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Archive for the ‘Egypt’ Category

6/22/10: Cairo, Egypt

Another one of those lasts reared its ugly head today: last day in a non-English speaking, undeveloped country. I only suppose it was fitting that today really tested us in pretty much every aspect of world travel. Let me break down today’s post into categories:

  1. Sleeping in uncomfortable, moving objects
  2. Finding our cheap accommodation
  3. Staying in touch
  4. Negotiating for gifts
  5. Eating foreign foods
  6. Side effects of cheap accommodation

1) Sleeping in uncomfortable, moving objects: In this case, trains. I loved the train ride from Cairo to Luxor, but it appears that they only make that one nice in order to get you to take the train back as well. This one was awful! We only received half-dinners (whereas everyone else around us received the full, delicious smorgasbord), our window wouldn’t close and they washed the outside of it without realizing they were splashing us, our sink hardly worked, and worst of all, the conductor must have been racing Gay Focker in Meet the Parents. Stop, start, stop, start – all throughout the night, waking me from my pleasant sleep.

2) Finding our cheap accommodation: Upon arrival in Cairo, we had our directions to the hostel and I was confident we wouldn’t get lost. Rookie mistake! We stepped out of the station and simply needed to head toward the Hussein Mosque on Azhar street, make a left on Mansouria, make a left on El Aded and we’d be at the hostel. Zhou was still a little groggy (read: grouchy) from the sleepless night before, so this one was on me. I wound up asking over 20 different people – this is no exaggeration – before finding our place. It wound up taking 45 minutes, one cigarette burn on my foot (yes, someone flicked their ash out the car window as I tried to dodge getting swiped by their sideview mirror) and nearly my entire body weight in sweat, but we finally made it. When we entered the hostel and told the guy we had walked from the subway station (as they had said to do on their website), he replied, “Wow! There’s no way I’d ever make that walk myself!”

The view from our hostel's roof.

3) Staying in touch: First step: buy postcards. Second step: write postcards. Third step: mail postcards. Today we tried to mail our postcards. This is actually a rather long story, but in summary we had to go to two different post offices, talk to six different people, overpay, and we still didn’t get to send our postcard to Peru because we didn’t trust that it would get there. Those of you who do actually receive a postcard from Egypt, know that you are lucky to get it. Those of you who don’t, it probably got lost in the mail.

4) Negotiating for gifts: We headed back to Khan El-Khalili, the famous Cairo market, to buy a couple gifts. I can’t say what we were haggling here, but I can say that I’d thought I’d heard every merchant negotiating technique over the past year. Nope. This guy surprised us both by saying if money was a problem, we could have the items for free, as long as we took with us his friendship. What? Zhou, back in her usual role of negotiator, didn’t know what to make of this. I was thinking we’d be able to get these for 50 or 60 EGP, but this comment so flustered us that we let our guard down. We wound up paying 80 EGP, which turned out to be so much that he even threw in a small gift for our generosity. Fortunately, from here on out there is no more haggling.

5) Eating foreign foods: “Have you tried koshari?” No, we hadn’t. Without even asking for explanation of what it was, we were both in. We wound up with a large bowl of mostly recognizable food, but all mashed together in a way we’d never seen before. It was like the three cheese heart attack bowl at KFC, only this one contained macaroni, rice, chickpeas, lots of sauce, corn, onion, weird black balls, and a bunch of random spices, and it was served to us in what looked like a tub for butter. It was actually quite delicious.

6) Side effects of cheap accommodation: Actually, we didn’t book the cheapest accommodation – that one didn’t have air conditioning. We splurged on Arabian Nights Hotel for about $18. We were amazed when we arrived in the room that it had towels, a TV, a fan, an attached bathroom, a refrigerator, a closet, two nightstands, a table, a couple chairs – the list of rare luxuries kept going on and on. The problem? Nothing worked! Ok, the tables and chairs worked, but that was about it. Wifi? Broken. TV? No channels. A/C? Blew hot air 50% of the time. Fan? Out of order. Beds? It felt like we were sleeping directly on its springs. “Aww moment:” at least we had each other.

So that’s it: our lasting memory of the crazy, never-know-what-you’ll-get life we’ve been living for the majority of the past ten months. I sure will miss it.
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Picture of the Day: Satellite dishes here are more popular than fast food dishes in the United States.

