Monday, December 13, 2010

Marking 4 months on the road

This post was actually written over a week ago but we haven't had internet access so this is my first opportunity to post it...

As of 02DEC2010 we have officially been on the road for four months and are possibly at the halfway point of our round-the-world trip. I say possibly because we have not booked any flights beyond Kochi, India where we are due to arrive on 12JAN2011. I expect to stay in India at least one full month, maybe longer, and then we will fly standby (on Delta) to Amsterdam. From there we would both love to spend several months exploring Europe together but that will depend on our finances and overall wellbeing at that point. Ditto for another foray into Africa (Morocco) and any chance of going to South America before we return to the U.S.

While I’m on this topic, I’m already seriously considering extending our time in Southeast Asia. One month is not nearly enough to truly experience even a fraction of what Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand have to offer. Plus I expect these countries to be the least expensive places we’re visiting, so our dollars should stretch a lot longer. As soon as I’m online again I will email Airtreks, the company that booked most of our long-haul flights, to find out how much it would cost to push back our flights (unfortunately there are three) from Bangkok to Kochi by a good 4-6 weeks….
One of the first pictures Greg & I both took in Sydney, Australia was of a sign near our hostel indicating that it’s 11,017km from Sydney to Cape Town, which is where we are at now. But, in reality, we have already traveled at least triple that distance because of how we chose to route our trip. We have also visited 13 countries, bringing my total life list to 39. That’s a lot of mileage on this 36-year-old body!

Our East Africa safari is definitely the highlight of our trip so far. Of course, it was not cheap and was more like a vacation from our vacation so-to-speak. I will not delve into the details here as I have already covered them in my previous Kenya/Tanzania post. But suffice it to say that it was absolutely worth every penny and then some!
a lioness in the Serengeti
Here are the usual monthly updates:

Damaged goods: had to reinforce both Nokia backpack shoulder straps as they were pulling apart at the seam/attachment point to the bag; Greg’s spork broke in half; the digital thermometer on my multitool stopped working; my netbook’s mouse pad stopped working and multiple attempts to reinstall the driver software did not fix it so I had to buy an external/USB mouse; the screw stripped on one arm of Greg’s (my old) Maui Jim sunglasses so had to purchase a new, cheap pair; my many years old black ExOfficio t-shirt has shrunk a fair amount so I purchased a white printed Columbia Sportswear Kaveri Passage top to replace it

Useful items of late: U.S. cash for visas, tips, and to pay bills when credit cards were not accepted; my Nikon Trailblazer 10x25 binoculars were perfect for the safari - much more lightweight and just as good for identifying animals in the distance as our guides‘ heavier full size 10x50‘s; nylon cord to lash together broken part of van transferring us back to Arusha on our departure day; our convertible button-down shirts and lightweight long pants served us well on safari - good sun protection plus kept the mosquitoes & tsetse flies from biting
Greg sporting safari attire
Annoyances: all bottles of contact lens solution leak during flight whether snap or screw on lid

Business: I only have 7 blank pages remaining in my passport and Greg has 11 but we managed to get extra pages inserted (at a cost of $82 per person plus an extra day’s car rental) at the U.S. Consulate in Constantia. We also realized we did not have proper documentation to get a Vietnam visa on arrival (you either have to get the visa in advance from one of the very few Vietnamese consulates in the world or get a pre-approval letter from the Vietnamese government via a 3rd party for a small fee - around US$15), so we filled out the application online and requested the pre-approval letters be expedited and sent via email from a company Thankfully, they responded promptly and sent the letters to us within three days.

Health: Greg’s case of athletes foot persists; I’ve had more migraines or severe headaches in the past month than on our entire trip to date; we continue to take allergy medication (10mg loratadine daily) as needed and typically find that when one needs it the other does not (ie, we’re allergic to different things); I developed severe pain in my left shoulder shortly after our flight from Cairo to Nairobi - it’s constant but sometimes much worse (almost unbearable) than others and nothing helps for very long but I’m using Tiger Balm (like Icy Hot), naproxen sodium, and narcotic pain meds as needed

1 comment:

  1. It's interesting to see how you're dealing with "life" on the road, as this kind of trip is a bit of work, compared to a leave- it -all- behind-and-veg vacation! The longest I travelled was 5 months, and I dealt with some health issues along the way. South Africa's on my list for a future trip, for sure. Stay healthy and have a Merry Christmas...albeit in India!!