100 Days of Travel Highs (and a Few Lows)
Milestones continue to creep up on us without much warning since we've hit the road. Birthdays of our friends and families back home, our anniversary and significant travel dates seem to magically appear on the calendar much quicker than we expect them to.
Today marks 100 days since we boarded a plane in Miami to eventually land in Bangkok, Thailand some 30 hours later. Like any trip, we've had our share of ups and downs, but mostly it's been an incredible ride so far.
In honor of hitting this milestone, below are a few of the experiences forever etched into our memories.
Jill: Nothing has come close to topping the Panaeng Curry I made during my Thai Cooking Class in Chiang Mai. I dream about it all the time.
Dave: We had some of the best food of our trip in Thailand, including Chiang Mai's specialty Khao Soi and a great and never-ending meal at Tong, also in Chiang Mai. But I think the favorite thing I've had so far is roast pig brought right to my door by Jill's colleague, Sokah. Chewy, fatty, crusty, it had it all. Runner up, the sausage cooked up by Dan Meats at the Kingdom Brewery's First Friday. It was a slow night so the guys manning the grill had no problem filling my plate multiple times.
Jill: Sipping a French martini, sitting on top of the world for sunset at the Speakeasy bar in Bangkok.
Dave: We've had so many fruit smoothies and most all have been great, especially when trying to beat the heat. I've stuck with Tiger Beer for the most part, but it's nothing to write in a blog about. We did manage to find a Leffe Brune at a grocery store one day, then continued to go back to this store only to never find it again. I have not had any wine worth mentioning, but I've tried to limit purchases to around $10 a bottle since we're on a budget.
Best Cup of Coffee
Jill: Every latte I drank at Ristr8to in Chiang Mai.
Dave: Very happy with the Cambodian grown coffee we bought when we first arrived here, Three Corners, and have been buying it ever since. The French press we bought has done the trick. Not so wonderful -- drinking hot coffee when it's 85 degrees in your apartment at 7 a.m. Still don't understand how Cambodians can drink hot tea all day.
Best Night's Sleep
Jill: Our splurge at The Plantation Hotel in Phnom Penh for our anniversary. Having the air conditioner on at any temperature for the whole day/night because we weren't paying the electricity bill was a luxury only surpassed by the hotel's incredible pool.
Favorite Tourist Trap
Jill: Seeing the sunrise at Angkor Wat and then stealing away into the temples to explore this sacred place before the rest of the tour buses arrived.
Dave: It wasn't a tourist trap per se, but attending the war crimes trial at the ECCC with my youth group was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. Even though they accomplished very little the day I was there it is still fascinating to attend a war crimes trial.
Jill: hiking (and swimming through) the Nam Talu Cave in Thailand. I was so nervous about it the entire day leading up to the hike that I almost psyched myself out of going. It turned out to be one of the most exhilarating, scary and fun things I've ever done.
Dave: It certainly was not puking, then hiking up a mountain for three hours then biking down a rutted out trail in Chiang Mai.
Favorite Thailand Memory
Jill: star-gazing on the end of the pier of our floating bungalows in Chiew Larn Lake in Khao Sok National Park.
Dave: Swimming in Chiew Larn Lake.
Favorite Cambodia Memory
Jill: spending time with two of our favorite NGO colleagues, dressing up in traditional Khmer clothes, hair and make-up and taking professional photos.
Dave: All the time I spent with students who participate in programs at YRDP. I've never been around so many bright people who just need an outlet to show what they are capable of. Hopefully they will get the opportunity to help turn around the country. Oh, and kicking some ass on the Olympic Stadium basketball court!
Item I'm Glad I Packed
Jill: My eyeglasses prescription - I got a killer deal on a pair of prescription sunglasses in Phnom Penh and I'm so excited about them!
Dave: iPad. It's like an extra appendage.
Item I Didn't Need to Pack
Jill: I know they will all come in handy once we hit Japan and New Zealand, but I have yet to touch my raincoat and warm jacket.
Dave: I'll change this to Item I Wished I packed: my Riedel O To Go wine glasses!!!!! Call me a snob, I don't care, just get me the damn glasses!!!
Best Thing I've Bought
Jill: colored pencils and drawing paper, which have been used to make birthday cards, an anniversary present, maps of our travels and as a bonding tool for me and a little boy on an island. Oh, and the carton of ice cream that's always in our freezer.
Dave: Wish I would have spent more than $7 on two badminton rackets and a birdie. They were terrible. Pepsi Twist (the twist is lemon flavor) has been a good find.
One hundred days hasn't gone by without any mishaps of course, but they seem minor in comparison to what we've done so far. The biggest lows were often during long bus rides with insane bus drivers - or for Jill the number of times a bird has pooped on her shirt. A lost pair of underwear, some tummy troubles and a water-logged camera battery are also small prices to pay for the amazing experiences we're having. Going without decent beer has been a challenge as well, though we've both lost weight so that might have something to do with it.
Here's to the next 100!