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Ahhhhh…

6/20/10: Nile River, Egypt

Ahhhhh…

That’s the sound I make each time we come step foot onto our lovely boat. Here’s the first thing I do when we get back into our cabin:

I'm not dead, just motionless and speechless until my organs re-form from the mush they've dissolved into.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, we’re loving the cruise. Not only does it give us a chance to get out of the heat, we can actually do things inside. Our last hostel that we stayed at had “air conditioning,” but the walls let in so much heat that we couldn’t do anything in our rooms (except nap) without sweating (I did a lot of napping).

Almost all Nile cruises boats bill themselves as a “five-star cruise” and ours is no exception. This greatly confuses me. Firstly, who’s giving out the stars? Is there some kind of association that goes around looking at all the boats and then gives them a rating? If so, who is it, and are they trustworthy? Secondly, if they’re all five-star cruises, why are some of them ten times more expensive than others? Thirdly, is this the same system as hotel ratings? Actually, scratch that, I know the answer to that last question. It can’t be. Granted I’ve never stayed at a five-star hotel, but I’ve seen pictures, and I’m pretty sure our boat wouldn’t match up. Don’t get me wrong – I love our boat – it’s clean and comfortable, our cabin is awesome (clean towels! clean sheets! our own bathroom and shower! a closet! a TV!), there’s comfy lounge chairs and a pool on the sun deck and we eat three buffet meals every day. It’s not the Ritz, but it’s at least a very good Holiday Inn.

Our usual table is extra-large to accommodate the number of plates Kevin brings back from the buffet.

The aforementioned lounge chairs.

The “GAMEROOM.”

What’s funny about the boat is that everything is in German. We’re pretty sure this boat is affiliated with a German hotel chain. So this means all the written announcements about activities are in German, the books and magazines are in German and all the board games are even in German. Everyone else was also part of a tour group with a tour guide, so we were the only ones without a set schedule. This was nice most of the time – we could stay in our cabin all day if we wanted to. (I don’t think I stepped foot outside the first day.) The only problem with not having any idea what was going on was that we didn’t know what time meals were, what time any of the shows were (or if there were any shows at all). We usually figured it out though.

Even with just a few short days on the cruise, we’ve fallen into a routine. Breakfast around 9. The morning is spent seeing temples (if there are any), writing (Kevin), napping (me) or playing Scrabble. Then it’s time for lunch around 12:30. After lunch, we would repeat the morning’s activities, except we’d add in sun deck/pool time. Then dinner, time to relax and in bed early for the next day.

A routine is one of the things that we crave on the road that we don’t usually get. It’s partly because we don’t spend enough time in one place to get into a rhythm, and even when we do stay in one place for more than four or five days, there are so many day trips and excursions that it’s impossible to start each day off the same way. But now that our trip is coming to an end, I’m starting to realize that there’s something really exciting about waking up and knowing that this day is going to be different from all the other days that came before it. And that’s something I’ll definitely miss when we get home.
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Picture of the Day: Truck…ATM?

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6/19/10: Nile River, Egypt

I’ve never been hotter than I was today. I was taking a short nap on the top deck of our boat, and I woke up to find half of me had turned into a puddle that not even my beach towel could soak up. There was actually sweat accumulating on the towel to the point where you could float a rubber ducky on top of it. Here’s what Zhou had to say about it as we walked to the Kom Ombo Temple at 2:30 in the afternoon.

Z: “I’m melting.”
Z: “No seriously, I am.”
Z: “If you touch me you will spontaneously combust.”
Z: “DON’T touch me!”
Z: “I hate you, sun.”
Z: “I hate you too, breeze. You’re hot, you’re evil and you’re conniving and I hate you.”
Z: “I think my sweat is boiling.”
Z: “I think my toes are about to fall off.”
Z: “I can’t believe you talked me in to coming out here.”
Z: “Don’t take any pictures of me unless you want to die.”

I felt like the paparazzi trying to get a picture of sweaty Zhou.

Ha! Got one!

And really, I couldn’t blame her. The temperature was higher than Ricky Williams on a Saturday night. It was so hot that the shade offered no reprieve. The heat had infiltrated everywhere – it wasn’t just the direct rays from the sun that would get you. If being out in the sun was like being in an oven, then being in the shade was like being in the same oven with an umbrella over you. I estimated the temperature to be 924 degrees. At that point you don’t even need to qualify it with Fahrenheit or Celsius.

