Sooo… How Was Your Trip?

Sorry for the delay, folks, I know you’re all just dying for some closure to this whole sordid affair. Now that we’ve been back for nearly a week I think it’s probably well past time we finished up. Things have been a tad hectic since our return but the trip back itself was rather uninteresting, which is pretty much exactly what I look for in a plane ride, even a 20 hour one (actually three different ones).

Our last day in Bangkok involved a whole lot of souvenir / gift / “impulse purchases that will never be used at home” -shopping. That, combined with temperatures upwards of 40C, train fatigue, and Bangkok’s ever-present innate charm, made us actually anxious to get on the plane (or at least into the air-conditioning). Upon finding ourselves with some time to kill several thousand feet above the Pacific we started to compile some notes and lists that I thought I should pass along. They’re really just some general thoughts and observations about the trip that somehow managed to stick in our leisure-addled minds. Enjoy.

Things About Southeast Asia That We Will/Won’t Miss:

Will miss:  the beach
Won’t miss: the bus

Will miss:  cheap everything
Won’t miss: getting what you pay for

Will miss:  no tax, no tip
Won’t miss: no service

Will miss:  being rich
Won’t miss: feeling cheap

Will miss:  being tall
Won’t miss: banging my head

Will miss:  warm weather
Won’t miss: hot weather

Will miss:  “sawatdee khrap”, “selamat pagi/malam” (greetings)
Won’t miss: “finished”, “same-same”, “not possible”

Will miss:  topless sunbathing
Won’t miss: transparent-when-wet traveller/flood pants

Will miss:  fried noodles
Won’t miss: fried “toast”

Will miss:  people who drive with no fear
Won’t miss: riding with them

Will miss:  successfully overcoming a language barrier
Won’t miss: unsuccessfully attempting to overcome a language barrier

Will miss:  settling into a new hotel
Won’t miss: searching for a new hotel

Will miss:  having mosquito nets provided
Won’t miss: having to sleep under mosquito nets

Will miss:  sugus, biskuats, coke in a glass bottle
Won’t miss: rice

Will miss:  actually enjoying a cold shower
Won’t miss: squat toilets

Will miss:  being surrounded by wildlife
Won’t miss: being surrounded by wildlife while in the bathroom

Facts and Figures:

– despite drinking an average of over 6 litres of bottled water per day, we still spent more money on Internet usage

– the cold, hard facts on our tour “all around” Southeast Asia: Indonesia – 117 days, Thailand – 80 days, Laos – 10 days, Malaysia – 16 hours, Japan – 12 hours, Singapore – 8 hours

– most commonly heard bands: Indonesia (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Thailand (Moby)

– most commonly heard song: Mr. Jones (Counting Crows), heard at least 50 times all at one bar on Koh Pha Ngan

– total books read by Dean: 49 (7 per month); total books read by Laynni: 92 (13 per month)

Miscellaneous Observations:

– completely the opposite of at home, in SE Asia nobody can understand, pronounce, or spell “Dean”; meanwhile, everyone has a friend, cousin or sister named “Laynni”

– it is apparently the law that all buses stop for gas within 10 minutes of departure

– knowing that you’re being ripped off in no way means there is anything you can do about it

– most SE Asians have never worn a pair of socks

– in some parts of the world a Wall’s Ice Cream sign qualifies as “civilization”

– on the other hand, you could probably be stranded at sea in a dinghy and still get a pack of Marlboros and a Coke

– you’ll never feel quite as tanned as you will when standing on the beach next to a newly-arrived Englishman

– after two months without TV we were simply thrilled to watch anything, in any language

– after enough conditioning it is possible to use the phrase “only a ten-hour bus ride” and not be joking

– does decent milk exist? Asia votes no.

– while the so-called “novelty” of seeing topless chicks may wear off you never actually stop looking

– a surprising number of European men don’t seem to care if their shorts were made for men or women

– road signs and lane dividers exist merely for show

– considering that nearly every restaurant offers beef we saw suspiciously few cows

– it took me 28 years to learn that my forearms are capable of sweating

Well, that’s about it. I hope that those of you that were reading these e-mails enjoyed them and those of you that weren’t didn’t have too much trouble with clogged up in-boxes (“Dammit, there’s another one of Dean’s ‘things’ again”). All in all, we had a great trip (regardless of what you may have read) and even though we’re glad to be back and are looking forward to seeing everyone, we’re still sorry to see it end. Until the next one………

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