Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Few of Our Favourite Things

Over the past fifteen months we have tried to let you into our life on the road through our blog. If you are really interested in what our ups and downs have been you will get a better picture of what they are by reading our blog posts. Of course, lists are helpful sometimes, especially if you're short on reading time. So here it is: a few of our favourite things from this fifteen month romp.

Favourite places:
There are so many! Cameron Highlands (Malaysia), Ningaloo Reef (Oz), all of New Zealand, Northern Thailand, Angkor Temples (Cambodia), Litang (China), Gili Islands (Indonesia) Langmusi (China) Zhanjajie (China), Cat Ba Island and Halong Bay (Vietnam), Ninh Binh (Vietnam), Ashok Nagar (India) Naggar and Vashist (India), Golden Temple (India), Rishikesh (India), The Cadbury Factory (NZ) and of course, British Columbia (Canada), Hiking the Annapurna Circuit (Nepal), Haputale (SriLanka), Cappadocia (Turkey), Bruges (Belgium), Lyon & Paris (France), Belfast (Northern Ireland-as always), London (England)

Favourite Major City: Kathmandu (Nepal) (More so in July, the off season), Istanbul (Turkey)

Beach: Northern New Zealand beaches, Western Australia beaches, especially 50 Mile Beach, Nha Trang (Vietnam), Ko Jum (Thailand), Gili Islands (Indonesia)

Food: Everything made by Raj or her family in India, Pad Thai and Curry in Thailand, Fresh spring rolls from Hoi An, Vietnam, Jacqui's Ozzie chickpea burgers and Darwin market food, Maureen's vegetarian dinner in Auckland, the western food with Paul and Dorothy in China (real butter!), The Darwin mango, fresh tropical fruit in SE Asia, Pulled rice noodles (China), Moroccan breakfast with Dave and Bron (Sydney), Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies with the Haberstocks (Thailand), Nepali momos, Everything in Singapore, Malaysian rotis (esp those with chocolate and peanut butter!) Thanksgiving Dinner 2010 in Vancouver, Sri Lankan rice and curry and kotthu rotti, A. Eileen's cooking, Belgium chocolate and fries, French cheese and Racette,

Drinks: Raj Mahal chai (India), Lemonanas (India), Fresh fruit shakes in SE Asia, 'Top Cup' Mango Ice drinks (China), ice cold water on a hot day, A. Eileen's tea, oreo shakes (Lao), Ceylon tea (Sri Lanka)

Desserts: Keer (similar to rice pudding) (India),

Country with the most consistently good food: India, Northern Ireland (Belfast in particular), Thailand, Cambodia, Sri Lanka

Spiciest Food: Sri Lankan, with no competition

Animals: Turtles, tropical fish, sharks and kangaroos in Australia, monkeys everywhere, goats, cows and water buffalo that wander the streets in India and Nepal

Most Amazing Thing: The people we've met along the way

Most Frustrating moments: When they wouldn't sell us a bus ticket in Sichuan, China so we would be forced to pay for private transport. When Budget Car Rental in Vancouver charged us $300 for a dent we didn't cause and has still, over a year later neglected to respond to any of our numerous emails. The Budget Boycott lives on.

Scariest: Bus rides in the mountains in China

Best Balconies: Cat Ba Island (Vietnam) Naggar (India), Vashist (India) Nuong Kiaw (Lao), Gili Air (Indonesia),

Best Hikes: SO many in New Zealand, Black Tusk in B.C (Canada), lots in Tibetan China and the Hill Stations of India, Annapurna Circuit (Nepal)

Most surprising thing: How good Chinese food really is in China.

Best Sunset
: Christmas Eve 2010 from the beach on Gili Air (Indonesia), The Darwin Sunset that Jacqui and Josh ordered for us

Best sunrise: Watching the first rays light up the mountanin peaks in golden light from the window of our room in Bragha, Nepal (Himalayas)

Fav activities: Hiking, snorkeling and sitting on balconies with fantastic views

Fav view to wake up to: Almost every morning in 'Adama' our campervan in New Zealand. We had a 'room with a different view' almost every night!

Fav Birthday Moments Abroad: K: Walking into the atmospheric dining hall where the Tibetan monks were chanting before their lunch

Hottest Place: Northern and Western Australia- it was 50 degrees Celsius!!

Place we wish we could have stayed longer:
Sejuk Cottages, Gili Air, Indonesia. Private shaded rooftop in our own fancy bamboo hut with a hammock, pillows and free delivery of frozen drinks... a two minute walk to the ocean...what more could you want?

Word Jonathan couldn't wait to use: Bamboozle!

Most Festive Festival: There seems to be a festival every other day in Asia. We were privileged to experience a great festival in Lovina, Bali (Indonesia) where we were invited in to take part in the family celebrations, the Flower festival in Chiang Mai (Thailand), Ganesh Festival (India) and many other festivals the origins and meanings behind which we didn't know, but we were dosed in water, flour, confetti and fun just the same! Fete D'Lumiere in Lyon (France)

Most Titillating Architecture: Golden Temple (India), Angkor Temples (Cambodia)

Best Snorkelling: Ningaloo Reef (Oz), Gili Islands (Indonesia)

Worst Public Transit: Indian Hill Town buses. Hands down horrible.