Usually when you walk into a cool room after being out in the heat, the cool air feels even colder. It could be normal room temperature, but it feels like a refrigerator from Heaven. Yeah, that’s a good feeling, one that we weren’t able to enjoy. We stayed out looking at the temple for about half an hour, but when we walked back into our room with the AC on full, and we still felt like we were being microwaved by the Egyptian god of heat. Here’s my theory:

In a normal summer heat, only your skin gets hot. It makes you sweat and want to eat ice cream, but it is only a surface heat. And surface heat is easily removed by a good air conditioner. In Egypt though, the heat actually penetrates deep into your body. It seeps in through your pores and warms everything. I bet if I gave blood after coming in from the outside that it would have melted the donor bag. No air conditioner on Earth can cool down a heat like that. The only remedy is time. If you’re an M&M, normal summer heat is your hand. You don’t melt because you’ve got that colorful outer shell. But Egypt summer heat is your mouth. You become this gooey, chocolatey (delicious) mess, heated through and through.

You know how Zhou said her toes were about to fall off? She wasn’t exaggerating – my toes felt like they were going to fall off too. I often looked down to make sure they were still there. At one point I was pretty sure that the devil had taken all ten toes and replaced them with burning coals, and then replaced the burning coals with balls of fire.

The weird thing is, I loved it. That’s why I went up on the deck after we had returned from the temple. I even convinced Zhou to come up and join me in the pool (yes, the same Zhou who had threatened my death earlier). Just as I loved the fact that it was snowing for the two days before we reached the Thorong La Pass in Nepal, I loved the heat here. It really gives me a feeling of authenticity, like I’m experiencing the real Nepal, the real Egypt.

We’re still heading further south toward the Equator, so heat, I’m ready for you. And audience, I’ll leave you with some pictures of the two temples we saw today.

Edfu Temple (in the background): it's huge.

It was still early in the morning, so the heat was manageable.

Kom Ombo: not as big, but still pretty darn interesting.

The heat was beginning to take its toll.

So artsy.

Ha! I snuck another picture of that elusive Zhou.

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Pictures of the Day: Of all possible times for a camera to run out of battery, mine did during Zhou’s Nubian dancing tonight. Yes, she was invited up during the show to dance with a stick balanced on her head with the guy below, and I didn’t get any pictures of it.

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6/18/10: Nile River, Egypt

[Editor’s note: I wanted to actually make the title relate to the post, but I couldn’t figure out a way to work it in. “Why didn’t you just change the title then?” you ask. Very astute question, dear reader. The answer is: I didn’t want to.]

Yesterday morning, we attempted to wake up at 5:45am in order to get to Karnak Temple as early as possible to avoid the sun as much as possible. Here’s what happened:

5:45AM
Z: bolts upright, shakes K awake Hey, it’s time to wake up.
K: Mmph…mmm…mmm…smacks lips, wipes drool from face
Z: You want to sleep another hour?
K: Mmm…so…tired…
Z: Ok, I’ll reset the alarm.
K: snore
6:47AM
K: realizes alarm is going off and Z is still asleep Hey, it’s almost seven. Wake up!
Z: Nooooooooooooo…
K: Don’t you want to go to the temple? If we go later it’ll be too hot.
Z: No…go…temple…tomorrow…
K: Ok…if that’s what you really want.

We then slept in until after 10. Hey, it was an accident. But wait! Today we successfully woke up and left our hostel at 6am for Karnak Temple.

Blending in.

The invisible man.

The reason we decided to get there so early was a) to avoid the heat and b) to avoid the crowds. We were successful on both fronts. I think I could get used to this waking up early stuff if it’s always going to be this cool in the mornings.

Sphinx...goats?

Good morning sunshine.

Ridiculously tall columns.

Here, have a seat.

Momma Zhou, Poppa Kevin and three future little Currys.

This obelisk is in good shape for its age.

Second try on the Gorillapod.

We spent an hour wandering around the temple – by the time we left around 7:30, crowds of tour groups were starting to arrive and the day was getting much warmer. Luckily for us, guess what the next thing was on our itinerary for the day?

The Nile Style.

