6 Months Later: Unexpected Stories From 186 Days of Travel

Half a year.  Six months.  186 days.  Regardless of how you want to define it, this trip has now gone on longer than I ever expected it to.  Along the way there have been a number of ridiculous (and potentially previously unmentioned) stories.  Today seems like a great day to make a summary of the last 186 days and share some details of the stories that have previously remained secret.  Perhaps “summary” isn’t the best way to describe this – there are a lot of pictures, some old stories, some new stories, and then more pictures.

Over the last six months I’ve tried to chronicle all of the highlights and lowlights of the places I’ve visited.  If I had to boil all of my experiences down to bullet points, the list below is what would be left:

Having my mind blown by the flow of traffic in Hanoi

Motorcycling down the coast of Vietnam despite seeing the way people drive

IMG_2960

Ending Vietnam with a night of terribly amazing Karaoke debauchery

Gathering video along the way

Discovering that Cambodia has beaches…and that they are awesome

IMG_3881

Koh Rong Sunrise

Purple Haze

Serendipity Beach

Visiting a guy from Chicago that I met in Vietnam to see the school he was working with in Cambodia

IMG_4559

IMG_4503

Falling in love with everything from Thailand.  The mountains, parties, and the islands.

IMG_5637

One Classy Dude

IMG_5886

Pai Mountains and Village II

Koh Tao in general

Top of the island from one of the peaks.  You basically have to ride a motorcycle straight up to get here.

Top of the island from one of the peaks. You basically have to ride a motorcycle straight up to get here.

Being blown away with the variety of landscapes in Malaysia

Out to dry

Fork in the road

Nobody in a right state of mind should ever get tired of this...nobody has ever accused me of such things.

Nobody in a right state of mind should ever get tired of this…nobody has ever accused me of such things.

Thunder and...

Unfortunately on this night these clouds came in and ruined the sunset.

Unfortunately on this night these clouds came in and ruined the sunset.

IMG_7501

IMG_7975

IMG_6507

Skipping my flight to Bali and spending my birthday in Singapore

IMG_8271

IMG_8650

Going on an abridged walkabout in Australia before realizing that I was poorly equipped to explore the country with my current belongings

IMG_0123

IMG_9800

IMG_9981

IMG_9584

IMG_9420

IMG_3399

IMG_3398

IMG_9219

Randomly deciding to fly to Taiwan to visit a lady from New York I met on a rooftop bar in Kuala Lumpur

IMG_0581

IMG_0811

IMG_0906

IMG_0983

IMG_1067

IMG_1082

IMG_1919

IMG_1972

All of the stories above are things that I’ve written about in detail, talked about on Facebook, and would have no problem discussing in the middle of a public place with small children around.  The stories below…not so much.  Although some of these stories will never be detailed in full (like others that won’t even get a mention in the following list), some will make for great stories over a series of drinks with various people when I return to the USA.

I’ve previously mentioned that I spent a night in Australia DJ-ing for a couple having sex in the bunk below mine.  This wasn’t the first time that I had run into one of the obvious drawbacks of dorm life.  I ran into similar situations on Koh Tao, in Kuala Lumpur (The Reggae Mansion has paper thin walls), and at one other hostel in Australia.  I didn’t have this problem in Vietnam and Cambodia because for $10 a night you could have a private room with a kingsize bed…and why not at those prices?

IMG_1725

The Taipei Ice Cream Massacre: A few weekends ago I went out to an all you can eat “Hot-Pot” style dinner with a friend and her old co-workers.  For two hours we could have all of the meat (thin slices that looked like they came from a deli machine) and ‘other stuff’ (mainly fish, animals of the sea, parts of animals of the sea, and things that would live around animals of the sea).  Since the hot-pots were shared, the basins of previously unspoiled spicy sauces were immediately ruined by shrimp, fish parts, vegetables, and dead animals living in shells.  Needless to say, I was quite disappointed that “all the meat you can eat for two hours” turned into “all the meat that’s been ruined…for two hours.”  Fortunately for me the hot-pot place had a desert bar…with chocolate Haagen-Dazs ice-cream.  Although it was, without a doubt, the most unhealthy thing I could have possibly done to myself in the entire 6 months of traveling, I ended up eating 14 scoops of chocolate ice cream.  To further elaborate on how ironic this was, just hours earlier in the middle of the day I was asking an old friend if salted or sugar-coated cashews were a better choice for an after run snack – since ‘neither’ isn’t an option in Taiwan.

IMG_3795

Dong Men:  Over the course of six weeks in Taipei I’ve stayed at two different hostels and in two different apartments.  One of these apartments was a rooftop apartment that I found out about from a friend.  I stayed for three nights…  One thing worth noting is that in Taiwan a “rooftop” apartment is one that is illegally built on the roof of an apartment complex after construction is complete.  As a result, certain amenities that one would expect in an apartment may not be a given.  Oh, and the apartment was on the Dong Men MRT stop…and even at 29 I still find that funny.

