Shaun Della Vedova

shaun dellavedova

Shaun Della Vedova

I'm an Australian living in the US and heading out on 8 months sabbatical from my job in banking. Thanks boss!I have travelled quite a lot over the last 10 years, but nothing like this. The trip starts in the Arctic circle and Murmansk and flows by train and bus down to the southern tip of India. Home to Perth for a month or so and then back up into SE Asia. It should be a fun ride.

North America » United States » Connecticut » Stamford April 10th 2010

I cannot believe that I am home. Even just a week ago it seemed that this trip would go forever, but I guess that eventually I have to go back to my job and start trying to pay for all this time off. This blog wont have any new information about cities visited, it is really just for me to sum up my trip, give out a few pointers and comments to my long term readers and sign off. Thus if you are looking for a list of the highlights of Stamford, you are in the wrong place. Try SBC for the margaritas and Bistro 122 for the pizza. After such a long trip I feel a bit like Peter Jackson ending The Lord of the Rings. I just don't know how to do it, so ... read more
#2 Great Wall of China
#3 Taj Mahal
#14 Angkor Wat

Europe » Hungary » Central Hungary » Budapest » Pest April 7th 2010

Budapest. If you had have told me at the start of my trip that it would end with me visiting a German girl that I had met in Russia, in Budapest, I would have assumed that you were high. But that is the way that things have ended up and so I found myself visiting Verena, as she did a three month stint working in the German Embassy here (no diplomatic immunity, unfortunately, or this would have been much more fun blog to read). In an auspicious start, my journey here from Yangon took me through Bangkok (the last place I saw her) and Moscow (where we met). As an aside, I had to get to Khao San road in Bangkok to pick up some luggage I had left and ended up having to walk through ... read more
Central market
Around town

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Inle Lake April 6th 2010

The 350km drive from Bagan to Inle Lake, the last major travel day on my journey, is really divided into two parts. The first half is flat and most of the way we were going through dry rice paddies. With the surprising abundance of palm trees it seemed a lot like an odd combination of north and south India. We had been warned that the road here was pretty bad, but I have been along a lot worse. The paved section of the road is only just over one lane wide, but there are huge shoulders, so when there is an oncoming vehicle two wheels end up on the gravel. Fortunately traffic is light and it is almost all trucks and bikes, we would have been lucky to have seen more than one car an hour. ... read more
Local kids
Monks out for alms

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Bagan April 6th 2010

While on approach to Bagan airport I was really hoping for a preview of two mornings hence, when I was planning on taking a hot air balloon ride of the temples of Bagan, but alas we came in from the wrong direction and we touched down just as the sunset. This meant that by the time we arrived at the hotel (the bags took longer to get offloaded than it did to fly down from Mandalay) it was pitch black and so we went to sleep without a chance to see any of the sites. It turned out to be Max and MJ's 40th wedding anniversary and we helped them celebrate with barbecue and far too many beers. As a side note here, the Burmese are into strong beers. The normal strength beers are 5% alcohol, ... read more
Random temple

Asia » Burma » Mandalay Region » Mandalay April 3rd 2010

Heading down to the train station in Bago before the sunrise I realized that this would be the last major train ride on my trip. Even though I have done almost exactly twenty thousand kilometers on a train across six countries, every train trip has been different and a unique experience and this was no different. The good thing about the Burmese trains is that they are the most spacious I have been on, with beds at least nine inches wider than any other and he gap between beds at least a foot wider. The downside is that the unmaintained track makes for the bumpiest (I am glad it wasn't overnight, as it would have been almost impossible to sleep, even for me) and noisiest ride anywhere, and the lack of air conditioning or a working ... read more
Largest book in the world
Typical Burmese lunch

Asia » Burma » Yangon Region » Bago March 31st 2010

Heading down from Kyaiktiyo and the Golden Rock to Bago, we largely retraced our drive from the day before. In fact, we had driven through downtown Bago on our way from Yangon. The difference this time was that I was not reading a magazine an instead was looking at the world going by. It was quite an interesting drive, with much of it along a small river, and almost the entire drive through dry rice paddies. I haven't seen as many bullock drawn carts this side of India. Fortunately the lack of cars on an otherwise good highway meant that we were not always stuck in traffic and made good time to Bago. Immediately upon arrival we went back two or three streets, right into a local restaurant for lunch. For anyone who is coming to ... read more
Shwemawdaw Paya
The snake
Shwemawdaw Paya

Asia » Burma March 29th 2010

Heading out of Yangon on a bus I almost immediately buried my nose in the latest issue of The Economist. I cannot believe that it is only three weeks until I need to be back at work and while I am pretty sure that I haven't missed anything big in the world since I have been away, the in depth report on risk management post financial crisis was a good way to get my head thinking in the right way again. This didn't stop me continually popping my head up to check out the scenery that was whizzing by the window. The dusty tracks, dry rice paddies and houses made primarily of wood and bamboo are eerily reminiscent of Laos and Cambodia. The big difference between the two is that here none of the wooden hut ... read more
The rock
Me too ... I think
On the truck

Asia » Burma » Yangon Region » Yangon March 26th 2010

Of all the countries that I have visited on this trip, Burma is the one for which I had the least preconceived notions. Sitting right between India, China and Thailand, which would it be most like? Or would it be something altogether different? At one time the most dominant empire in South East Asia was centered here and would any of that remain? Would the British influence remain strongly, even if just in the architecture, or has it been swept away in the last fifty years, like in so many other former colonies. And with a very insular military dictatorship in charge, how would daily life be for both locals and tourists. It is a combination of all these questions that had Burma at the top of my countries to visit (now I have been to ... read more
Shwedagon Paya-15
Shwedagon Paya-10
Shwedagon Paya-22

Asia » Cambodia » North » Battambang March 24th 2010

Our last stop in Cambodia was the wholly unremarkable regions city of Battambang. I have to admit that I am not really sure why it is even on the tour itinerary, as it doesn't even shorten the drive to Bangkok all that much. The thing that I found most interesting about the town was that it is so far off the tourist trail that everything in the shops is quotes in Cambodian Riels rather than in U.S. Dollars, as it is everywhere else in the country. Apart from that, there is a river that runs through town that is flanked by what are purported to be interesting French architecture buildings, but any vestiges that still remain are well and truly camouflaged by masses of electrical cable, satellite dishes and billboards. On the drive in we stopped ... read more
Oxygen water
A lot of dried fish
Fish Amok

Asia » Cambodia » North » Angkor March 21st 2010

If I am being completely honest, if it were not for the existence of Angkor, I would not be in South East Asia, with the exception of Burma. Although it is not a good thing, I have never really had an interest in visiting this part of the world, but Angkor is one of those places that I had heard everybody rave about and I have been drawn here for years. I have been very pleasantly surprised by Vietnam and Cambodia and so without Angkor, at the end of my trip I will still be glad that I came and visited this part of Asia. But even so, there I came here with a whole lot of expectations and I could only hope that it would live up to them. As a bit of background for ... read more
Pray for Mojo
Angkor Wat

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