Thursday, November 27, 2008

Old videos from our 120 day trip

Kick off video

In transit in the Bangkok Airport.

more to come...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Trip statistics

Our trip came to an end on June 6, 2007 and now we're back in California, back to the reality of taking what we're given, cause we're working for a living. The trip was amazing and memorable and here are some of the highlights, lowlights, and statistics from our 120 days without an address.

Countries visited = 20
Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, India, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia, Italy, Vatican City, Spain, Slovenia, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, England.

$65.26 per day for the entire trip
$112.00 per day for the entire trip including pre-purchased flight package (LA-Hanoi; Siem Reap-Bangkok; Bangkok-New Dehli; Mumbai-Istanbul; London-LA)

$44.56 per day in Asia
$80.93 per day in Europe

Actual Travel Duration (not including missed connections or waiting) - car, bus, plane, train, boat, ferry = 329.75 hours

Gelato's eaten during 10 days in Italy = 25 (some had more than 1 scoop and more than 1 flavor!)
Flavors included: Cioccolato, tiramisu, caramello, pistachio, straciatella, frutta di bosco, fragola, banana, pompelmo, limone, panna cotta, cocco, cacao amsterdam, zuppa inglese, cioccolato rica, vaniglia, melone, ananas, mandarina, mirtelli, menta, cookies, kiwi and asparagus...yes...asparagus!

Beer list by country (name, alcohol %, color (Light, Pale, Amber, Brown, Dark) and rating 1-5 stars):

Hanoa Bia - 3.8%, Light, ***
Halida Bia - 3.8%, Light, ***
Huda Bia - 4.7%, Light, ***
Larue Biere - 3.6%, Light, ***
Saigon Lager Beer - 4.3%, Pale, ***
Bach Dang Draft - ?%, Pale, ****

Angkor Beer - 5%, Pale, ****
Jade Beer (from Singapore) - 5.2%, Pale, ***
Lao Beer (from Laos) - 5%, Pale, ***

Beer Chang - 6.4%, Pale, *** (cheaper and better than Singha)
Singha - 5%, Pale, ***

Castle - 5%, Pale, *** (says its South African beer brewed in India)
Kingfisher - ?%, Pale, ** (too warm)

Ursus - 5%, Pale, ***** (King of Romania. Best beer of the trip, smooth and full flavored, damn good beer!)

Niksicko - 5%, Pale, ***

Karlovacko - 5.4%, Pale, ***

Forst - ?%, Pale, *** (had a red Beck's in Italy that was good, but not Italian!)

Mahou - ?%, Pale, ***

Union 1854 - ?%, Pale, ****
Zlatorog - 4.9%, Pale, ****

Puntigamer - 5.1%, Pale, ****
Reininghaus - ?%, Pale, ****
Gosser Zwickel - ?%, Pale, ****
Speigl - ?%, Pale, ***

Flotzinger's Cool Pils - 4.8%, Pale, ****
Schneider Weissen - 5.4%, Amber-Hefeweizen, ***
Hofbrau Original - ?%, Pale, ****
Hasseroder - 4.9%, Pale, ***
Veltins Pilsener - 4.8%, Pale, ***
Binding Romer Pils - 4.9%, Pale, ***
Alt - ?%, Amber, ***
That beer at Ben's house? - ?%, Pale, ***
Kolsch - ?%, Pale, ** (bitter aftertaste and a bit flat)

The Netherlands
Heineken - 5%, Pale, ****
Pacifico at Mexican Restaurant - 4.5%, Pale, *** (not a great batch)
Groningen - ?%, Dark, ***

Brugse Zot - 6%, Pale, ****
De Koninck - 5%, Amber, ****
Premium Kriek St. Louis - 3.2%, Red, * (Bad cherry beer out of a small can)
Jupiler - 5.2%, Pale, ****
Leffe - ?%, Dark, ***
Maes Pils - 4.9%, Pale, ****
Duvel - ?%, Pale, ****
Ramee - ?%, Pale, ***
Kronenburg - ?%, Pale, *** (French beer)
Carlsberg - ?%, Pale, *** (Danish beer)
Orval - 6.2%, Dark, ***

