Three weeks in Timor Leste
Wednesday 2 July 2014 - Wednesday 23 July 2014 32 °C
Our Journey to Oz
Three weeks in Timor Leste
Wednesday 2 July 2014 - Wednesday 23 July 2014 32 °C
Climbing Mt Bromo and Ijen Crater
Wednesday 18 June 2014 - Monday 21 July 2014 5 °C
Celebrating Gawai Dayak with the Iban.
Saturday 31 May 2014 - Sunday 1 June 2014 29 °C
Saturday 3 May 2014 - Friday 6 June 2014 33 °C
Monday 14 April 2014 - Monday 14 April 2014 30 °C
‘It’s more fun in the Philippines!’
Friday 4 April 2014 - Saturday 3 May 2014
Island hopping in the Andaman Sea
Monday 3 March 2014 - Monday 24 March 2014 32 °C
Saturday 22 February 2014 - Tuesday 25 February 2014 32 °C
With six months under our belts we have learned new routines to make our lives flow. Simply, travelling like this is not one long holiday; instead it requires constant work and consequently we take on specific roles just like we do at home but instead our chores are generally more enjoyable. We still have to do laundry, manage the accounts and do the shopping but booking guesthouses, deciding routes and researching restaurants is infinitely more fun than day to day life at home.
Living out of a single bag takes a bit of planning too, especially if you are used to a large wardrobe and choice of Jo Malone fragrances, but again a routine sets in. Packing the bag gets easier and more efficient (despite our over-packing at the start), each taking responsibility for different shared items of luggage. In short, we have become slick travellers, able to pack up and move on at short notice and with minimal stress.
This anniversary was also the day we knew that we had to return home – something that we both had hoped would never happen.
Even with such a short flying visit to the UK it was always going to interrupt these routines. The shock of the cold in Manchester was a rude awakening and burst the self-absorbed bubble we had been inside for months. Seeing family and friends again was lovely, we both laughed and cried in equal measure.
We returned to Bangkok a little over a week ago and needless to say it’s been noticeable that we’ve been away from travelling. Gone was any sense of restraint and we have both enjoyed all the nightlife that Bangkok has to offer. Expensive restaurants, rooftop bars, loud music and at least one all-nighter until 8am. We slept by day and partied by night. We broke the budget every day.
After four (days and) nights we were tired, so we extended our stay in our Bangkok hotel and vowed to actually see some sights.
As I write this post, we’re sat on a train trundling back into Bangkok after a day visiting Ayutthaya, the ancient capital. With centuries-old crumbling ruins and temples full of the chanting devoted, it hasn’t a patch on Angkor but reminds me of what we left behind just three short weeks ago. I’m smiling because I’m reminded of the reason why we travel and I begin to notice those little idiosyncrasies that make this adventure so much fun; the relentless dust and heat, the taxis coloured the same as Refreshers, the odd fact that everybody wears skinny jeans with flip-flops.
I’m glad to be back on a train, sat in third class next to an open window with all the dust and smoke from the shacks hugging the train line filling the carriage. I’m glad that we have booked another train journey for tomorrow and the day after. It means we’re getting back into the swing of things...
U can’t touch this.
Monday 13 January 2014 - Sunday 19 January 2014 32 °C
We’ve got stars directing our fate…
Tuesday 24 December 2013 - Tuesday 31 December 2013 30 °C
For those of you paying attention (and doing the maths) I should point out that we didn’t go to Victory Beach (the description that it ‘looked out over Sihanoukville port’ put us off) or Hawaii beach as it is the ‘bridge head for the new Techo Morakot Bridge’. They may be as lovely as the others we visited but I doubt that.
Thursday 12 December 2013 - Thursday 12 December 2013 31 °C
My first taste of a horny, long haired cow.
Wednesday 25 September 2013 - Thursday 7 November 2013 26 °C
I expected my Mongolia diet to have dishes containing one of these
some of these
(Goats and Sheep)
and maybe one or t'other of these
(Mongolian Prezwalski Horse)
But the only recipe I managed to write down from our three weeks camping in the wilderness is as follows:
Tsuiwan (pronounced towen)
Diced smoked pork sausage
Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the onion, carrot, peppers and swede and gentle cook until softened.
