First Ever Guest Blogger! What Toilets and Travelling Have in Common

22 Jan

Hi, I’m Miri from Germany and I’ll be guest blogging today for our new best Canadian friends Jason and Sarah. It might sound a bit weird talking about “best friends” (Canadian or not), when you find out that we only spent two days together (also Jason and Sarah actually are the only Canadians we know… ). But let me tell you, you will soon find out why this does make sense.

We met them in November in Botswana at an incredibly breath-taking place called the Chobe Bakwena Lodge. Jason already took you there in his blogpost (in which, by the way, he never even mentioned us. Bloody good best friend, eh?!).

But first things first: the toilet thing!

We met Jason and Sarah the day we checked into this marvellous, luxurious lodge in Kasane, right after my husband Manu and I returned our rooftop-tent-camper-van, in which we had been travelling through Africa for the previous 17 days. Getting back to comfortable accommodations was an incredibly good feeling as I am not the most passionate camper (although this whole roadtrip-living-outdoors experience in Namibia and Botswana was absolutely amazing). If you understand German (or if your browser has a translation function), visit our blog to read about our adventures!

The most important reason for our obtaining “best friends” status with Jason and Sarah is that I (like Jason) have strong feelings about toilets. Specifically I don’t really like sharing. I’m not high maintenance but having a clean and private toilet is something I consider to be priceless. Well actually, not priceless… On our first honeymoon roadtrip through Western Australia – also in a camper van without any facilities – we purchased this practical travel toilet for the very affordable price of 35 dollar-adoos. Just look at it. Can you imagine how luxurious this was for me on this trip and how much hilarity was billed to this “thing”?

guest blog pic

I should mention the plastic disposal bags were not solid white like on the box but transparent.

So the four of us met and we were a perfect fit – like a toilet seat to toilet porcelain or like “Arsch auf Eimer” as we used to say in Germany. Having the same interests (toilets! but also Kebabs and traveling) and the same sense of humour is most probably the best base to build a friendship on. Have you ever heard someone say: Hey, our relationship is based on a mutual love of toilets?

So, what about the travelling? Why do Manu and I love to travel so much? First, it’s because of all the experiences, adventures, breathtaking landscapes, wild animals, and exotic food, the things that are stunning and so diversified in every single country. Second, it’s because of the people: the locals that open their homes and hearts for you and tell you their stories and secrets.

img_4883

Jason took this photo! 

And then, there are these other travellers, like-minded people you meet along your journey and that might sometimes become friends. A good thing about travelling is that you develop a pretty refined sense of human nature and it helps sharpen your gut feeling. It’s this feeling as if you have known someone for a long time, although it’s the first time you’ve meet. I like to call it “friendship at first sight”. We had that feeling when we met Jason and Sarah.

So finally, what is the proof that, in fact, we are (best!) friends? Well, true friends know what’s best for you, right? With that in mind, it recently came to my attention that Jason and Sarah assumed that Manu and I would prefer to spend the final night at the luxury lodge with them and a bottle of free champagne instead of being pampered by the lodge in private with a special dinner for our second honeymoon. And then (without any consultation!) they proceeded to make their assumption a reality!

We may never know if this story is actually true, but in the end it doesn’t really matter as Manu and I would have made the same decision anyways. Or maybe it does matter, because now that I think about it, Sarah and Jason now owe us a special dinner the next time we meet! Maybe a Kebab…

If you want to read more about this (and other) shenanigans, check out Jason’s guest blog post on our Professional Travel Magazine Website (it’s mostly in English!)

Miri
https://teilzeittravels.de
Jan 11, 2019

PS: The pics in Jason’s Botswana Post are not as shitty as he thinks, but if you want to see more, feel free to visit our Botswana post!

39/40-1 Can I Wear a Shortsleeved Shirt to the Christmas Party?

16 Dec

… no

37/40-5 Currencies

14 Dec

One of the most annoying features of non-EU multi-country travel is having to deal with different currencies. It’s annoying. Exchange rates and withdraw fees and finding banking machines that actually work and don’t dispense bills that are too large to be accepted by the locals and aren’t modified to skim your PI Number and extra bills left over when you leave the country.

But on top of that there’s been some good comedy to be found with the various currencies we’ve encountered on this journey. I already made a funny about the Zambia money – Kwachas totally sounds like Quatloos (joke reprinted here for your reading convenience)

594660

I’m going to bring some Zimbabwe money to the next poker game and watch the looks on Steve’s and Mark’s faces when I buy in for several thousands year’s worth of games.

You guys are going…. down!

img_5617

And finally there’s the money in Vietnam. Comedy gold.

img_5603

We were always running out of dongs. The Vietnam money is the dong.

37/40-4 Travel Day – Second-Last One

14 Dec

So this is it – we’re heading home. Sort of. We left Hanoi a few hours ago and we are now on an eight-hour layover in Taipei. I was hoping we could pop out of the airport for a couple hours and grab something to eat so I could add a new country to my list but then two things happened.

First, I realized I’ve already been to Taiwan because according to China this is China and I visited China back in 2008*. Second Sarah scored us TWO all-you-can-eat passes to the Luxury Lounge at the airport. And this is where we are now. Eating free food and drinking free beers.

Originally I wanted this “vacation” to be longer. I said, Sarah, we should go for seven weeks or even EIGHT weeks. And Sarah was like, nah, under six weeks is more than enough. And then I was like seven! And then we booked five and four fifths weeks of travel and I forgot about it until just now when I was like – holy crap, I wanted this thing to go longer!? What the hell was I thinking?!!