Laundry days
2/12 - Camellia Hotel, Hanoi, Vietnam
2/21 - Nha Trang, Vietnam
2/27 - Saigon, Vietnam (Only cost 16,000 VND!)
3/7 - Bangkok, Thailand (Lots of laundry to do after our Cambodian adventures!)
3/15 - Bangkok, Thailand (Day before flying to India)
4/13 - Belgrade, Serbia (After a month of washing clothes in the sink in India, we finally had proper laundry facilities and we washed everything!)
5/2 - Ibiza, Spain (Maids at the timeshare did our laundry for us!)
5/12 - Arnfels, Austria (Nice washer & dryer at Helga & Sepperl's place)
5/20 - Dusseldorf, Germany (Nice washer & dryer at Ben's place)
5/31 - Brussels, Belgium (Last laundry stop at Marc's place)

Food Favorites
Com ga - Chicken rice with cilantro & lime - add chilli sauce or nuoc mam
Dong Ba Market sweets
Cheese omelet baguettes
Spring rolls
Fruit - pineapple, dragon fruit, chum chum
Veggie Pho
Pineapple and mango shakes
Yellow noodles
Bia hoi or ly (draught beer) with watermelon

Fish amok - coconut and lemongrass
Lab (with chicken or veggies) - mint leaves, lemon juices, chillies & roasted rice

Mango and sticky rice with coconut sauce
Thai iced tea with boba
Various peanuts!
Prawn fried rice

Chicken biriyani
Veg thali
Roti and naan bread
Veggie kofta
Besan ke Gatte
Super veg burger at Om
Aloo mehti
Panchmal dal
Veg or chicken kathi balls
Puri: Bhatura (puffed fried bread)
Tikka masala
Paneer tikka kathi rolls

Pizza at that pizzeria our 1st night in Istanbul
Veggie wrap

Papanasi (papanash) - donut with jam & cream
Tiramisu at Pizza Roma!

Burek - cheese pastry
Chris' veggie casserole...I'm getting the recipe!

Grancereale croccante - amazing cookies!
Risotto with seafood in Dubrovnik

Gelato (see above!)
Arancini - rice and tomato fried balls with cheese
Pizza - naturally
Blood oranges and juice


Pizza burek
Vegetable soup in Bled
Chicken Slovenia!??!

Bean salad with pumpkin seed oil
Raspberry, blackberry and elderberry juice
Topfenstrudel - raspberry
Various Austrian cheeses, but not Edam
Helga's veggie goulash...I'm getting the recipe!
Helga's risotto with asparagus...I'm getting this recipe too!

CJ wanted kirschenstrudel - cherry strudle - but we couldn't find it

The Netherlands
Poffertjes with fruit and whipped cream

Frites with mayo or tartar sauce
Gaufres (waffles) de Bruxelles - better than de Liege
Noord-Holland Gouda cheese

Good Decisions/Good Luck
No battery flashlight
Anti-itch cream
Going to Bodhgaya, India
Upgraded on Ko Phi Phi
Upgraded to 1st class train from New Dehli to Varanasi - although that's where RJ got sick
Getting India visa in CA
Electric bikes at Angkor Wat
Seeing the family in Bien Hoa, Vietnam
Cutting CJ's hair - but not necessarily this particular hair cut!
Staying with Ivan in Dubrovnik
Going to Assisi
Fireworks in Ljubljana for EU Day

Bad Decision/Bad Luck
No sleeping pills for CJ
Traveling in Vietnam during Tet - Hoi An-Nha Trang bus ride from hell!
No toilet paper in India
Rusgalla (sweet soaked bread that tastes rubbery and squeeks when chewed) - only dessert CJ doesn't like
Bag clasp breaking on flight from Udaipur to Mumbai
BBQ corn in Istanbul
Balkan Flexipass
SDCCU credit card & ATM
Eurrail passes - not worth it if you're over 26
Just missing Brasov festival
Chocolate Museum in Koln instead of Neanderthal Museum in Dusseldorf

It was a fantastic trip! The bad decisions/bad luck episodes were very minor. We were happy to come home, but I highly recommend a trip like this for anyone out there. It doesn't cost as much as you'd think, and the memories are worth every penny.