Biggest Ripoff: Money exchange at the Siem Reap Airport in Cambodia

Where we would go back: Pretty much everywhere, but we would make sure we went in the right seasons. Where we would go back to next, besides Western Canada and Belfast? Probably New Zealand and India

What we miss the most about home: Family, friends, the cottage, flush toilets and general sanitation, traffic rules, maple syrup, green salad, baking cookies, sidewalks (that you aren't allowed to drive on)

What we are looking forward to at home: Christmas, meeting all the new babies, church, baking cookies!

Favourite Souvenirs: Suits and scarves that Raj gave me, keychain with my name written in Chinese on a grain of rice from Winter in Yangshuo, dangly earrings from Thailand and China, pearls from Halong Bay in Vietnam, cashmere scarf from Kathmandu, chocolate from Bruges (although this souvenir probably won't make it home...) sarongs from SriLanka

Saddest Things: Pollution and garbage of every kind, everywhere, animal abuse, poverty

Best thing I packed: K: sunglasses and camera. And the sarong I got in Indonesia. Sarongs are the greatest invention, if you can call a square piece of material an 'invention.' Sarongs are like chameleons: skirts, dresses, bathing suit wraps, towels, beach loungers, blankets, walls, a device to hide you from creepy indian men on trains... so many uses! J: a second pair of underwear

Stressful Moments: Often, usually on transit days, in the heat

Best books we read, en route: First they Killed my Father, The Girl in the Photo, Born to Run, Three Junes, Indian Summer, A Year in the Merde

Starriest Sky: New Zealand- the stars actually twinkle

Most Memorable Night: So many! Especially our first night in the camper in NZ. We looked up through our moon roof and right above us in the starry sky, was the southern cross, a constellation you can only see in the Southern Hemisphere!

Friendliest People (friends and family aside): Kiwis, Cambodians, Balinese, Nepalese (outside touristy areas), Sri Lankans

Most foreign culture: Han Chinese

Most fun places to shop: A scarf storage emporium that I had all to my self in Lijiang, China- two floors of scarves and me (J: and unfortunately, me too). Also, the sale in Dharmashala, India where every scarf was less than $1 and the shop owner distracted Jonathan long enough for me to choose a whole bunch! The night markets in Chiang Mai (Thailand) and the Night Market in Siem Reap (Cambodia) were also great fun.

Best massage price for husbands who need to be detained while his wife finds all (ALL) the "bargains": $2 per hour at the Siem Reap Night Market

Best advice we were given: 'You can't see it all' and 'Don't feed the monkeys'
oh, and of course, 'Every'ting is possible!'

Things we can't wait to try at home: Cooking all the food we have loved to eat on this trip. Be warned Gord and Cathy, J is determined to make his own pulled rice noodles!

Best chocolate: Cote D'Or (Belgium), Chocolate Line Chocolatier (Bruges, Belgium)

Fastest Day: Oct 13 2010- It didn't exist! We lost it when we flew over the international date line!

Fanciest Airport: Delhi (India) was pretty fancy

Grossest Thing: Flower dump...I can't bear to write the details. You'll have to ask Jonathan what he saw (but not when I'm around).

Moving Moment: When Vikramjit, Raj, Pradesh, Rohan, Rabu, Mrs. Sandhu, Sandeep and the family all came down to the train station to see us off, waving and smiling and chasing the train down to pass us cold water bottles through the window to go with the packed lunch they had already prepared for us....

Favourite Hotels: SriLak View (Haputale, Sri Lanka), Sejuk Cottages (Gili Air, Indonesia), New Yak (Braga, Nepal). There were plenty more, of course, but we can't remember their names...

Favourite (almost) Christmas moment: We were in Belfast a couple weeks before Christmas, jonesin' for some Christmas tunes. We found a free radio station on the internet playing Christmas music and were really excited! It was beginng to feel a lot like Christmas and we were coming home for the holidays! 'I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas' was the first song to come on- one of our favs. 'Look!!' J exclaimed pointing behind me. I turned around and looked out the window. It was snowing!!! In Belfast! Big, fat, white snowflakes!!

1 comment:

Sonia said...

love, love, love this list! What a treasure that takes you to so many places in just a span of about five minutes. Priceless. I am surprised to see missing from the list of "best chocolate" - Snickers on that Tiger Leaping Gorge Hike. I know you loved it at the time that's for sure but yes it was a Snickers Bar after all. We can't wait to hear how you do once you get back....we need to set up a skype chat or something! but first things first just have an awesome Christmas with all your friends and family and we will catch up soon. xoxoxo and Merry Christmas from Joel and Sonia! :)