Embarking on our cruise boat! We hadn’t planned on doing a cruise since it would be way over our budget, but when we found a good deal on a three-day trip to Aswan, we jumped on it. Air conditioning, buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner, our own shower, nice towels, and oh, did I mention AIR CONDITIONING? It’s funny, because I never really thought of myself as high-maintenance before this, but I’m realizing that I really am. I’m the same person who spent seven weeks camping in Africa, went trekking without a change of pants for eighteen days in Nepal, slept many nights in various airports, spent several (extremely) uncomfortable nights on buses, etc. and all of that was bearable. But turn the thermostat up to 110 degrees, and I wilt. Physically and mentally. So now you know the dirty truth – I voted yes on the cruise for the AC. I’m not ashamed.

At 10am, we boarded our boat. The cool air blasted us as soon as we stepped in the door. It was heavenly. When we were shown to our cabin, the first thing I did was look for the temperature control. I immediately turned the AC on as high as it would go, collapsed on the bed and fell asleep. I have never felt so calmly thrilled in my life. It was sublime.

There’s not much to say about the rest of the day. We played a couple of games of Scrabble, did a little bit of reading – pretty much just relaxed. (Crazy) Kevin went up to the sun deck in the afternoon (for FUN!) to sweat. I shook my head as he left and stayed in the cool, dark cabin and got ready for my second nap of the day.

One of the greatest gifts that this trip has given me is that I’m now so much more aware of the things that I don’t need (fast food, fancy toiletries, TV, lots of clothes, lots of STUFF in general). It’s also shown me how much I take for granted all of the things that make my life more comfortable (real toilets, drinkable tap water, ice cubes, clean towels). There have been countless times when it just hits me – how incredibly lucky I am – and I feel so intensely grateful to be living the life that I am. I just really hope I’m able to take this lesson home with me.
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Pictures of the Day: Tough Kevin. Demure Zhou.

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6/17/10: Luxor, Egypt

We’ve come full circle, literally. Our trip started in Africa and now we’re back. We’ve circled the globe (take that, for those of you who still believe the Earth is flat), and now we’re back where we started. Sure, we’re a bit further north, but a few days ago we finally said hello again to Africa. But we’ve changed so much as travelers since then that it hardly feels like the Africa we grew to love during the first 50 days of the trip. I’ll let Zhou tell you herself, in one of her “I hope Kevin’s not writing today’s blog” moments.

Z: “You know what this feels like here? Africa.”
K: “It is Africa.”
Z: “It is? Oh yeah, it is.”

Yes, it’s still the same continent. But the way we’re experiencing it is in stark contrast to our days as wide-eyed traveling rookies.

When we first came to Africa, everything was planned out for us. We never had to worry about where we’d be each day, never had to worry about where we’d sleep each night. Dinner was always made for us, the sights we’d see were always set. We loved it. We loved being able to focus on meeting new people and soaking in the new scenery. And those two things were almost too much for us.

Now though, we could hold a traveling conversation in our sleep. We no longer have anyone to tell us what to do, and we like it that way. Our hostel in Cairo said they’d book our train tickets to Luxor for us, for a $10 fee and we laughed (not literally) and headed to the train station ourselves. We got lost about three times on the way there, but we pushed on and found the train station without too much difficulty because we’re even experts at getting lost now. (Don’t confuse this to mean we’re experts at getting LOST now, because I still haven’t got the DVD, so I’ll repeat my threat to everyone not to tell me what happened.)

We can also now talk to people in languages we don’t speak, as was evidenced by our finding a recommended restaurant in Cairo by talking to locals in Arabic. We also strongly considered piece-mealing our Pyramids and Valley of the Kings tours together by ourselves rather than hiring a driver for those days. But we have to draw the line of independence somewhere. (As you’ll also see in Zhou’s post about what we’ve signed up for tomorrow.)

During our overland tour through Africa, one person did all the negotiating. As Shaggy would say, it wasn’t me. Zhou and I each have our comparative advantages. She is a better negotiator, a better planner, a better learner, a better listener, a better photographer, a better person, a better napper, a better looker, a better Scrabbler. I’m a better eater. And I don’t mind looking stupid. For a long time in our travels, we each stuck to what we’re comparatively better at, and it worked well for us. Now we often try to do the things we’re each comparatively worse at, and for me today it was the negotiating.

