02.11.2010 - 16.04.2011
So as we were getting towards the end of our travels, we decided that the best way to close the blog would be with a "best of" post.
In the past 6 months we have taken 9 flights to travel well over 35,000 miles, through 11 countries over 5 continents using 10 different currencies.
Cambodia - great food, friendliest people and amazing things to see.
Vietnam - Some stunning scenery, wholly let down by the aggressive nature of the people. Sorry Nam
Top 3 cities
1) Hoi an - Vietnam - Vietnam makes a come back with this place, especially if you like having custom clothes made. 1 tailor per 17 people.
2) Cusco - Peru - Like an old European city, cobbled streets, artisan shops and great food and bars. If it was closer, we'd go there for the weekend.
3) Luang Prabang - Laos - Old french colonial town next to the Mekong river. Fantasic food, and great to ride around on push bikes.
(We should mention here that all three of these cities are UNESCO world heritage sites!)
Golden Temple Hotel - Siem Reap - Cambodia
Our Christmas present where we nearly out stayed our welcome, rent free. Thanks Mums and Dads!
Any hotel in Hue, Vietnam - Damp and moody.
1) 12 hour Sleeper bus in Vietnam - Ninh Binh to Hue - Kat decided this would be better than the train, it really wasn't. Tiny beds, chicken on the bus, messy loo and over packed.
2) 10 hour train in Vietnam - Danang to Saigon - Spent 10 hours picking cockroaches off each other and trying not to cry (Kat, not Henry).
3) Minibus from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang, Laos - Broke down for three hours on a mountain then the disco death bus came to rescue us. Last three hours were spent bracing to avoid whiplash and praying we wouldn't fall off the edge of the mountain.
Top 3 innovative ideas to bring home
1) Countdown timers fitted to traffic lights, found in Asia and South America, stops people from falling asleep at the lights and gives Kat a better chance of not being run over whilst trying to cross the road.
2) Petrol pump controller, dial in exactly how much you want to spend and the pump cuts off when it reaches this amount. Stops you from spending 10.01 when you only have a tenner left.
3) Midday siesta, mainly from Argentina, they do it with style here. Stop work at 2pm and go home to bed, and then do another couple of hours work at 4pm.
(It was only Henry that even noticed the 1st two but I was particularly impressed by the 3rd.)
Top 3 things to leave where they are
1) Needless horn beeping - Asia (particularly Vietnam) and also found in South America. Just rude.
2) Phlegm spitters. Mainly found in Asia, usually over the age of 70. Often do it directly in front of your feet.
3) Bolivian Apathy. There are no ´go getters' here. Not that we found. Sometimes even selling you a bottle of water is too much effort and they will tell you to go round the corner to the next shop.
Top 3 annoying traveller nationalties
DISCLAIMER: These opinions do not reflect those of the authors, they are merely a generalisation based on 6 months travelling experience.
1) Israelis - Rude, childish, obnoxious and don't like to communicate properly with others. Turn your shit music off, this is a public bus and you're 30 years old.
2) English - No we did not go to St Marys, St Agustines or the Perse. Go and be a yuppy elsewhere. Sorry I'm not yet fluent in Vietnamese and no I don't want to join your yoga session.
3) Canadians - No I don't want to go for a run this morning, I want to eat red meat for breakfast and if you tell me once more how many mountains you've climbed this year I'm going to strap you to a chair and force you to watch back to back episodes of Two and a Half Men.
Top 3 best food
1) Thai Curry in Laos- Ex Pat Thai lady who gave you a menu but would only let you order what she wanted to cook. Your curries got bigger and hotter the more times you went. Yellow, red and green curries, the best food so far, hands down.
2) Traditional Beef Stew - Cambodia. Like an English cassorole with a chilli kick, from a little local cafe with a charasmatic owner. One of the nicest stews I've ever had. Sorry Mums.
3) AK47 burger, Cambodia. Kat didn't like this and the name is a little politically incorrect given the country we were in. Two massive beef patties full of spices and herbs in a baguette with cheese with proper home made chips, all for 3 quid (expensive for Cambodge!)
Cheeky number 4 - Argentinian steak. Can't have this list without mentioning the food in Argentina. The steak was cheap and melt in the mouth. In fact as we are writing the list goes on...BBQ snapper in New zealand that was still alive minutes before it went on the grill... when's lunch..?
Top 3 worst food
1) Calamari, Peru - Not so offensive as we were eating it, but made us both ridiculously ill for a week.
2) Papaya salad Cambodia - This was marinated in raw, rancid crab juice, a brown violent liquid. Made Henry preeettty ill.
3) Pizza and french toast Laos - The 'restaurant' was beyond grim. My french toast was warm bread dripping in some sort of old oil. Henry's pizza was the worst he has ever had and he has had a few. The salt and pepper had mites crawling out of the bottles and onto the table. We left without eating anything. The only time we have had to do this. We even ate a bit of Number 2...Not so hungry anymore.
Best animal experience
Trombone dog - Santiago. We were eating a massive parillada (BBQ) of different meats on Valentines day at a fancy restaurant and a very sad looking dog came slowly round the corner. He was a sausage type dog. As he walked a street artist started to play a trombone. The dog fitted perfectly with the music. He sat next to us looking up at us with huge eyes all through our meal to the point where passers by stopped and laughed at us. We have a beautiful photo of him.
Worst animal experience
Bed bugs New Zealand. These cost us a lot of time and a lot of money in an expensive country. We tried everything to get rid of the little bastards, eventually the flight to South America killed them, can't take the altitude. Itchy, tiny, and EVERYWHERE.
Top 3 linguistic faux pas on products/signs
1) Chiang Mai shopping mall - trying to find the toilets we came across 3 signs, Male, female and 'Crippled'. Clearly a very un-pc translation.
2) Lima supermarket - looking for a sandwich filler we came across ´Fanny Tuna'. Appetising.
3) Cusco camping shop- buying a waterproofing spray. The instructions informed us that this spray is perfect for waterproofing 'shits'.
Top 3 oddest experiences
1) Ninh Binh Vietnam - Being helped up a mountain by a 100year old women. Asked if I was pregnant then put on a rock teetering on the edge of the cliff for a photo. Henry thought they were witches.
2) Meeting Ray the farmer in New Zealand and suddenly being his house guests for a couple of days, we weren't sure if they were going to feed us or kill us!
3) Cave tubing in Laos. To this day I don't know why I did that. Especially since I now know the size of the spiders that live in those types of caves.
We hope you have enjoyed reading our travels, sorry the blogs have been sporadic. Henry will make a website with all the photos on and we will post a link on here. Thanks everyone for your support over the last 6 months, it has been needed. We are both really looking forward to getting home, I want a proper cup of Yorkshire tea and a jacket potato with tuna mayo and Henry wants a homemade chocolate milkshake with a sausage sandwich (i could go into the specifications of the sandwich but they are quite detailed). See most of you in a couple of days and the rest of you some time in the near future!
Katie and Henry