Donald & Helena


Donald & Helena

An initial 10 min chat about a long weekend in New York quickly turned into a decision to do a full loop around the world. A month of frantic planning and booking tickets and we were on our way with an itinerary covering 10 countries, with at least one stop on each contitent, except Antarctis, over 4.5 months.

The stench of rotting flesh got our adrenaline pumping, as we rolled down the car windows. The cat had to be close. Behind the twisted buffalo carcass, 20m from the road, H could spot a pair of eyes observing us. D took a bit of time to be convinced that the cat was actually there. A few moments later there was no doubt. The big male lion emerged slowly behind the buffalo. We could hear him breathing heavily, too full of buffalo meat to really be able to stand up. He took a quick peak at us, turned around and laid down behind the half-eaten carcass, barely visible from our angle. We had entered the Kruger Park through the Phabeni gate the day before, with low expectations. It only took a couple of hours for those ... read more
On the lookout
After lunch bath...
Oi! Did I say you could take my picture?

Asia » Hong Kong March 22nd 2007

So, we went to the the peak to enjoy the view and take some photos. After a 10 min steep tram ride up the hill we arrived the Peak Tower and went to the viewing area. The scenary is magnificent and it gets even better when it gets dark. We stayed for a while to take som photos. After a while a security guard told us that we were'nt allowed to use a tripod and that tripods could only be used from the slighlty raised "balcony" area behind the main viewing area. Odd rule, but ok. Packed away the tripod. a few minutes later we saw a number of asian people using tripods with their cameras. The same security guard was very close to them and didn't interfere, but as soon as he saw that D ... read more
Lizards on sticks
HK isn't just a high-rise ghetto
Narrow streets on Lamma island

Asia » Vietnam March 18th 2007

Saigon seemed "same same but different" at our second visit. It's hard to point out why, but it was maybe not with the same excitement we came to Saigon this time. After a 14 hour bus journey from Sihanoukville in Cambodia (), via Phnom Phen, we stepped on Saigon soil again. Before our trip we had heard horror stories about tricky boarder crossings between Cambodia and Vietnam, with people having to pay for extra health forms to the exact same amount as they were carrying cash. What a coincidence! However, both times we crossed this border, at two different locations (Chau Doc and Bavet), it was really smooth. Much easier and efficient than many western boarder crossings, and they still managed to do the nesseccary checks. Maybe we have something to learn here? We had our ... read more
Tank outside the War Remnants Museum
US fighter plane, War Remnants Museum
Guillotine, War Remnants Museum

Asia » Cambodia March 7th 2007

Phnom Penh (PP) 6 o'clock at night, when we arrived, is hot and sticky. At noon the heat is suffocating, even though midday temperature is "only" around 35 celsius. It has to be experienced, can't be explained. Can we please go back to Singapore () for some cool air? ;-) Some snow would be even better. Thank whoever for cold showers - and there's nothing else to be found, at least in budget accommodation. Hello, moto? is the first thing you hear as soon as you step out of your guest house in Lakeside, the backpacker district in PP. Now we know where Motorola picked up its slogan! In this case, the Khmers (Cambodian people) want to provide a "taxi" service though, on the back of a small motorbike or scooter, preferably for the whole day. ... read more
Everyone in Cambodia...
The river is the lifeline...
Choeung Ek memorial...

Asia » Cambodia » North » Angkor March 2nd 2007

It's not fair, because there so much else to see, but the fact is that most people who come to Siem Reap () do so to see the temples, Angkor Wat being the most famous, and so did we. So, when our Tuk Tuk-driver who got the job to drive us from the bus station to the guest house, for a lousy 1,000 Riel ($0.25), stopped half-way there to ask if he could be our driver to the temples the next day it wasn't like we didn't need the service, but his sales method carried a bit of scam warning on it. After all we had agreed a price for the ride to the guest house, nothing else. We explained this to him and after that he was very reasonable, drove us to the guest house ... read more
The whole gang...
Entrance bridge to Angkor Thom
Monks inside Angkor Thom

