today was my last day in Singapore, and in Asia. at first it wasn’t quite hitting home but then suddenly it hit me, and for some reason it made me very sad. and thus I’ve been fighting tears all day, which is quite insane. I’m not sure why it’s hitting me that hard. my trip isn’t over, i still have so much to see. but i did get used to Asia. no, that’s not right. i fell in love with Asia. and I’m leaving her. maybe it’s just harder because I’ve only slept 3 hours last night…
thus far i have visited 8 countries. i can’t believe how far i have traveled, both in kilometers and in self-discoveries. I’m amazed at how many things i have done, seen, eaten, watched, experienced, smelled. i have walked the great wall of china. i have climbed mt Fuji (almost completely). i have trekked in hill-tribe villages. i have ridden down river. i have experienced incredibly long rides cross-countries. i’ve caught worms in my feet. i’ve had whiplash from a banana boat ride. i have met great people. danced the night away on a beach. swam in phosphorescence. seen so many UNESCO sight. and so many things i can’t recall right now…
during this vacation i have made myself a list of things i would or wouldn’t about Asia, as to not forget them as i encountered each of them. many have been forgotten though and aren’t here, but the important is… at least, i hope.
things i will miss about Asia.
– minute maid orange juice; China. the best ever!
– the food; especially in china, Malaysia and Singapore.
– cheap french food and pastries; Vietnam.
– good and cheap beer; Laos mostly.
– the smile of the local people, everywhere but mostly in China and Indochina.
– the landscapes; Laos especially.
– struggling with the language; everywhere except Malaysia and Singapore.
– shopping; Bangkok Thailand.
– great prices.
– street food!!! especially in Thailand and Singapore.
– free accommodation; Sihanoukville Cambodia.
– the tribal people; China, Laos and Vietnam.
– being the only white person somewhere.
– drinks in plastic bags.
– the excitement of finding an ATM that takes my bank card; everywhere above Thailand.
– eating, eating and more eating!
– movies being played in restaurants.
– beautiful, long bus rides.
– constantly being amazed by how much things or how many people can be transported on a cyclo, moto, tuktuk, pickup truck, bus or anything else with wheels; Indochina specifically.
– being “rich”; everywhere but japan and Singapore.
– normal food portions at fast food joints.
– cheap flights.
– limestone mountains; Laos, Vietnam, Thailand.
– the incredible rice fields and its many shades of green; Laos and Cambodia the most.
– sacred cows and water buffalo.
– locals chatting you up when they see that you are alone.
– wild orchids.
– DVD on buses.
– pirated movies.
– the mountains.
– lemon juice.
– the water; phi phi Thailand.
things that i will not miss about Asia.
– getting ripped off.
– seeing so many men urinating in public.
– people picking their nose in public.
– toilets with no toilet paper.
– wet washroom floor.
– fear of malaria, dengue, etc.
– struggling with the language.
– opening Thai/Khmer/Lao water bottles.
– taking malaria pills everyday.
– cold showers.
– gun “coat check”; Cambodia.
– people who do not flush in public toilets; China.
– having to travel/walk far to get to an ATM that takes my bank card; especially China and Vietnam.
– wet toilet seats.
– crazy motorcycle drivers; Thailand.
– dirty pay toilets.
– having to walk around with a roll of toilet paper all the time.
– prostitutes or local women dating foreign men for their money/citizenship.
– karaoke videos on buses.
– people assuming it’s a shame to be alone.
– bedbugs; Malaysia.
– Muslim men; Malaysia.
– people cutting in line.
– Asian-size everything, especially leg space.
on the best and worst.
– favourite country: Laos.
– best drink: tie; mojito in Thailand and margarita in Cambodia.
– cheapest beer: tsing tao, China.
– best beer: beer Lao.
– best croissant: Hoi An patisserie.
– worst meal: pho at the breakfast stop on the kangaroo café tour of Halong Bay, Vietnam.
– best IYH bed: Osaka, japan.
– best crowd at a hostel: far east youth hostel, Beijing, china.
– coolest hostel: inn crowd, Singapore.
– best hotel room: halo ha-loc guesthouse, Hué, Vietnam.
– coolest room: backpacker’s travel inn, Melaka, Malaysia.
– cheapest bed: free, Occhueteal beach, Sihanoukville, Cambodia.
– most expensive bed: Y3800 ($38), Nagano IYH, japan.
– coldest place: bus ride, Malaysia.