We had received quotes on the objects we wanted (up to 175 EGP for one)and headed to a shop after dinner with the intent to buy three. Zhou left me to work my magic, but I started off by asking her to tell the shop owner what we’d pay for the three. She said 75 EGP. The shop owner looked shocked. After a little back-and-forth between him and me, here’s what happened:

K: You know what, we’ll give you 70 for all three.
O: But she said 75?
K: Yeah, but I don’t want to pay that much. We’ll give you 70.
O: Ok, 110.
K: 70.
O: 105.
K: Zhou, let’s head out and look around the market, then we’ll come back.
O: Ok, ok. 90. But I can’t go lower because I bought them for 85.
K: Ok, we’ll just go look around for a bit. (I turned to walk away.)
O: 85.
(I started walking.)
O: Ok, 70! 70!

I don’t know if we got a good deal or not, but that’s not the point. The point is that not only did I do the negotiating, but I reverse negotiated. I got it for a lower price than our first offer. Nine months ago Zhou let me negotiate once, and I bought something for over twice as much as others in our group bought it for, and mine was a crappier quality. Now I’m reverse negotiating.

In addition to that, I’ve been doing much of our Egypt planning and doing it with confidence. Zhou, on the other hand, has been carrying the heavier bag for the past couple weeks. (I’m not sure how that happened, but she hasn’t complained at all.) We’ve both been avoiding foods we can get at home, whereas the first time in Africa all I wanted were foods I recognized.

So perhaps saying we’ve come full circle isn’t entirely true. Sure, we’re back to where we started in a geographic sense. But as travelers we couldn’t be farther from where we started, and that’s a good thing.
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Picture of the Day: Sunset over the Luxor Temple.

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6/16/10: Luxor, Egypt

I’ll admit that before we came to Egypt that when I heard the word “Luxor,” I, like Google, first thought of the glitzy hotel in Vegas. Having been to Las Vegas before and now having been to the real Luxor in Egypt, I can say with confidence that they are quite similar. Except the temperature here is twenty degrees hotter than in Las Vegas, there are some magnificent ancient Egyptian tombs and temples and there are no slot machines. Otherwise, they’re exactly the same.

We started off our day tour with a visit to the Valley of the Kings, which is the main reason most people come to Luxor in the first place. The Valley of the Kings is where kings and nobles from the New Kingdom were buried. (Don’t I sound like I know things? It’s a farce; I actually don’t.) These include such celebrities as Ramses II and of course, the boy king himself – King Tut. The complex is huge, containing 63 tombs, some of which are open to the public. Most of the tombs have been completely emptied, their contents on display in various museums, with a few exceptions. King Tut’s mummy is still in his tomb, and you can pop in for a visit with him for 100 EGP. So those are the bare facts; now, what was it really like? Well, let’s just get this first part out of the way. It was HOT. Really, really hot. In fact, when you picture us wandering around, always picture us completely dripping with sweat and on the verge of fainting and that’ll be about right. Got that picture in your head? Good.

Ok – so the tombs themselves. We visited three tombs, and all three consisted of a hallway and several empty chambers (that’s not the cool part). The walls of the tombs are completely covered with carvings, some with the original paint intact (that’s the cool part). It was amazing to see the amount of effort that must have gone into these tombs: the shaping, the sanding, the carving and then the painting of every single square inch. But what was really mind-blowing was imagining all of the relics that we saw in the Egyptian Museum piled into those tombs. Just completely mind-boggling. I’m shaking my head in disbelief just thinking back on it.

There was usually quite a lot of space in the tombs, and although most were underground, the halls were generally short. Walking around in them wasn’t nearly as scary as the Dahshur Pyramid (no tears today!). The only thing that did make me feel uneasy was thinking about poor Tut in the afterlife. It had probably been one big long party for him until Howard Carter discovered his tomb and carted all of his treasures away. And now Tut’s stuck in the afterlife all alone with nothing. I mentioned this to Kevin, who replied sagely, “Yeah, but Tut’s young. I’m sure he finds something to occupy himself with.” I suppose this could be true.

After we visited the Valley of the Kings, we drove over to the Temple of Hatshepsut. I’d like to tell you some interesting facts about it, but I was so occupied with trying not to melt that I couldn’t pay attention to our guide’s explanations. Hopefully a few pictures will make it up to you. (Just FYI – no cameras are allowed in the Valley of the Kings; hence, no photos.)

The temple in all its dusty glory.

Some of the carvings have held up pretty well.

Apparently Hatshepsut liked strange arboreal activities.

