where i've been...

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Monday, May 25, 2009


The rundown on Thailand...
it is hot.
it is humid.
there are mosquitoes that love me.
i itch.
we are currently on the island where they filmed the movie "the beach"
(no leonardo dicaprio here)
went diving yesterday...saw a hawksbill turtle. AWESOME.
the beer is good.
the company is very entertaining.
the food is delicious.
the tourists outnumber the locals where we are at least 10 to 1. (insert sad face here...but it is a vacation for Kevin and David, so it is perfect for them)
the internet is ridiculously overpriced. in fact, i could have eated breakfast and a snack for what i am paying to write this riduculously short update. :)

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I'm an idiot. Yes, time changed, but now I'm actually 14 hours ahead of you all.
Next time I should philosophize about sleep, not time. And maybe the effects a lack of sleep have on a (usually) intelligent individual who (for obvious reasons of embarassment) will remain nameless.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

an important day

Today not only marks me hitting my coverage of 18% of countires in the world as I enter Thailand, but it also marks a pretty pivitol point in my journey as far as I see it. Today, I actually moved CLOSER to being back on California time. I have spent the past 7 months slowly moving away from California time...inching my way eastbound across this little planet of ours. Except for my little jaunt in Australia and then backtracking to India, I have always been moving more or less east, and thereby gaining hours (and of course worldly knowledge of the "future") ahead of all of you back home. India was 12.5 hours ahead of Cali, and Nepal (just to be different from India) was 12.75 hours ahead. More than a half of a day. You were sleeping, I was getting up. I was going to bed, you were just starting the day I was drifting off to sleep reflecting upon.
But today I moved closer to all of you back home. I am now 11 hours ahead of you...and will only get closer and closer to catching back up. I guess to me it signifies that, although I still have some months left, my grand adventure is starting to wrap itself up.
Time. It's a weird thing. Sometimes it passes so slowly you think you will never escape your current situation. Othertimes it flies by so quickly you aren't really sure where it went at all but you would do almost anything if you could just stretch it out and make it last a little longer.
For all of you reading this is the morning, don't worry...today turns out to be a good one. :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

kayaking and thinking

My kayaking trip was amazing. I finally figured out how to roll in a kayak, so when I capsize (in white water or flat...let's be honest) I can roll back up instead of pulling myself out and swimming to shore. I was so happy. Unfortunately, no pain, no gain and the backrest in the kayak kept sliding down. I didn't want to complain (I tend to be a big baby) but I was leaning on the metal clamp when I rolled, which, after a day, felt like I might have a little cut there. When we got out to camp that night I checked my right hip, only to find a fist-sized bruise there. Ouch! The guys fixed my kayak (duct tape truly can fix anything) and aside from not being exactly bikini-ready with this massive hematoma, I'm fine.
It was wonderful to spend so much time outdoors in Nepal. I think I had forgotten how much I need that.
Coming back to India was intense. After serene Nepal, I had almost forgotten the chaos that is India. We headed for Varanassi, the holy city on the Ganges. You can easily identify the tourists who are taking pictures while carefully not touching the water and the Indians who are bathing, washing, and even having swimming lessons in it. All within meters of some of the burning ghats where the cremations are happening.
And now we are on a train, back to Mumbai. Currently we are 21 hours in with hopefully 7 hours to go. We are in the ac car, which is nice and we have sleeper seats, middle bunks and have been laying down the whole way because the seats are too shallow to sit up on. On some level I have an entirely new appreciation for the middle passage. The good news is, I've been able to catch up on a lot of sleep.

Tomorrow we will leave India and head to Thailand. I don't know what to expect from SE Asia because it is a part of the world I've not yet explored at all. I'm excited (and my brother and David are coming...yipee!) but am still trying to process so much about India in particular. You just can't come to India without really pondering the tragedies and injustices of life, and especially as a westerner, how privileged you are. I have seen so many things and somehow I am often paralyzed by not knowing how to truly help people and especially children. Somedays I feel like I have so little (and by western standards I probably do). A depleted bank account, an upside down condo, a mortgage I can't escape from, no car, blah blah blah. But here, in comparison, I have so much. I'm not wondering if I can afford food, water, or clothes. I have a job to go home to. I choose which of my 3 pairs of shoes I want to wear depending on the purpose of my day, and which will be most functional. I guess I just am scared to forget, not just what I have seen, but what I have felt in these past months. When you are comfortable, it is easy to not remember those things that make you uncomfortable.

Friday, May 8, 2009

A little more of an explanation

Well, now that I have had a decent night's sleep to recover and a good day out of the Phewa Lake learning (or attempting to learn) how to river kayak, I have a few minutes to explain my last adventure before heading off tomorrow morning at 6:30am to start the next one. This is definitely a great spot to come and play...as if I hadn't mentioned that before!

So we started our six day trek in the Annapurna mountains with the intentions of doing a circuit (loop). Not too strenuous, but a good 5 hours of hiking a day through foresty-jungle and up and down mountainsides. Well...the locals won't actually call them mountains unless they are over 5,000 meters, so I should really say "hills".

We did a semi-leisurely hike the first day and got to a little tea house just before the rains came in and thunder and lightning and heavy rain on little tin roofs pounded at us all night long. That is where I met a few British trekkers who were coming down from a different route, the one that goes up to Annapurna Base Camp, or ABC. Usually it takes much more than six days, mostly because people are not insane, take their time, and stop more often. They do this to a)enjoy the scenery and the great little towns and b)acclimatize because base camp is so high up and c)they are not overly-ambitious Annette.

So while Rahima was sleeping, I got some altitude drugs from one of the girls (who obviously didn't need it anymore) and planned our new route: to do in 5 days what most do in 8-10. Rahima, being the amazing friend that she is, knew how much the idea of "getting to the top" really inspired me, so despite her concerns that we had NOT prepared for this as far as gear and clothing were concerned (we're talking 90+ degrees at the bottom of this trek, and literally freezing at the top), she let me run with it.

It was hard. Hard. Rahima is like the mountain goat/pack mule of hiking. She sees uphill and puts on the turbo-boosters. I have hiked with her enough to know this. But somehow it never ceases to amaze me. She is just the little engine that could, and the only living thing that actually GAINS speed while going uphill. I, on the other hand, make it. I'm not saying it's pretty...but I get there.

Most of the time we had beautiful views, blue skies and cooler weather as we got higher up (yeah for me, bad for Rahima). We did get rained and subsequently hailed on as well at times. Not as fun. And who knew that ladybugs, yes ladybugs, live by the billions all the way up to 4100meters?!?! They were absolutely everywhere.

So going up was great...but coming down (end of day 4) either something I ate or drank caught up with me a bit and let's just say thank goodness for Immodium, and we'll leave it at that. :)

Met some really cool people along the way, and saw porters (both local and for tourists) carrying the most amazing loads and running both up and down the hills I was struggling with. And even more amazing than that...they oftentimes are doing it in rubber sandals and flip-flops!

I have so much more to say, but my time is up and I am starving...so I'm gonna run for now, but I'll be back in three days with some (hopefully) good white water kayaking stories.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

made it!

Just a quick note to let you all know that we made it up to Annapurna Base Camp (not our original trekking route...but well worth the change) at 4130 meters.

We also made it back down. :)

More later...