Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Some history & the plan

Mason and I met in Jan. 2008 as we stood in line in the sweltering Bahamian sun, waiting to board the MV Explorer, Semester at Sea's floating campus and our home for the next four months. On Jan. 28, 2010 we will reunite after 2 years (almost to the day), when we meet up at the Seoul airport. From Seoul we will board a flight to Bangkok, Thailand where we will commence a 2.5 month tour through Asia. (I am hoping it will not be a wheelchair tour of Asia as Mason is currently getting her knee scanned in an MRI!)

Upon arrival in Bangkok we hope to a. Catch up on sleep in a cute guest house, b. Get a Thai massage, c. Scramble to obtain visas for and flights to the other countries we will visit!

Even though we haven't seen each other in quite some time (other than on Skype and Mason & Evan's quick but memorable visit to Lewisburg, PA), we are pretty confident that our time on SAS proved our traveling compatibility. At least we know our priorities are aligned: eat ice cream in every country, take lots of pictures with our newly equipped Nikon dSLRs, and laugh our way through any situation.

Above is a photo of us at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, China - eating ice cream and still laughing about a certain culturally-specific potty-training technique that the Chinese employ with their toddlers: the ass-less pants.

You'll also notice that in both of these photos we are dressed almost identically. We noticed early on in the Semester at Sea (SAS) voyage that we happened to pack many of the same items (including the very handy j.crew skirt/dresses that transition from temple to beach quite seamlessly!). In the photo at top we are wearing them as dresses in Langkawi, Malaysia.

I think we will try to bring a little more variety to our outfits this go-around.

After a few days of recuperation in Bangkok we hope to catch a flight to Dhaka, Bangladesh to partake in a training program with the Grameen Bank. The Grameen Bank was founded by Muhammad Yunus in order to provide micro-loans to poverty-stricken Bangladeshis. Now Grameen programs (and programs based on the Grameen model) are in place all over the world.

From there we will hop over to Nepal for a few weeks of adventure, and hopefully a sighting of Mt. Everest! (Or if we feel up to it we'll try to beat the world record and summit Everest in less than 8 hours. Wish us luck.) I am really looking forward to Nepal as I have gained a lot of insight about the country from my coworkers here at the American Himalayan Foundation.

After Nepal we will return to Bangkok to begin a round-trip tour through Northern Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Southern Thailand, flying out of Bangkok in mid-April.

One of the main reasons Mason and I chose to return to this region of the world was that neither of us were able to visit Cambodia during SAS due to lack of space on the field excursions from Vietnam.

One our way home we will spend a few days back in Seoul, South Korea (4 for me, 10 for Mason). Mason spent the last year teaching English to youngsters in Seoul so she knows the ropes on that one. (And I think she has every meal and outing planned out for me!)

This is a brief overview of our itinerary, more to come...

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