We then went to the Valley of the Queens, which was much like the Valley of the Kings, except(shocker!) the tombs were quite a bit smaller. The day ended with a visit to the Colossi of Memnon, which are, oddly enough, two statues that depict Amenhotep III. I’m not sure who that Memnon guy is.

This view of the statue reminds me of Iron Man.

I’d say that today was our best day in Egypt so far. Better even than the Pyramids. And you know the best part about it? Now that the day’s finally over, I will never have to be this hot – for this long – again. Ever.

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Picture of the Day: Disney World-style trams take you from the parking lot to the entrance of the temple – 100 yards away.

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6/15/10: Luxor, Egypt

I believe it was the great Confucius who once said, “Sometimes you just gotta see temples at night.” So we did.

In order to avoid the oppressive heat of the midday Egyptian sun, we didn’t emerge from our air conditioned room until dinnertime today. (Have you noticed the heat theme of all our posts from Egypt? Sorry to keep bringing it up, but it really does hang over everything we do as if it were that obnoxious friend who never understands when he’s worn out his welcome.) But there was another reason we waited so long: at night they turn on the lights as the Luxor Temple. I don’t know if there’s any science behind this, but we finally discovered that temples are way cooler under the lights at night.

That’s all I got on that subject. Let me turn to something that I do much better: reflect. I could reflect until my mirror breaks from boredom, and over the next couple weeks you’ll discover that this isn’t an exaggeration. For example…

I remember when Zhou and I were planning this trip – it was Spring last year and she was spending every day at work working on the details, and I was spending every day at work thinking about it. We would talk each night:

One of us: Do you realize that one day we’ll be in a plane flying over the Atlantic, not to come back again for almost 11 months?
The other: No, it’s not going to happen. That life is too different and we’ll never actually live it.
The first one: You’re right. It’s all really just planning – there’s no way it’ll really happen.

And for about ten months, that’s what this trip was to us: an unrealistic, unachievable figment of our imaginations (despite how much money we had already put into plane flights and the African tour and gear and who-knows-what-else). The idea that we’d be living on the road, hostel to hostel, not knowing when we’d be able to shower again, eat food we know again, sleep in a comfortable bed again – that idea just didn’t jive with the lives we were living. Investment banking. Working 16 hours a day, and spending the other eight hours worrying that the Blackberry would go off and I’d have to go back to work. The trip would never happen.

I also remember the night before we left. There was so much rushing around and finishing our packing, and Zhou was busy giving me a haircut at 2am. There was really no time to be nervous, or anxious. Then we were on the plane flying across the Atlantic. It was the same as any other plane flight I’d ever taken, except we had to fill out customs cards and we lost a Scrabble tile. Then I remember sleeping in Heathrow, starting our overland tour in Nairobi, flying off on our own to Nepal, taking the train up through Southeast Asia… what I don’t remember is that first moment of, “Wow, we’re doing this. We’re leaving everything behind and traveling the world.” All of a sudden the trip just happened, as did our traveling education. We got used to pitching our tent throughout Africa. We got used to hiking 5.5 hours per day in Nepal. And we got used to hopping on hostelworld and booking our next temporary residence a day or two before we moved on again. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had more moments filled with a kind of awe that I’ve never had before. But those were all just part of this new, incredible life we had, and still have, for now.

Today, for the last time, we booked a hostel. Who knows when we’ll ever book another. (Side note: We love the hostel way of living that we’re planning on continuing to travel internationally this way even when we have enough money to afford nice hotels. There’s just no substitute for the friendly atmosphere and the helpfulness of the staff.) It’s just one more thing that we’re doing for the last time.

It’s impossible not to get caught up in them, the lasts. This really was a trip of firsts, and the firsts are still happening to this day. It’s funny though, the dichotomy between the firsts and lasts. It’s as if we’re the nerdy kid watching the Miss America pageant for the first time. There’s so many beautiful women, and you don’t necessarily take any of them for granted, but there’s just so many of them! Then this bully comes into the room and starts punching you in the stomach, and gives you wedgies, but lets you continue to watch. The firsts are still there, but this bully of lasts really kind of gets in the way. It’s a shame.

So my goal, and Zhou’s as well, is to try to push these lasts as far away as possible and enjoy the rest of the trip as if it were not going to end. Then one day we’ll be home with family, and that will be nice. But not today. Today we’re traveling the world.
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Picture of the Day: The view from our hostel’s rooftop, with Zhou in her camouflage shirt.

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