IMG_3780

During one very hot afternoon in Bangkok I decided that I needed an ice cold beer.  By the time I left the bar I was at a table with an American guy from Alabama (he sounded every bit like it too), other people from around the world, and a half dozen Thai prostitutes who were offering everyone around their services.  One of them bought and fed me a scorpion from one of the various Khao San Road scorpion vendors.

For about three weeks I was traveling on-and-off with someone I randomly met on the road.  We got along, but didn’t entirely get along.  It’s entirely possible that I ditched that person with a Facebook message about an hour before I hopped into a minivan and drove off to catch a train 12 hours away…  From what I’ve been told – everything worked out in the end.

I’ve clogged a toilet in 6 different countries.  Most of my immediate and extended family will be proud of me for this.

IMG_2902

During one island adventure, I woke up each morning to poop in the ocean because I ran out of TP and it seemed like the only logical way to not need to wipe.

It’s really really hot at Angkor Wat.  So hot that you’ll want to carry at least a liter of water with you when you go.  By 10am it will be close to 100 degrees and you’ll be covered in your own sweat.  Eventually you’ll need a bathroom with all of the hydrating you’ll be doing…  I peed on a tree that was possibly over 1000 years old at Angkor Wat because there was no bathroom around.

IMG_4082

IMG_4228

Three times a week there is a pub crawl on Koh Tao.  After getting back from a day of diving and a few post-dive beers, a group of us decided to participate.  To encourage social interaction amongst the guests, the people working the pub crawl will write your name on your arm when you come into the first bar.  For an entire night I had the name “Tits McGee” written on my arm.

IMG_2168

A few years ago I was in New Orleans for a bachelor party.  One of the bars we stopped at was the  “Pirates Alley Cafe,” and while we were there we drank with a pirate costumed busker who eventually stole a pack of cigarettes from our group before we ran him off.  Fast forward a few years and I’m in New Orleans to start this trip…and we ran into Duffy the Pirate again at the same bar.  Once again I discovered that Duffy is a thieving pirate (although I suppose this shouldn’t be a surprise), a drunk (again, why am I surprised?), and an asshole for reasons that won’t be mentioned.  This is Duffy.  You shouldn’t buy him a drink – he doesn’t need it.

IMG_1369

Visiting the Cameron Highlands and seeing all of the tea plantations made me feel bad about the fact that I skipped so many of the rice fields in Vietnam.  I’d go back to Vietnam in a heartbeat and plan a trip a few weeks before rice harvesting season.

IMG_7734

Initially in Cambodia I was really bothered by how frequently children and other people were allowed to walk around all of the ‘tourist’ places and beg for money and ask if I’d buy random trinkets for $1.  Now when I look back at all of my pictures and really think about how poor the country is  …I feel like a complete jerk.

IMG_4427

IMG_4175

Since discovering that Amazon wouldn’t let me get a “US-Based” deal on four Game of Thrones eBooks while I was in Thailand, I haven’t paid for a single eBook I’ve read on my Kindle.  In fact, I’ve pirated well over 150 different books since that day in Thailand.

IMG_3527

Lastly – photos.  I’ve taken… THOUSANDS.  I’ll be going through them all and finding hidden gems for at least a month after I finish this trip.  I’ve added a few to the mix below.  None of them are outstanding in any way, but each tells a story or adds a human or cultural flavor that I haven’t previously included throughout these posts.

Vietnam:

IMG_2483

IMG_1838

IMG_1914

IMG_2442

IMG_2484

Cambodia:

IMG_3411

IMG_3603

IMG_3611

IMG_3853

Thailand:

IMG_4751

IMG_4968

IMG_5744

Malaysia:

IMG_6116

IMG_7814

IMG_8214

Singapore:

IMG_8262

IMG_8301

IMG_8364

IMG_8546

Australia:

IMG_8902

IMG_3145

IMG_9107

IMG_8944

IMG_9152

IMG_9185

Taiwan:

IMG_3537

IMG_1614

IMG_3774

IMG_3723

IMG_3685

IMG_0474

IMG_1906

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “6 Months Later: Unexpected Stories From 186 Days of Travel

  1. Love the posted pictures and the stories. I am glad it has been a good six months and hope it is everything you wanted out of the trip.. so now the big question is……………..

  2. Pooping in the ocean can’t be beat.. something about the buoyant force just helps it float out.. wonderful.. also send me some southeast Asian beach pics (sunset with those little asian boats).. me and my roommate are going for a beachy feel to the new crib.. I want to blow one of yours up, put it on a canvas.. then you can sign it when you finally visit (to feed your ego.. fag)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s