Asia » Vietnam » Mekong River Delta February 23rd 2007

- Sorry, we thought you were going to arrive yesterday. We were waiting for you, said the very friendly receptionist at Yellow House Hotel (YHH) in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC, Saigon from now on). - Now we're fully booked. What a nightmare, arriving in a new country, late at night, with nowhere to stay! - Wait, she said, I'll make a phone call. - The hotel next door have a room for you, do you want to see it? We went next door, and a little bit less cheap Vu Chau seemed to be even better than YHH. - I'll pay the difference in price, said the YHH receptionist. Not a lot of money for us, but a lot more for them, and it was a very nice gesture. Tired from the flight ... read more
The Gate, now rebuilt,
3rd floor garden

Asia » Singapore February 18th 2007

Our first taste of Asia - Singapore - was a gentle introduction to the culture, customs and hot and sticky weather of Southeast Asia. After a 30 min air-conditioned metro ride (why can't London tubes have A/C???) from the Airport to Bugis MRT-station (Mass Rapid Transit) we arrived at Bugis Backpackers Hostel, in central Singapore. Stepping out on the street, even at night, was a chock. The humid and hot air hits you instantly, like stepping into a sauna. Luckily our room had a maybe too efficient A/C. Straight to bed after a long flight. Tomorrow is shopping day. Sim Lim Square is not really a square, but a square 5-story building, full of shops selling electronic stuff. H was hunting for a new mp3 player and D for a new lens. The shopping experience was ... read more
Sim Lim Square
Flower market

Asia » Malaysia » Melaka » Melaka City February 17th 2007

Eight am, checking out from a sweaty Singapore (). A couple of SG$ and 40 minutes later, on the bus, at the Singapore/Malaysia border. Now, where do we find the bus to Malacca (or Melaka in Malay)? 20 min by taxi across the border town, Johor Bahru (aka JB), and we then had 10 min to buy a ticket and jump on the bus. Perfect! After a 3.5-hour pleasant, air-conned, bus journey we finally arrived in Malacca, the capital of the Melaka province. "Wanna room?" A school of hostel agents surrounded us at Melaka Sentral, the main bus station. With some hostel leaflets in our hands we boarded bus 17 to the main hostel area, just south-west of the town centre. Travellers Lodge looked nice, with its roof terrace and A/C-equipped rooms. Installed there, we set ... read more
Oil palm plantation
Food stalls i Malacca
Pulau Besar

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Sydney February 12th 2007

23 celsius, at 22.30, as we stepped of the plane in Sydney, after 38 hours of continuous travel from Santiago, Chile, via Lima, Peru, and Los Angeles, US, was just the start of a great fortnight Down Under. Swiftly taken to our hostel in Kings Cross (a slightly less seedy version of the London namesake) by the airport shuttle, we landed a room with panoramic views of what must be one of the most beautiful cities on the planet. Waking up a bit later than usual, at 11 (due to a tiny jet-lag), we set out to explore Sydney by foot. Soon we discovered that all the places had very familiar names. Wait a second, they've just stolen all of them from London - Hyde Park, Oxford Street, Paddington, Kings Cross, etc. Couldn't they've been a ... read more
View from our room when we arrived...
...and when we woke up the following morning
H utside the Cathedral.

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales February 7th 2007

On the wrong, sorry, left side of the road again, we steered north from Sydney () along the New South Wales (NSW) coastline. Airconditioning in cars should be law in this country. Luckily we had one with, in the +30 celsius heat. Nevertheless, we quickly felt the urge for a dip in the ocean and maybe a wave or two. Anna Bay came up shortly after and we stopped. Tide was too low, and the the small waves were breaking on the beach, but the view and the warm water - niiice! We stayed for a couple of hours, trying to be sensible in the fierce sun (UV index is sky-high down here), and continued on to Port Macquarie for a sleep. The next morning brought something that we hadn't expected - rain! And as the ... read more
Anna Bay
Big Banana - Coffs Harbour, NSW
Big Oyster - Taree, NSW

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