Wednesday, March 24, 2010

SE Asia Takeaway

This is the end my friends, well, not quite the end. It is the end of our time in SE Asia and trying to summarize our feelings, experiences, impressions, etc. is damn near impossible. Leaving Thailand over 3 weeks ago and traveling through Laos, Cambodia and most recently Vietnam was simply, incredible. We thought we would share with you some of what we will takeaway from our time in SE Asia.

Teaching English is harder than it seems. Teaching children is wonderful. Teaching children is tiring. Teaching children is inspiring. Buses are a great way to travel. 16 hours on a bus will make your mind unravel. Okay, no more rhymes...

Talking with the passenger next to you is always more interesting than listening to your iPod. Riding a moto-taxi in Bangkok is a great way to see your life flash before your eyes. Crossing the street in Bangkok and Saigon is like Frogger in real life. Sidewalks in SE Asia are for driving as well as walking. The locally brewed beer is always fresh. Everyone should SCUBA dive once in their life. Thai food is the most spicy in all of SE Asia. White rice is served at every meal and goes with everything. Anything can be eaten with chopsticks.

Sleeping on an island in the Mekong River is a good way to meet locals. The temples of Angkor Wat are much cooler in person and much cooler in the morning. Sunscreen haters will melt on beaches in Vietnam. Learning “thank you” in any language gets you a long way. Learning to say “beer please” will get you a good laugh and beer to boot.

A smile needs no translation. Good people are everywhere. Every family, everywhere, has “that” relative. A unfamiliar smell for you might be another person's favorite dish. Anything grilled and on a stick is good. Soda can be drunk from a plastic bag. Don't knock Karaoke until you have tried it.

Gummy worms and beef jerky are staple foods on some trips. Pointing at another person's dish in a restaurant is the best way to order. The longer the line at a food stall, the better the food. Sunsets never get old. Walking a city is the best way to see it. Not all airports are the same and that goes for restrooms as well.

Our accent is funny. Asking for directions is the best way to get lost. Asking for directions is the best way to meet a local. Sleeper trains do not always mean you get sleep. Missing your stop is a blessing in disguise. Black snow is not so cool when it gets in your beer. Sugarcane trucks are freight trains on four wheels. Bugs in a room are better than geckos in your pants. Hangovers suck wherever you are.

“Yes, no, okay?” is a legitimate answer to questions in Thailand. Bargaining with toothless women is half the fun of buying a souvenir. Impoverished people are the richest in spirit. Traveling with your spouse brings untold rewards to a marriage. You find yourself and each other on the road. A good laugh is the easiest way to say “I'm sorry.”

War devastates families, countries and the environment. The survivors pick up the pieces and move ahead with grace and strength. The spirit of a country resides in the people. A mother or father's love is all children want. A significant distance and time away really does make the heart ache for friends and family.

SE Asia will never be just a trip we took or a region we visited. It was home for us and will live within us forever. The above are just a few of the takeaways we easily recalled while sitting in three airports on our way to Europe। Many more will surface in the days and years to come, but we wanted to share a few so you know what this time has meant to us.

We arrived in Athens after 24+ hours of travel. Our bed is rock hard and there is a pigeon sitting on our window sill looking quite suspicious in our opinion. Stay tuned for the updates from Europe.

1 comment:

  1. Great recap! You guys have had a once in a lifetime, amazing experience. I am glad with everything you are taking away from it.

    xoxo can't wait to see you all (sometime in the future).

    PS.. DEB, you are TAN my friend.