03/11/13 11th Month Trip Thoughts

11th month thoughts- 03/11/13 Hiroshima, Japan to San Diego, CA “Family time. Planning again”
5,984 Miles traveled this month
2 flights
2 Countries visited (Japan, USA)
2 Cities visited (Hiroshima, San Diego)
1 business plan in progress
52,444 Miles traveled total
32 countries visited
20,155 photos taken

So this is it! I’m sitting in Narita Airport with no wife and 2 chihuahuas. Wendy is sticking around with her mother 2 more weeks (i used air miles to take our dogs who have been living with their grandmother for 2 years while we traveled) before meeting back up with me in California. She wanted to stop over at our place in Hawaii to dig through our storage and get her business suits. Yup, thinking about assimilating back into the real world. I’m full of mixed feelings. A little sad this is adventure is coming to an end but we had such an amazing time and were able to accomplish a life goal it feels great. I’m also 150+ pages into the research for a business plan so I’m extremely excited about the future as well. We didn’t hit up South America like we were thinking about doing but we’ll probably do that later in life. We’ll be pausing in San Diego for 2 months before heading to the US Virgin Islands to look for opportunities and see what the Caribbean is all about.

Trip Highlights!:
Caribbean- Cruise across the Atlantic to start our voyage on the same route Christopher Columbus took but reverse;

Africa- Overnight camel safari and climbing the dunes at sunset in Erg Chebbi, Morocco; Camel ride around the pyramids of Giza and going down a small steep shaft to the middle of a pyramid without a flashlight, exploring the temples of Luxor with our tour guide, and chilling on our Nile cruise in Egypt; hot air balloon ride in the valley of kings

Europe-Climbing the rock of Gibraltar on an amazingly clear day and seeing into Africa; buying sold out tickets for a local professional football game in Spain and being apart of the chaos and excitement; stumbling upon Spanish holiday performances and celebrations; French Riviera and crashing the Canes Film festival (no we didn’t get in, we’re not that cool:); Criss crossing Switzerland by train with my parents; Munich beer halls and history tour; Touring the amazing castles of Bavaria; burning out on museums and palaces of Europe; free city walking tours everywhere; learning about the history and cultures of our visited countries; sampling all the beers especially the Bock at the 500 year old tavern U Flecku in Prague, Czech Republic; Getting caught up into the Eurocup football tournament in every city we visited especially the massive outdoor event in Berlin Germany, Brandenburg Gate; biking around the canals of Amsterdam, Netherlands and stopping at the local markets and shops; meeting up with a friend in London and wedding in Birmingham; seeing Stonehenge first hand, Scotland hostel lesbians, picnics in front of and climbing the Eiffel tower, hiking up to Mont Saint Michel and the illuminated night church tour, ATVing and drinks on the water in Naxos, Greece; Amazing views from the caldera in Santorini, Greece;

Middle East- Inside of the blue mosque and hooka bar with Wendy’s friend in Istanbul, Turkey; retracing Jesus’s steps in Jerusalem, and floating in the dead sea, Israel; Indiana Jones’ing it through the cliff carvings of Petra, Jordan; witnessing the Islamic people of Saudi Arabia during a airport stopover near Mecca;

India-Taking a day to slowly enjoy the beauty of the Taj Mahal, Agra India;

South East Asia-Thailand island scooter exploring, coconut milkshakes, and $5 massages, relaxing and dreaming on the beaches; Biking around and climbing to the top of many Bagan, Myanmar temples to watch sunset or sunrise, Ziplining, ultra light flying, and watching thousands of flying lanterns at a festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand; Day long jet boat ride down the Mekong river in Laos; Overnight cruise around the cliffs of Halong Bay Vietnam;

Australia/ New Zealand- koala sanctuary Brisbane, Australia; Snorkeling the great barrier reef and walking whit haven beach in the Whitsundays, Acrbatic biplane ride for my birthday; ringing in the New Year in front of the Sydney Opera House; Milford Sound cruise, New Zealand; skipping paying for a hostel and instead touring NZ microbrews and sleeping in the car; Auckland museum and Maori war dance performance;

