constantly...how can you possibly wrap all that up in a neat little package and evaluate what it means to you? It is a place. With all that that entails.
I have been glad to experience all that I've experienced. The general benevolence of every culture and people that I've met has been one of my greatest take-aways. I also reflect on what it means to live day to day. To different people it means very different things.
I have absolutely loved the freedom of it all. There is absolutely nothing like being able to point on the map and to go there if you want. When you get there, you do want interests you. I never actually thought that I'd go through with this trip. In fact, that's why I made such a point of telling all my friends and family so that I couldn't back out--tried to create some accountability for myself. So many people travel every day, but for me, not having known anyone who had done the backpacking thing in southeast Asia, and definitely not alone as a woman, I was afraid. I knew I'd be fine, but it is so scary to step off that plane with nothing but your bag on your back and a crapload of optimism. (I definitely don't recommend pulling a Jasmine and arriving in Bangkok with no map or Lonely Planet or anything--yeah, that's a little tricky).  Once here, it all seems so silly that I would have been so afraid. It's the unknown of course. The funny thing is, we actually do know travel. No matter if you've never left your town, state, or country, you've been in situations where you had to figure something out...and that I've found is at the crux of traveling. You just figure it out.
I've noticed that I just yak to anyone now. I just don't care and I don't think I'm being offensive. Usually, when I sit down at someone's restaurant, they don't mind talking to me. Other travelers I just blurt out things. Driving that silly motorbike in Bali with the wonkiest roads, every traffic stop I would tap another motorbiker on the shoulder and ask if I was going the right way.
I don't think I was surprised by any of the poverty or the like. I was surprised that there doesn't seem to be any animosity towards the tourists as they come visiting in a relatively better financial situation.
I talked to my friend Carla and she suggested continuing the blog even though I've returned home. I think I will at least for a bit. I don't know. Maybe I write whenever I travel somewhere, even if it's just a day trip. There is something about this travel blog that feels so narcissistic but at the same time, I enjoy writing the stories with the idea that they bring laughter to the reader. If they don't then I wouldn't want to write them. Maybe I'll write the entries for me and if you all get bored, you can check in and see what, if any, antics I've been up to lately...kinda like "An Idiot Abroad". 

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some jet-lag to acquire.
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alan on

Hope you get everything fixed up at home and ready yourself for work on time. I recommend a full body massage and a hot bubble bath when you return to your abode. ;)

Lee on

Thanks for sharing your travels with us Jasmine. I really like the girl-on-the-street perspective and observations. You have helped me gain a lot of insight to the day to day realities of life in the areas you visited. Scripted travel shows tend to focus on the spectacular and when they are not, they are focusing on the poverty. No balance. Your blend of showing Angor Watt with it's apparent grandeur of the past juxtapositioned with a people who are poor and couldn't possibly achieve what their ancestors did so long ago. At the same time, you showed the little day to day activities of people living their lives. Very fascinating.

I hope you have more photos of your travels that you can post and comment on. Maybe you could go back and add some comments to your older photos too?

Thanks again for sharing,

Li on

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences in such a fun but informative way. I feel like I learned so much about a part of the world I knew nothing about.
If you find yourself in EWa please let us know we would love to see you..
Thanks again Jaz

Matt on

Thanks for the stories! This was definitely worth recording. I guess it's sort of like how you said you don't have some profound statement about the trip and you will probably appreciate it more later. Same thing with the blog. There is no way you could recall each day's little details on your own. You will look back on this and think, "Wow. I almost died on that boat trip. But then I got to hang with these pig farmers so that was cool."

Unreal and too real all at the same time. Very cool. I'm glad you did it, glad you shared it and relieved you're home.

So... when you coming to TN!? lol

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