Happy traveling!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Has it been 4 months?!?

London is our last stop! We flew from Charleroi to Stansted on my airline ....Ryanair.... verrrrrrrrrry niiiiiiiiiiiiiice! It was a short flight and then we made our way to South Kensington where we stayed with my old friend Makoto and his family who were also in Brussels for the reunion. We wandered the streets of Kensington with our huge packs and looking very grubby after 4 months of travel...the flashy cars glared at us as we walked by...and we walked by some nice ones. Every other car was a Ferrari, Porsche, Bentley, even Aston Martin...London is a wealthy city and we were in a high class neighborhood.

We spent 3 days in London and saw most of it on foot. Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the Tower Bridge, Hyde Park, the London Eye, St. Paul's Cathedral, Kensington Palace...Big Ben, Parliament. We took a tour of the House of Lords. We were hoping to see Tony Blair in action at the House of Commons, but he wasn't in that day and there was over an hour wait. We did it all in those three days...Makoto's wife Junko and I even brushed our teeth while sitting on the floor with baby Nao!

All the museums in London are free so we popped in to the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square and also checked out the Tate Modern along the Thames. We walked down Oxford St. and Regent St. to see the latest high fashion We checked out Kate Moss' new line at TopShop. We rode the tube here and there and on our last night in London...the last night of our 4 month trip...we paid to see Harry Potter naked. It was actually a fabulous play in London's West End stores...CJ was much more interested than I was. called Equus starring Daniel Radcliffe and it was the last week of the show. A fabulous play and a great way to end the journey. But is it really over!?? Do we really have to get jobs now and engrain ourselves in society again?? Or can we go home for a couple weeks, regroup, and head to South America for a couple more months on the road??? Either way...packing for the last time was bittersweet. We thoroughly enjoyed our 4 months on the road, but we are eager to get back to CA and stay in one place for a bit.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Class of '92!!

Unbelievable that its been 15 years since I graduated from high school, but there's no better way to celebrate that then to get together with old friends and talk about the good ole days like they just seems like they just did!

We had a couple days before the reunion events so we explored the city, my old stomping grounds. The Grand Place still looks the same and the Mannequin Pis is still pissing!

We took in the sights around the Grand Place and had some drinks at the King of Spain where, as is typical for Belgium, it started dumping rain for a good 30 minutes. When the rain
stopped we continued on.

Rogier drove down the next day, which was Friday, and we went to check out the International School of Brussels where we met some 22 years ago! The school day was just ending when we got there so we managed to see some old teachers that still work at the school which was fun. Later that night the entire reunion group...which was only about 15 people, got together for dinner. It was a pretty small reunion, but was fun nevertheless. After dinner the group meandered to a nearby club and the drinks continued to flow.

The next day we had a mellow afternoon BBQ where there may have been more kids than actual reunion participants! I guess we've reached that age!

All in all it was great seeing everybody as usual and hopefully we'll see each other before another 5 years passes.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Our wild night in Den Haag

Our wild night in The Hague with Sascha and Tonia, who have the most interesting jobs ever, working for the UN´s International War Crimes Tribunal.

We spent two nights in The Hague visiting my old grad school roommate Sasha. It was a bit rainy in The Hague so we didn't do a whole lot of sight seeing. We went to Delft for an hour or so and the rain came down in buckets so we popped into a restaurant and had some delicious poffertjes...small pancakes with fruit and whipped cream. Later we had a fun dinner with Sasha and Tonia and the next day we were off to Bruges, Belgium for a night.

First thing we did in Belgium was try some frites and waffles!! Breakfast of champions!! Bruges is a quaint little town with canals and walking streets and a nice square that had a great market going on the day we were there. We did a lot of walking around Bruges and enjoyed 2 full days there before heading to Brussels to meet up with old friends at my 15-year reunion!