Trip Memorable Moments- Seeing the worlds largest communications dish in Puerto Rico; watching a car crash and almost flip while waiting to cross the road, sneaking rum onto our ship in our foldable water container, and finger lickin and spicy ass jerk chicken wings in St. Thomas USVI; accidentally stumbling upon a nude beach on St. Martin; being surprised by towel animals in our room, wine cheese and salami, and push away from port on Royal Caribbean; sampling local Lanzarote wine and olives in the canary islands; Delish churro with chocolate on Tenerife, seeing wicker chair sled rides on Maderia, Getting up before sunrise to rush to stand in line for sold out Alhambra entrance, trying to navigate around the labyrinths and markets of Fez with my small directional GPS and having it go out; hiding out in KFC trying to get AC in Marrakech; walking the F1 course in Monaco; renting bikes in interlaken with parents and Swiss fondue in Zurich; walking the infamous sites of the Nazis in Germany; busting out uncontrollably laughing during a sound of music screening in Austria; old school outdoor beer hall in Austria; Berlin wall and ruin bars; walking he redlight district of Amsterdam; London British museum; Guinness brewery and going back to my bar in Dublin Ireland, red hot chili peppers concert in Dublin; Belfast tour; Scotch museum tour with ride and samples in Edinburg; visiting the London 2012 Olympics sites; getting a 3D hologram of us at the top of the Eiffel tower; D-days Normandy beach cemetery; Athens Acropolis and ruins; braving the crazy horse cart taxi drivers to visit dangerous temple; our funny friends Tom and Nancy and our favorite under the table bartender; having to get our train ticket on the black market in Luxor; college aged military kids with backpacks and machine guns walking everywhere in Israel; overly friendly Indian guy who wanted to video a conversation with Wendy; parade people sticking sticks and metal through their cheeks and skin during the vegetarian festival in Phuket; watching a lightning storm and local fireworks at our table on the beach and half in the water in Ko Samui; checking the US presidential election results at a foreigner only wifi zone of a ancient golden temple of Yangun, Myanmar; getting warned about the Laos people and to seek out the hill tribe people if I needed protection from some hostel owner dude in Thailand; crazy busy Vietnam streets and anti-American vietnam war propaganda posters; checking out the petronas towers with an Auzzie girl during a stopover in Malaysia; scoping out best place around Sydney harbor to watch NYE fireworks; hippie people selling herbs out of a home made mobile home and tripping out over an actual rainbow over the water in Byron Bay; watching the hobbit in New Zealand; celebrating Wendy’s moms b-day in Japan.

Trip ‘Other’ moments- Getting a massive blister from walking 10+ miles a day exploring our first couple destinations, getting a crazy huge bulging vein on my forehead in Seville, going out of our way to see a dancing horse show in Jerez Spain and having it closed, getting drenched in Cadiz while searching for our hostel, waiting forever waiting for a cab that wouldn’t rip us off in Fez Morocco, wondering what the heck we’re going to eat in Fez and being the only foreigners in the local square scared to try the ‘meat’ kebab; overnight bus to the Sahara dessert dropping us off in the middle of nowhere and our hotel pickup not being there then some guy showing up late and taking us on a 40 minute ride in the dessert without roads, Hot, dusty, dirty, stinky, disgusting, Marrakech; flys all over the lobby of our Casablanca hostel; getting woken up in the middle of the night to loudspeakers blaring the calls to prayer; sweating my ass off on an hour long ‘AC’ bus to Canes; super expensive food in Switzerland; cloudy view at the top of Jungfrau; nice Romania guy in Germany who said he thought 911 was faked; rapping mentally retarded couple performing on street stage in Prague, Museum of Terror and communist history of Hungary; hostel no longer there upon trying to check in in Budapest; walking amongst the concentration camps of Auschwitz; wendy getting sick for friends wedding and me in Galway, Ireland; loosing hearing in one ear from a whistling idiot at red hot chili peppers concert; freezing temperature during the summer in Scotland; calling out an Algerian punk in order to get him out of our hostel room in the middle of the night after the lesbo girls; Sweating ass off in Istanbul hostel and getting flea bites at a hostel called ‘stray cat’ with tuns of actual stray cats, frickin crazy driving horn honkin and ‘revolution’ obsessed Cairo; loser Nile cruise tour guide; Wendys cousin almost getting head stroke at the pyramids and in luxor; catching a street kid trying to pick pocket me in Aswan; VERY uncomfortable day train Luxor to Cairo with crazy Koran reading rude dude next to me, people sleeping in the overhead bins, and being the only foreigners; holeing up in Cairo for 10 days waiting for our our India visa and not wanting to go outside among the crazy revolution people; longest and most difficult 100 mile trip that included going from Amman Jordan to Tel Aviv Isreal; starving fly infested stinky people walking the streets of India and no one seeming to care; finding several ticks in our bed and gross unsanitary sesspools along the sides of the streets of India; $4 a night Chiang Mai hostel and getting bit on the face at night by some bug; making a run from the Myanmar temple entrance guard; crashing the scooter because of a flat tire in a rural village of Vang Vieng; mosquito infested Vientiene hostel; being forced to walk a mile through the mud and mist to cross into Vietnam and the 26 hr bus ride to Hanoi; long hot Australia driving to Cairns; long days driving around NZ with very little civilization and no radio/music and sleeping in car; Christchurch earthquake devastation; no English TV or anything on remote Hiroshima house.

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