Tag Archive | vietnam

The (B) itch is back! (sorry Elton)

As you can see I have not written for some time. I was recovering from my foot injury (which seemed to take forever) and then once I could walk normally again juggling with various travel destinations in my head, and possible courses of action. It’s not that I don’t enjoy life in our new home (Kfar Saba) – actually it’s great- clean, green, small enough to walk around but not so small that it is boring. There are tons of cultural events on here all the time and if we want to pop over to Tel Aviv for music, drinking, theatre etc, it’s only 30 minutes away. But as a travel- obsessed individual, the travel itch is never far from the surface of my skin. So I am constantly scanning  Dave’s   or the Esl Teachers Board and looking into various volunteering websites to plan our next getaway. I discovered that most volunteering sites demand a TON of money to get you a position, and often it doesn’t include flights, and usually just very basic accommodation, which in any case in those locations is dirt cheap (Vietnam, Myanmar, Central and South America).Also, most volunteering websites seem to be geared to very young gap year travellers, and not so many grey nomads, so I don’t know if it would really be appropriate for us to go on one of those things. So then I thought why shouldn’t I just go somewhere that we fancy,  and if we get a volunteering opportunity whilst we are there, then good, and if not we will just hang out. We often travel using Couchsurfing or Servas , since we don’t really enjoy staying in expensive hotels, and we prefer to meet locals and hang out with them.

I have mentioned Servas before- I think it’s an amazing way to travel if you have time. It’s so much more interesting than being a tourist, to spend time in the company of a local who can tell you so much more about a place than the guide book.

So I can’t exactly explain how this happened. I juggled more and more destinations in my head. Realizing that we have seen a lot of Asia and Europe but having  never been to Central or South America, three places kept popping into my mind: Costa Rica, Panama and Mexico. I know that technically Mexico is North America, but everyone thinks it isn’t. Anyhow I went to hear a lecture on Costa Rica and far from convincing me to go there, it put me off. I am not sure how this happened, ( maybe it was the pictures of the huge spiders and the swaying jungle rope bridges in the Cloud Forest) but when I see a lot of pictures of a place it either turns me on or off. Somehow, the latter occurred. But Mexico suddenly became a more attractive destination and as I started reading about it, it became more so- beaches, delicious food, Maya and Aztec sites, colonial architecture, cheap and accessible.  We initially thought to combine it with North America, but as often happens with me less seems better than more. I don’t want to gallop around the places on my itinerary I want to “hang around” in them for a long time and get to know them. So Mexico it is! Booked for February and planned to take about 6 weeks, to do it at a leisurely pace. So we will fly into the Yucatan peninsula, and work our way south through Chiapas and then fly out of Mexico City. I already have about 5 Servas hosts scattered around. And otherwise guest houses or Air BnB look to be about $20. Stay tuned for trip report on our return!

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here we are again- thoughts of a travelholic

Well now we are back from our amazing trip to Cambodia and Vietnam,guess what the crazy piglet is up to? Yes you guessed it ,dreaming of her next destination. It’s called travelmania, itchy feet and various other derogatory terms.

Anyhow, to anybody interested in my trip account, this is not the place; you can drop by  my virtual tourist page where you will find all the details and pictures.

However what I can say is  that I am in love with Asia. This is definitely partly because it is so different from Europe. But it also has to do with the fact that the travelling there is so cheap, and everything we see there makes us gasp with wonder. Even the madhouse that is Saigon was entrancing. Standing trying to cross the busy roads clogged with motorbikes and feeling like a 3 year old when a kindly Vietnamese comes to help you across is great.

Eating Fish Amok in Phnom Penh Russian market was unforgettable. And standing under an umbrella in the pouring monsoon rains in Angkor Wat to gaze up at the apsara carvings on the temple was wonderful.And having a bee fly up my pants as I cling to the guide on the back of a motorbike,as we bounce down a dirt track on the way to Tonle Sap lake in Cambodia, I will not forget that in a hurry either.

Can’t even go into all the other amazing experiences we had there. But, as usual, it is like scratching the travel itch for me, it just made me scream out “more more, I’m still not satisfied”!It’s not just the sights ,smells and tastes which intrigue me either. The people are so different at first glance, and then just like us ,when it comes down to one on one experiences.You pant up the steps in a temple in 35 degrees heat and then smile at someone else doing the same thing,and your shared wordless experience gives you a thrill.Or you smile at someone’s baby in a crowded market and you have an instant bond,if only for a fleeting instant.In Europe you tend to hire a car, and then hubby has to deal with the driving and I do the navigation. End result, hubby doesn’t get to see the view, while I am ooh-ing and ah-ing. Food and sleeps in Europe are expensive,and  you are just one of the hoard of other tourists traipsing around Italy, the UK, Greece,wherever. And if it’s France, you are a stupid foreigner…But in Asia, first of all you are a curiosity to be gaped at and photographed,and especially smiled and nodded at.

So where to next? Probably the Canary Island of Gran Canaria for Hanuka break because it’s the only European destination I can find which isn’t going to be freezing cold.I know it’s 2 flights to get there but after 3 flights each way to Cambodia and back that’s a cinch for us. Gran Canaria looks to have varied landscapes and easy to get around by rented car. Hope it won’t be prohibitively expensive (god I hate the Euro!)Beloved Asia will have to wait till next year. No point in going to China,  Japan or Korea for a week, right?

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