Friday, December 07, 2012

2012 Asian Adventure - Epilogue

OK, one more epilogue.  Why?  I like epilogues.  I like the sound of the word.  Ep-i-logue.  EP-i-logue.  Ep-I-logue.  Ep-i-LOGUE.  I like the word.

This was a marvelous adventure.  Thirty-two days of awesome, and not so awesome, adventure.  The variety of what we saw is hard to quantify.  The pictures I've posted only scratch the surface.  The things we saw: The Potala Palace, Pandas (both black & white and red), Terracotta Soldiers, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, Mount Everest (from the airplane), the Tiger's Nest Temple, the Bhutanese Takin, The Taj Mahal, The Glass Palace, The Amber Palace, and Elephants.  The great pieces of history keep going and going.  It is almost too much to absorb really.  Now that I'm home I keep catching myself seeing something on TV and saying "OMG I've been there!"  I love that feeling.  OK, I may not say OMG but that's how I feel at the time, like a giddy school girl at a Justin Beiber concert.

People have asked what was the best thing.  I honestly can't answer that question.  There was just too much awesomeness to be able to pick.  I loved the Yangtze river cruise and we are already looking into other river cruises.  Buddhism, and places associated with it, is incredible while being so peaceful.  Bhutan would have to be my favorite country - so peaceful and beautiful with wonderful people.  China had so much to see and I know there is a lot I did not see in this large country.  I probably didn't give Nepal a fair chance.  India was amazing.  The thousands of years of history we experienced marveled.  I guess the one word that would sum up this trip is "Wow".

A few observations I left out of the travel posts:
  • China, while steeped in superstition is trying to be secular.  When we entered temples in China our shoes stayed on.  In Nepal, Bhutan, and India the shoes always come off.  Slip on shoes would have been an asset.
  • Also in China, there is only one time zone for the whole country which messes with your head when it's light at 4:00 AM in one part of the country and dark at 4:00 AM in another part of the country.
  • The modern world, i.e. western culture, is everywhere.  In Nepal and Bhutan you saw angry birds shirts, toys, and stuffed birds everywhere.  Cell phones are ubiquitous in all four countries.  Even so, everything still had a native twist it.  Western culture is changing things not by replacing but by melding with what has always been there.
  • We had seven different guides.  I liked it better when there was one guide for the whole country like in China, Nepal, and Bhutan.  The guide gives you continuity.  Changing guides every day or so made things more difficult at times.  I also preferred women guides over men.  They seemed like they cared for you better.
  • Nepal, Bhutan, and India have some of the most beautiful people in the world - I can vouch for the women and I'm sure the Wife will vouch for the men.
  • In America we spend money on tanning booths and self-tanners to give us that dark, healthy glow.  Starting in Nepal we noticed commercials for skin lighteners.  Apparently dark skin is not popular ... in a part of the world where darker skin is the norm.  Our guide in Delhi blamed this on the British and their standards for beauty.
  • Before we left I'd heard that it was impossible to go to India without getting sick.  During the entire 32 days of travel, after eating Chinese, Tibetan, Nepalese, Bhutanese, and Indian food, I suffered from intestinal distress only twice and each time was a one time event.  Both were in China.  That was it.  I credit this to the yogurt and probiotic regimen I put myself on before leaving.  Sadly, on the last day, things caught up with the Wife.  After getting home she was down for the count for about five days.  Except for feeling a bit jet lagged and tired I felt fine.
  • After worrying that many of the places we were going would not meet my expectations, I was always surprised how much better the places were in person.  Pictures can only give you a superficial taste of a place.  Being there is a completely different experience.
  • Thirty-two days of travel, especially the intense guided tour type of travel, is very close to my limit.  I was exhausted at the end of many days and I let this nearly make me sick at times when I didn't eat and drink enough.  The Camino was longer but didn't have the intensity of this Asian trip.  I think we may have to limit these types of tours to three week spans from now on.
One other thing happened on this trip.  I can now say that I have traveled around the world.  The thirteen flights we took during this vacation took us completely around the world.  I hadn't really considered this when I was setting up the trip but it's a fun little extra.  To make it better, we never missed a flight and our bags were never lost.

Pictures from the China portion of our travels can be found in my 2012-06 China Google Photos album.

Pictures from the Tibet portion of our travels can be found in my 2017-06 Tibet Google Photos Album.

Pictures from the Nepal portion of our travels can be found in my 2012-07 Nepal Google Photos album.

Pictures from the Bhutan portion of our travels can be found in my 2012-07 Bhutan Google Photos album.

Pictures from the India portion of our travels can be found in my 2012-07 India Google Photos album.

Onward to our next adventure ... whatever that may be.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for letting me live vicariously through these trip posts, its been awesome. :)

    ReplyDelete