Add a pinch of salt, dill and sausage, add more salt and stir.
Cook for 4 minutes, then add a little water to cover the vegetables, then add the potatoes and cabbage,
do not stir, but leave to steam with a lid on for 10 minutes.
Once the potatoes have cooked, stir in the paprika and pasta chopped into small pieces and cook for for further 4-5 minutes.
Serve with bread.
It was filling and tasty, but every meal was a variant of this, you just substitute the pasta with white rice or buck wheat. The only time we didn't eat it was when I prepared a fresh tomato pasta sauce with boiled eggs & Mongolian tinned sausage
(it was supposed to be with tuna, but that was hard to find)
We did get to taste a nomad father's deer leg and potatoes late one night though...
It wasn't until I'd travelled through Mongolia, Beijing, Northern China to Shanghai, Hong Kong and
back into Central China that I found a restaurant in Jiuzhaigou (albeit Tibetan) that served me these
(Potato & Yak Cake)
(Tibetan Bean & Yak Soup)
and more recently in Dali I had a Yak steak burger n fries
Yak is tender and juicy and I recommend it to all.
Well what can I say...I'm sure we've all eaten in a Chinese restaurant, ordered a Chinese take away or cooked some Chinese food at some point in our lives. Even if you think you haven't, did you know that...radishes and spring onions originated in China? and who doesn't like a nice cuppa tea...
While we're on that subject - I unintentionally brought tea to China!
I left London on 1st August with a few loose tea bags that I didn't want to throw away, I fully expected to have drank all of these as I travelled through Russian and Mongolia, expecting to taste the wonderful array of teas in China, but I still have some of the original tea bags with me in Vietnam - I can't go anywhere without a guarantee of tea!
So what did I eat? To begin with, I thought it will be all chicken feet and fish heads, and yes, there were those delights on the menu almost everywhere you went, but I don't think you want to see me eating this
(Xingping - live fish, snails, eels and bags of frogs) - (Hong Kong - cooked chicken and squid)
(Bus stop on the way to Jiuzhaigou - various meat drying in the sun)
(Beijing - things on sticks ready to cook)
(Tongli - bits of pigs)
(Hong Kong night market - fresh seafood)
I want to show you the things that I bet you've never seen on a Chinese menu...like...
(Pingyao - Moon Cakes)
(Jianshui - purple rice puddings)
(Hong Kong - Turtle Pudding - not made with real turtles)
(Hangzhou, Grandma's Kitchen - purple potato juice)
(Dazhai Village - Rice and peanuts cooked in bamboo)
(Dali - Grandma Potato)
(Dali - Local grilled cheese - tastes like a cross between halloumi and goats)
There are more photos on my blog page...http://stuartandneil.travellerspoint.com/author/609173/
I started this Adventure saying that I would try anything that the local people eat, but I've realised that I don't need to eat the food (especially if it doesn't look as though it will do you any good) to know what it tastes like. Thanks to Parmy who says that chicken feet are a bit nibbly and Stuart who says that yak milk curd tastes like very strong parmesan and fermented horses milk is bad yogurt.
We've just entered Vietnam, renowned for eating deep fried insects - I'm the sort of person who is bitten by every insect going, whether they have the organs to bite or not, so I'll relish in devouring some of those little critters...
photo evidence will be posted here in due course.
I've been likened to many people in my life
Simon Pegg - London 2001+, almost everywhere following the series' of Spaced
Bruce Willis - Mongolia 2013 by our tour guide Zaya
Wayne Rooney - Chinese lunch stop 2013, those coach drivers need to drink more water with it!
anyway, you decide
Yes, the beard is still with us, I think it's growing on Stuart...not literally!
Thank you for reading.
p.s. Well done to a Mrs Trellis from North Wales for correctly identifying the Russian outlets of western food chains in my last post. http://stuartandneil.travellerspoint.com/5/
Some hints and tips for travelling in China
Friday 13 September 2013 - Wednesday 6 November 2013 28 °C
Saturday 19 October 2013 - Saturday 19 October 2013 14 °C
Neil and the little Giant Panda
Stuart and the little Giant Panda
Friday 13 September 2013 - Friday 18 October 2013 12 °C