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Published: April 14th 2009
Finally threw them away
So, not including local transport, at least...
9 hours on trains
20 hours on boats
37 hours on planes
346 hours on buses
51 different beds
72 different towns
12 pages of each of our passports
2 broken backpacks
far too many beers and a big bag of money later
...and we're in Japan, working in local elementary schools.
And that's the end of it. No more backside and soul destroying night-buses, no more nights in bus stations or 24 hour KFCs waiting for connections, no more haggling for everything, no more expensive internet cafes, no more scorching weather and drenching humidity, no more going into 7/11 for 10 minutes just to cool off under the air-con, no more constant hassling for ping-pong shows, tuk-tuks or moto-taxis, marijuana or sexy ladies, no more awful stenches from open sewers, no more rock-hard or lumpy beds, bed-bugs or plagues of mosquitos, no more 'three restaurant meal days', no more brushes with death on SE Asian roads. No more Chang Beer. No more tourist prices or retch-demanding toilets. No more burning jealousy for people who arrive at a location with a place to stay, or better still,
Chiang Mai, Thailand
a home. Because we have one now, in Japan, where we are writing this and imaging what to do with our new, blank walls.
But we're going to miss it, all of it. The bad stuff, too, but especially the freedom of choice, the almost limitless time to do whatever we like, the warmth, constantly changing but almost universally friendly people; local and tourist, the amazing sights and scenery, the bargains on simple comforts, and extraordinary things to do.
It's been such a great trip. Some of the best memories that come to mind are the elephant sanctuary from last blog, and the white-water kayaking, trekking through tiny villages in Myanmar, caving in Borneo which seems a millions years behind us now, the pretty lumps of the tea plantations in the Cameron Highlands, scuba diving in Sipadan, Christmas in the jungle, karaoke for New Year in the Phillippines with James, the Swedish couple we travelled with for five weeks, 28 relentless hours on various buses from the South to the North of Myanmar, watching millions of bats fly from a cave opening in Borneo, the children on the beach of Sihanoukville remembering us ten weeks later, our young
Awesome sunset 671
Moalboal, The Philippines
guide, Maji, in Bagan, the hilarious day which ended with a face full of truck-fumes in Yangon, drinking and talking with Constantinos in Bangkok until our 6am flight, tubing in the caves in Laos, all the puppies!, the fantastic and not so great food from all over the region, zip-wiring down 500-metre lines in Hoi Xiay for three amazing days and the dozens of people that we met and shared such great times with - Johnathon, Noah, Micheal, Neil, Lizabet, Lute, the Legretto Couple, Nic, George and Dylan, Laila, Caroline and Brendan, Yvonne, Andouche, Amy, Suresh, Josh, Micheal, Pauline, Lisa, Lizzie, Karen, Dave, Vanessa, Kaley, good old James, Neil, Natalie and Bret, the other Natalie, Jo, Rosemary, Mathew, Siri, Liv, Kris, Pete, Peter, Constantinos, and so many that we can't remember right now (sorry!). Great
It's time for a break, and to enjoy a different country on another level. Fingers crossed that it all goes smoothly, and that our next trip is at least half as fun as this one has been!
Stay tuned for some reports on living in Japan and what trips our busy jobs will allow us to take!
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