Trip Start Jan 06, 2006
Trip End Feb 27, 2007

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Saturday, February 3, 2007

From Frying to Freezing...

Our time in Asia expired. Nearly 6 months since I set foot in Hong Kong, wide-eyed and determined to take in everything, miss nothing. Through Southern China, dipping into Vietnam, hopping over to Nepal and back to Thailand weaving Cambodia and Laos into the mix. Id like to say I gave it my best shot, flying away with indelible memories and a strong desire to return....soon...very soon. This part of the world oozes adventure, whacks you with culture and tradition, while at the same time hinting at its homogeneous cravings for material "progress" and westernization. Funny things going on in the world we live in, Ill leave it at that.

Major flight West to Europe went off without a hitch. Gulf Air, true to its name, took a pit stop in the Persian Gulf region, Oman to be precise (think, near Saudi Arabia/UAE). Then through to London! Not too sure what to expect, we rolled off the plane dressed for a beach party, only to receive word that it had snowed earlier that day and the outside temperature bottomed out around 20 degrees. Little different than the scorching sands of the south, still fresh on our memory (note: sand in ear).

Our one-week stint in London was killer. Didn't waste any time here: Waited through the changing of the guards (yawn), let out solid ooohhhs and awwwws over the Parliament Building and Big Ben and Westminster Abbey, the London Eye; all the All-Stars. Got our art out with extended visits to the National Gallery and the Tate Modern. Modern art often makes me feel slightly insane sometimes. People's creative methods sometimes come out in very peculiar ways. Some, no many, profound, and some, well....just hard to digest. Very impressive all around.

Other highlights: Posted at old 16th century English Pubs for a laugh (or two) with the locals. Celebrated Australia Day with a bunch of boisterous young Aussies. Even in a dark pub in England, you can find Aussies just wanting to have a decent crack. Good on yah mate.

Took a day trip West to Stonehenge and Bath. Stonehenge was a sight to be seen. Adjacent to a busy highway, this Wonder of the World isn't necessarily tucked away in acres of rolling green hills, only to be reached by a compass and constellations. Daily commutes take you literally a stone's throw from the marvel. Nonetheless, cool....very cool. After, swung through Bath, to spend time exploring the old Roman baths set up during the Roman Empire, and the surrounding beautiful city. Needed more time here.

London in general killed it. Its a place you've always wanted to see, an gargantuan blast of history, imperialism and fish and chips (!)....Its one of the world's greatest cities and you can hear, smell and see that with every step you take here. The architecture, the traditions. The only downside was the Schwarzenegger strength of the Pound and the bite-you-in-the-ass weather, both of which didn't weigh too heavily on our spirits.

With some last minute changes to our itinerary, Rory and I jetted back to the States, skipping our plans for 2 weeks in Ireland. A conglomeration of personal reasons, financial reasons and the proximity to home eventually made us expedite our time in Europe. Definitely returning with more money and more time to do what hasn't been done in Europe. An overnight in Dublin, Ireland gave me enough time to race to the Guinness Storeroom for an impressive tour of the brewery and the freshest pint of the black stuff that I had ever experienced. Wow!

On January 31st, at 10:00am, my 23rd flight on the Scenic Route returned me to the beginning, thus completing the orbit, back to the start, nearly a year later. The last flight blossomed an incessant butterfly sensation that wouldn't let me sleep, wouldn't let me read, wouldn't let me do ANYTHING! Check out the trip summary for one last entry and a wrap-up of the Scenic Route. (sigh!)
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sherrypace on

Back to the States.. Welcome home
Nick- Wow, your adventure abroad has ended but I have no doubt you will return to the days of living out of a pack and seeing the amazing places and faces this world has!! I so enjoyed reading all of your entries and know that come June 2008 when I hit the road after Peace Corps I will be picking our brain about many of the destinations you saw in SE Asia! Please keep me posted on your plans and hope you are enjoying being home. I am sure it is quite a transition!



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