The final frontier
14.08.2011 - 16.12.2012 22 °C
We’re in the business class lounge in Delhi and the ‘final frontier’ will be at Heathrow airport later today. It‘s hard for us to believe that it’s time to go home. We have realised that returning to the UK will be a culture shock of its own because we have now grown used to a very different way of life. This whole experience has changed us both and it feels like nothing can be the same as it was before, but that’s why we wanted to do this trip in the first place – to shake things up a bit! When we consider some of the things that we’ve done, maybe that shouldn’t surprise us!
Over the last 16 months we have:
walked with penguins / gasped for breath at 5000m / used 14 currencies / visited 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites / swam with dolphins / looked down on a city in the clouds / walked on a causeway built for a Khmer king / slept in hotels, hostels, B & B’s, boats, a floating house, a tent, a prison(now a hotel!), a jungle hut and a camper van / learnt to speak a bit more Spanish / followed parading demons to celebrate Diwali / watched the sun go down over the dormant, water bound dragon of Ha Long Bay / climbed a canyon / counted our blessings / got lost in the corridors, courtyards and towers of Rajasthan forts / bathed in thermal springs in four countries / travelled over 67,000 miles / decided that Asian aubergines are our favourite vegetable / bought petrol in a Bicardi bottle / had our haircut in 8 countries / walked on deserted beaches / played bingo, in Spanish, on a bus at midnight / watched the trading at a floating market /swapped stories with the locals / seen a glimpse of the ever shy Kiwi / eaten the best steak in the world – ever / watched ‘moon bears’ hunt for their honey / learnt to bargain / entered a golden temple floating on its own ‘pool of nectar’ / discovered that Southeast Asians make great sausages / travelled on trains, planes, trucks, buses, bicycles, boats, mopeds, tuk tuks, skis, canoes, horses and an elephant / sampled wine in four countries / kept a look out for saltwater crocodiles / collected ‘too many’ beautiful shells / relaxed into backwater life on a houseboat built for two / travelled the equivalent of 2.7 times round the world / looked into the devil’s mouth / developed an addiction to hotel giveaways / cheered like locals as the gates slammed shut at the border / watched Argentinians dance the ‘vertical expression of horizontal desire’ / fallen in love with tuk tuks /bathed an elephant / been dwarfed by fjords / imagined that Tofino really is the end of the world / asked for the curry to be ‘indian spicey’ / paddled down rivers, rapids and streams and across lakes and reservoirs / taken over two hours to choose a cashmere throw / shared the back of a tuk tuk with a bag of live frogs, ready for the pot / watched as the hidden heat from the earth’s centre made mud boil on the surface / learnt to ride a moped / discovered that a mushroom tikka masala beats the meat version hands down / survived the roads of Vietnam / been 3ft away from a one horned rhino and her calf / realised that the things that makes us happy now are not the same as before / read hundreds of reviews / tried to explain the complexities of the English language to Lao youngsters / taken over 10,000 photos / scared ourselves just enough on the piste / rediscovered the joy of buying food in a market / used 13 bottles of mosquito repellent / wondered if we would make it through the snow storm to catch our ferry / learnt to cook the staple dishes of three Asian countries / marvelled at the intricate designs produced by Laos hand weavers / longed for cheese / seen and heard, up close, of man’s inhumanity to man / traded stories with other travellers / taken the plunge / impressed Nepalese children with our ‘pasta and tomato sauce’ / watched from the steps of the ‘burning ghat’ as the dead began their ‘final journey’ / lost three stone between us / been granted entry to a forbidden city / travelled for 490 days /watched the sunset over a desert / bought lots of presents and wanted to buy more but the rucksack was full / had only one regret – for the places we couldn’t find time to visit / ridden on an elephant at dawn through a deer filled jungle / strolled among the vines of some world famous vineyards / been challenged / waded across a flooded amazon river / been pushed, pummelled and prodded by expert massaging hands / had clothes ‘made to measure’ / battled with Indian bureaucracy / not missed 39 East Park Farm Drive, at all / slept in the blue city / posted home six boxes of goodies / eaten street food with the locals / been welcomed at places of worship sacred to Catholics, Sikhs, Anglicans, Buddhists, Hindus, Jains, and Animists / ridden on the world’s longest cable car / been inspired / performed yoga poses - before breakfast / given in to giant balloon sellers / taken a dip in the Mediterranean, Tasman, South China, Andaman and Arabian Seas, in the South Atlantic and South Pacific Oceans and in the Gulf of Thailand / bought too many shawls, scarves and throws – ‘you’ll never wear them all’ / seen the Indian justice system in action / become experts at packing / written 80 blog entries / waited on a platform at dawn and inhaled the smell of a steam train / tried and failed to capture hummingbirds on film / been stunned into silence by the world’s greatest monument to love ………………..
but we never did learn how to play backgammon!
So the odyssey comes to an end. We already have a list of places we want to visit next time!
See you on the ice.
Carlos and Lisa