Good. Interpol didn’t notice…

Ahhh, yes I’m finally back in Hong Kong. I really can’t believe that over a month has already passed! But when you get into the swing of traveling, time zips by so quickly that you always seem to find yourself magically transported into the future. I move very quickly and although I do think I miss out on quite a bit when I do this, I think I have a very good reason.

Obviously, it would take months, if not years, to get to know certain regions and places. All I have is two years for the entire world and as such, my goal is to get a taste of many different places so that I can make a note of the places to which I would like to return in the future. I see many vacations in the future visiting a lot of special places that I didn’t get the time to fully experience. And China is no exception. I would especially like to go back and visit the Sichuan province (western China) in the future, maybe spending a few weeks wandering around the protected parks and little villages. That entire area was pretty incredible and I think it would be even moreso if I went back when the weather was better, ie., not so cloudy. When I return, I’ll have a much better camera too.

My time in China was pretty much what I expected it would be. A month spent in some beautiful areas, meeting some incredible people, having a few crazy adventures, eating great food and spending very little money. The only catch with the budget situation was that because I was taking a train nearly every other day, my budget ballooned from a typical $15 dollar a day allowance to nearly $26. Train tickets can be quite expensive in China and that tacked on quite a bit to my expenses, but if I would have spent more time, the average would have been much more reasonable. But that is the cost of tackling such a massive country with such an ambitious schedule. Take out a map and compare your country with China. I’m sure you will be impressed.

I really enjoyed southern China and it was really nice to be back in Beijing and meet up with my friends. Shanghai thoroughly impressed me since it didn’t even seem like I was in China and that is quite a feat in such a poor country. It was like being in a more scenic Hong Kong. I didn’t do too much while there except wander around the city and go out with people from the hostel at night. I did have a great time though. I got back to HK on a 28 hour sleeper train on which I met a few Singaporean guys and an American and we all played chess and chatted through the night. We arrived before I knew it, although I did have to sneak into another bed at 11pm because the guy next to me was snoring so loudly.

And so now I am back in Hong Kong and will leave for Bangkok tomorrow where I will buy my ticket (which is already reserved for me) to Egypt for the next day. I hear Egypt is almost as crazy as India and although I don’t think that that is possible, we will soon see. Hong Kong is pretty much the same, except it’s gotten a bit hotter and cloudier, but I’ve been having fun going out with Ron and his family (his parents took us out to breakfast again and treated us to some incredible dim sum). I’ve met a few on Ron’s friends and that has been cool too. Yesterday, I met up with Renee (an American girl I met in Nepal) who just happened to be in Hong Kong and we got dinner with Ron and Clara (Ron’s friend). It really blows me away that I run into friends in other countries like I used to run into people at the supermarket back home. It is really weird.

And there is something new which I am kind of excited about. I figured out my schedule and realized that I am way ahead of my original time table by about two months. I’ve also still got some money left and so I decided that I would do two months in Europe. I will arrive in Athens on the 2 nd of July and from there will end up in Dublin by September for my flight home.

How will I get around, you ask? I just picked up my Eurail pass which allows me to go to 17 European countries for a duration of 2 months as long as I travel for no more than 15 days on the train. I paid $600 US for this privilege, but I think it’s a much better deal than flying or getting the tickets individually (I’m sure you could easily pay 300 bucks for a single ticket in Germany, for example, whereas this way, I can get all over the place for two months with a single shot price). I can also take night trains and sleep on the train, which allows me to save on accommodation, which can be sometimes $40 a night for a dorm bed. I have a feeling though that I will be coasting into LAX on empty. Let’s hope I can make it. Like I said, I already bought my ticket home from Ireland for $440 bucks, so I am safe there, at least, and I won’t be playing a guitar on the streets of Paris to save up enough money to get home.

I’m not sure what my route will be, but I want to try to meet up with as many friends as possible. I think I’ll go from Greece to Italy, then up France to Switzerland, maybe take a train to Hungary, then Germany, hit up The Netherlands, Luxemborg (yes, it’s a country), Belgium, then back down to France. From there, I’ll head to the UK and take a ferry to Dublin where I will leave for home. I think I can do that in two months, the trick though is that I can travel for only 15 days, which basically means that if I get on a train one day, whether it be for only one or up to 23 hours, that counts as a day of travel. So I don’t want to waste days with 1 hour train rides, and I may buy those separately. But Switzerland to Hungary is quite a haul, so it will be worth it.

I’ll have to see when I’m in the mix and know where exactly it is that I’ll be going.

And with that my trip will be over. Well, almost. When I get back, my dad and I will immediately leave for Peru (haha, the never ending trip). He has always wanted to see Machu Pichu, but doesn’t want to tackle a Spanish speaking country alone, so I offered to show him around, provided that he pay for the tickets. Fair enough. Once I get a job, who knows when I will have time to take another vacation, and as he gets older, it will be more and more difficult to make the trip, so this will work out well at the end of my trip. So we will get there in September and be back two weeks later.

So it’s back to Bangkok again. It’s supposed to be really really hot there, so I hope I don’t melt. It will be nice to be able to buy freshly cut and iced fruit on the streets though. The pineapple there is to die for.

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