Friday, May 25, 2007

our favorite dutchman

Aaaaahhh Amsterdam.....what a fabulous city! The weather was perfect for our 4 days in the city. Of course...after travelling through southeast Asia, India and all across Europe without getting sick, we both got sick in Amsterdam! Luckily it was just a 24-hour bug, but it severely cut into our sight seeing and ability to enjoy Amsterdam. We spent all day Thursday and Friday morning sick in bed and didn't truly get out to see the city until Friday afternoon when our good friend Rogier and some of his friends picked us up in a speed boat to see the city from the canals. It was a beautiful Friday afternoon and people were out enjoying the day.

After a few hours on the canals we went back to Rogier's place where we played the epic game Guitar Hero for a couple hours before cabbing back to our hotel.

The next day we explored the city on our own and met up with Rogier for dinner. On Sunday we met up with my uncle Keith and aunt Chris, from Belgrade, who were in town for the long weekend. We went to the Van Gogh museum with them then went off on our own to the botanical gardens. We met up with them later for dinner and that night we took the train to The Hague to check out the international criminal courts.

Rogier picked us up in a speed boat on the canals of Amsterdam. CJ knew that when he picked us up there would be booze and euro techno music involved...she was not disappointed!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

deutschland and on to amsterdam

We spent one night in Salzburg, Austria before heading into Germany. Mozart was born in Salzburg and through the drizzle we saw the house he was born in and the town he grew up in...for a little while anyway. By the time he was about 6 years old he was touring Europe and impressing royalty with his piano prowess. After our rainy day tour of Salzburg we met up with Helga, Sepperl, and Helga's sister Gerta for a nice dinner just outside of town. They were all extremely hospitable and overly generous to us during our time in Austria...we can't thank them enough for all they did. We were sad to leave Austria, but that's exactly what we did the next day when Sepp dropped us off at the Freilassing train station. We were on our way towards Munich and the infamous beer gardens!

We were actually staying with a friend in Rosenheim, about 45 minutes southeast of Munich by train. We arrived in the early afternoon and did a quick tour of the quaint town of Rosenheim...quite nice. After lunch we went for a nice hike into the hills nearby with Kirsten and Tom...our gracious hosts.

The next day we went to Munich to explore the city. It was Father's Day in Germany and instead of father's spending quality family time as is tradition in the US...most fathers in Germany head for the beer gardens with their buddies! And that's where we went too! I think I enjoyed it more than CJ did, but visiting the beer gardens of Munich is a must.

After Munich and Rosenheim we continued north toward Mainz and Frankfurt where we met up with our German dentist friends that we met a couple years ago in American Samoa. I lived just outside of Frankfurt from 1983-85 and had not been back to my old neighborhood since then so I was quite excited to revisit my German past. The dentists were wonderful hosts as well and picked us up at the train station and showed us around Mainz and fed us wonderful german food and good beers.

The next day we explored a local market in Mainz before heading to my old town of Oberursel and Frankfurt. The Frankfurt International School where I attended 4th and 5th grades has gone through quite a renovation since I was last there. Just down the road from the school I saw the old apartment building I used to live in and we drove through the town of Oberursel which also brought back memories. It was a nice trip down memory lane. We then headed to Frankfurt and walked around the city, which also brought back fond memories. That night we had a grand feast with all the german dentists, it was great to see all of them again. The next day, we took the train to Dusseldorf to see my step-brother Ben and his family.

It had been several years since I had seen Ben and I had never met his wife and 2 kids...I couldn't believe he has 2 kids!! Two beautiful boys! We spent a few days with Ben and his family and visited Dusseldorf and Cologne which isn't far away. It was a nice relaxing visit before we headed to Amsterdam!

Here we are in Frankfurt with Frieda and Astrid (2 of the German dentists now living in Mainz) and Frieda's boyfriend Alex.

Grand feast with German dentists...Katie, Astrid and Nina!

In Dusseldorf with my step-brother Ben.