We now fly to Vancouver. Canada is going to be so strange after being away for so long. I wonder if the Vancouver airport international terminal has a McDonald’s restaurant…

img_5450

*also right now China is arresting Canadians left right and centre so I need to be as pro-China as I possibly can. I do NOT want to spend the rest of Peanut and Pepper’s birthday in a Chinese prison. All hail glorious China!

37/40-3 Last Night in Asia

13 Dec

So this is our final night on the great continent of Asia. Tomorrow we fly to a new country in transit to a familiar country. And how did we commemorate this evening? By going to the “Obama” restaurant.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, back in 2016, chef Anthony Bourdain traveled to Hanoi to film an episode for his Parts Unknown television show. What made this one so special is that he had lunch with the President of the United States at this little hole in the wall restaurant.

We ordered the “Combo Obama” and it was delicious. Noodles, beef, and pork in a broth with beer and spring rolls on the side. Was a great final meal in a country that might have had the best food of the whole trip.

img_5601

.

37/40-2 Ha Long Bay Boat Luxury Cruise

13 Dec

For some reason I thought these were the James Bond islands – but then by some weird co-incidence The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) was actually playing on TV when we were on the boat and the film clearly took place in Thailand (which also has some similar-looking islands in the south).

And because of this experience I now totally understand why he was cast in the Lord of the Rings *and* Star Wars – Christoper Lee is a real force on screen – at 6’5” you can totally believe he could take down James Bond and/or various other hobbits and space/ground wizards. I mean, he never does but it is realistic in the sense that if he did you wouldn’t be disappointed.

Farming in the middle of the big island (Cat Bo)

img_5551

More farming:

img_5573

And the famous non-James Bond Islands.

img_5585

.

37/40-1 Vietnam

13 Dec

I’m here a week now… waiting for a mission… getting softer. Every minute I stay in this room, I get weaker. Each time I looked around the walls moved in a little tighter.

We landed eight days ago. Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam. I haven’t been posting because I’ve been ill. It started in Sri Lanka and it felt like pneumonia. I know this because last year I did get pneumonia and it had similar look and feel. Not wanting to make the CBC News back home “Canadian Man Falls Ill During Trip to Asia After Spider Egg Dare” (or some variant of), we decided to take it easy for a couple of days until the worst had passed.

I called Tele-Health Ontario and for the first time in the history of the service they didn’t send a caller to see a doctor. The nurse Stephanie was great. She took my list of symptoms (achy neck, coughie lungs, cloggie sinuses, painful everything else) and advised me to take the emergency antibiotics our doctor had prescribed proactively.

One of the side effects of the drugs however was to mess up the one part of my system that was working fine – the same part from that train ride back in India. The cure sounds worse than the disease? Actually no – the rest of me was in pretty rough shape – my head holes were killing me – so I welcomed the tradeoff. Our Ho Chi Minh City hotel was great so I was more than happy to hang around there while the Azithromycin engaged in a form of asymmetrical warfare against my lower colon.

Three days later I was feeling much better. But we had to cancel our thirty-six hour train ride to Hanoi. We stayed one extra night and flew north. This kinda sucked because I was looking forward to that adventure. The other train rides on this trip had been really interesting.

Once we got to Hanoi things returned back to normal travel mode. Local food. Local sites. The night market cometh. This city is very cool. Lots going on. Tonnes of traffic. Here are some photos.

Hanoi at night:

img_5481

A meal – the restaurant served one dish, and one dish only, Vasily.

img_5494

And the Vietnam Women’s Museum was amazing – a must see.

img_5497

Next up was the Ha Long Bay luxury boat cruise. This deserves it’s own post.

29/40-1 Another Airport, Another Connection

4 Dec

Today is another travel day. This one was probably the most toughest because I have a cold and flying while ill, well, that’s no fun. But it’s not just the cold or the air travel – yesterday morning we had to catch our train at 09:20 but we were awake by 05:50 because our Air-B-N-Be was right by a mosque and the adhan (call to prayer) happens right around sunrise.

With our flight leaving at 23:00 we had plenty of time. The plan was to arrive in Colombo at around 15:30, grab something to eat, and then have a leisurely wait until our flight. Eight hours should be more than enough time.

Except our train was two hours late picking us up and another hour late dropping us off. And our ride to the airport was almost ninety minutes (double the estimate) and our driver was insane. By the time we cleared customs/immigration and checked in to our flight we had about an hour and a half before boarding.

Now we’re in another airport in another country in another timezone waiting for a connecting flight to take us to yet ANOTHER city in ANOTHER country in a new timezone.

I miss my dogs. At home when I’m feeling bad Pepper will come up to me on the sofa and be like, hey you – give me a belly rub, and I’ll do it and he’ll feel much better.

IMG_6362

28/40-1 Cover Your Heart!

4 Dec

I’m totally behind on the blogging – sorry about that! The new country we’re leaving today is Sri Lanka. We had two nights in Colombo then we took the train to tea country – a city called Nanu Oya – which is where we are right now waiting for our return train to Colombo where we fly out to our next country. So here are some images (moving and still) of our time here.

It’s a great country. Highly recommend.

There are many waterfalls.

 

 

The train ride was great. We were at the back of the train and the train had this massive viewing window.

 

.

24/40-1 Another Travel Day

29 Nov

Can you guess where? I’m too tired to come up with any clues. It’s a county that Sarah picked.

I suppose that’s sort of like a clue…

IMG_5219

Bus picture unrelated (not a clue). Or is it? (it isn’t). Even though I’m sure where we’re going has buses. Still not a clue.