Update! Revised Southeast Asia Route
India: check. Up, down and all around.
Malaysia part1: done. beaches, farms and fun.
Thailand part 1: down. Crags, curry and rain.
Lao: Laid back and loved it.
Vietnam: we became half human, half noodle but left early as we weren't having fun
Cambodia: as awe inspiringly beautiful as it was socially depressing. Either way Cambodia Rocked.
Thailand Part 2: Soaked up sun in the land of smiles
Sumatera, Indo: It's rough in the jungle, and friggin beautiful
Bali, Indo: This place makes you feel like a dirty rotten tourist (but its uber pretty)
Australia (current): When we look at the stars the constellation Orion is upside down and its about to be winter here; truly our world is upside-down. No platypus sighted yet!
Next up on the docket: (in order) As for getting back to Canada we plan to fly to the south western US. The flight would be long from aus so we are going to stop somewhere in the South Pacific then go to USA. Once there we will make our way up the coast to BC then com across Canada making a stop in Elliot Lake then finally back to Hamilton.
We never planned to do this much of southeast asia all in one go but once you are there it is all too tempting. Canada is so big that nothing really seems so far away here. Sumatra has been a dream for both of us for years now. Our favourite coffee comes from there and everyone we have spoken to who has visited just says "GO!". It is said that if you want a vacation go to Bali and if you want adventure, go to sumatera... we're doing both.
April 12th 2011
Having our own vehicle is really making this part of our trip more enjoyable and possible. If we were using buses we would have to pay 50$ a night for a crappy room or camp out in the woods which are somwhat inaccessible because there is a distinct lack of buses here. Right off the bat we don't even spend that on food and petrol in a day as well if we were to rely on traveller services we would be at the mercy of many dodgy institutions and only be able to access jobs and countryside via tourist buses. All in all its a big circle jerk to be stuck in that world and we are largely free to do as we please. We have a map book that lists 1000's of free camping sites ... read more
March 31st 2011
One subtle difference between Oz and Canada is the disticnt and ubiquitous lack of wifi and internet access. Where access exists the price is astoundingly higher than at home and we are currently paying 7$ an hour which is laughable in Hamilton where internet is free with a coffee purchase. The abiltiy to communicate makes the cost negligible anyways but it is annoying to have so little internet available. All in all it is a minor problem and Tasmania is so beautiful that you forget about little things like the internet. Oh yes,we are in Tasmania now and the journeyt here from Adelaide was windy, wet and wonderful. The great ocean road is about as different a drive from crossing the outback as noodle is to a lightbulb. Starting from Adelaide we crossed southeastern South Australia ... read more
March 21st 2011
The rolling hills surrounding Adelaide are not fertile rainforests but are teeming with life none the less. The ecology here is deep and diverse but the closer we look and the more people teach us we realize it requires an entirely different perspective to understand nature here. I can only guess at how strange it must have felt to be dropped here as the first unlucky colonisers. Whereas in Canada the forests tend to be large and dense and impressive here life exists and flourishes at much different scales and levels. half the lakes near us are dry half the year yet still considered lakes which coming from the water-rich canadian shield is a mindboggler. One of the girls we are staying with is working and schooling in the propagation of native plants and has a ... read more
March 16th 2011
Our plant-keen farm friend Dean kindly reminded me that I HAVE been away from Canada for too long as even though i conferred with Jenna as to the colour of coltsfoot (which is YELLOW, NOT blue) we both were incorrect. The fact that i misrepresented one of my favourite flowers is unsettling but i will get over it. We found out that Alex's son Galen is 2 now and that was a mindblower as we remember him as a quite floppy just-learning-to-walk young toddler. So much has changed and so much more will undoubtedly continue to change. We are on the safe side of Oz for all who wondered about floods, cyclones and tsunamis. We received a few inquiries as to our proximity to such cataclysms and the answer we are no where near them ... read more
March 11th 2011
What a week. We have been caught in the throws of beaurocratic mania but have rode out the insanity and prevailed triumphantly. We are tired but optimistic and now, finally, ready to go wherever we want whenever we want in Oz. Our aussie friend alex who stayed with us for a few weeks back in 2008 (when he was in Canada) hooked us up with his friends here in Adelaide and they have been great to us. Overjoyed by access to a kitchen we have been cooking up a storm. During the day we have been heading downtown to search for vehicles we want to buy, try to untangle paperwork and attempt to make banks not screw us over (the last one failed but in the end we won). In every country we visited so far ... read more
March 1st 2011
Everything went smoothly while leaving bali, heck the flight was even 2hours shorter than we thought. We set up a couchsurfing date with a girl who said she likes zombie movies and beer on her host profile. We had instructions on where to meet and a phone number to call but I messed up with the payphone because dialing is different in every country and i can be useless sometimes. Luckily even though my call didn't work our gracious host swung by the airport at a time she thought we would be through customs and fully in the country. Thankfully all worked out and soon we were surfing our first couch... well floor actually but we still ahd a matress. It happens our host Amanda lived in Canada 2 years and has toured around the states ... read more
February 23rd 2011
Bali truly has something for everyone. This is most evident for us as we seem to like things we see in shops which hasn't really happened since the himalayas. We are in Ubud which is sort of like Westdale village on tropical steroids. It almost seems there are more foreigners living here than natives but balance and harmony still persist. Many many opportunities are here for locals that do not exist in any other part of the country. There are designers and artisans of all sorts whereas most towns are full of knockoff that are the same in every shop. (this still happens but is far less frequent) If Kuta is the hyper-hedonistic bastard child of Bali, Ubud is its refined, well groomed cousin from back east. Art is the major draw for most but for ... read more
February 20th 2011
I don't know how people let themselves get so sunburned but the dirty streets and alleys of Kuta Beach are lined with throngs of bipedal lobsters. The funny part about popular destinations is all the presuppositions that surround them. Thanks to movies like eat pray love and others, before even stepping foot on the island people have many strong opinions about Bali. The unfortunate side of this is folks tend to spend most of their time trying to fulfill outlandish fantasies instead of interacting with their environment in a more meaningful way. Bali is truly wonderful.. don't get me wrong, but there is an unsavory air to the mentality and actions of most people who come here. To escape this we hopped on a boat to the nearby-but-also-part-of-Bali Lembongan Island. It is touted as the Bali ... read more
February 13th 2011
We had a hell of a time getting out of Sumatra, and while in south Sumatra. I think it's a good idea every once and a while to write about the things that go wrong - in this case, many, many things all together - so at least the picture of travelling in these beautiful, exotic, 3rd world places is balanced. The vast majority of travellers fly from Padang to Jakarta (Java). We the ever stubborn overlanders opted for the other way. Instead, when we left Kerinci we headed east, somewhat blindly. There's very little travel information for south sumatra, and little english is spoken. After arriving in Sungai Penuh we walked around the very busy small town looking for a bus that left earlier than 8 in the evening (this was noonish). We ascertained that ... read more
February 5th 2011
Sumatera is getting louder everyday, sometimes every hour it seems. We were just in a small village high up in the mountains where the major passtime is making small motor bikes very loud by cutting off the mufflers and racing them back and forth all day on the only good strip of road for 50 km (which happened to be in front of our homestay). The area surrounding the village was stunningly beautiful so as long as we were hiking it was pleasant. A recap of the last week or so: Bukittinggi had many wonderful warung (food stalls) but had many more loud mosques so the theme there was day trips. The villages and forests in the surrounding area were a great escape from the noise of civilization. One day we took a train through the ... read more