Saturday, 24 September 2016

Why I do what I do (or I'm NOT lazy, just very selective in assigning priorities)

Yes, regular paid work had arrived and it was sitting in some file folder hidden in the darkest corners of my PC's hard drive, while I was doing other things.

 I don't think it's laziness by the standard definition.  
A freak downpour in an otherwise clear sky
If I were lazy, I wouldn't have googled whether 'were lazy' or 'was lazy' is the correct grammar (no-one will notice if you use the less appropriate one).

And I CERTAINLY would NOT have CYCLED from Paris to Frankfurt. 

So it's not laziness

But there are other, 'more important' things to do and research. 

WTF?  Flying Saucer cloud ?

A new trip coming up and it's going to Parts Unknown (Sorry Tony, for infringing ;-)

I've just figured out what Guangzhou's 72 hour transit visa-free policy means.  In the past I wanted to visit Guangzhou and even had made my way down to the Chinese consulate in Vancouver, when I was informed that as a European living in Vancouver, I would need a plane ticket in my pocket to be issued a visa.  So much for that.  But things have changed.  Now I can board a plane in Vancouver and hang out in Guangzhou for 72 hours WITHOUT a visa ;-)

Not that I really want to hang out here. Building big things out of concrete and putting bright lights on them has been done in many places before, most notably Singapore and it's not really the thing I'm looking for when traveling. So a single night's sleep will do here.  Why am I sleeping here if HaNoi is only 3 more hours away? Two reasons: 1) 13.5 hours of being hurtled over a large body of water in a tin can is enough for one day;  2)  This way I arrive at NoiBai International in HaNoi at 10:30 am instead of 11:30 pm ;-) I followed the same idea in March by flying through South Korea and it does work quite well.  

Paying CAD $20 (Yes, thats TWENTY) for this admittedly NOT huge room 300 meters from Guangzhou International airport doesn't hurt either LOL.

Oh, maybe I'm getting ahead of myself.  You don't know where Guangzhou is?  It's in China. And it was formerly known as Canton (they speak Cantonese there ;-).

Maybe its time for a map.  A map of Indochina. Because that's where I am heading.

Guangzhou is on the above map, and the flight time from there to the next destination is only 2 hours. And I already know that the next destination will cause me to shed tears of joy. Ha Noi.

I can pretty much narrow down the exact point in time (plus/minus 10 minutes) when I fell in love with Vietnam.  It wasn't getting out of  Noi Bai airport.  It wasn't on that 80 minute ride on the local public bus from the airport into town.  It happened on that 15 minute walk  to my hotel through the French Quarter with its evening mayhem scooter traffic and all the city out on its narrow sidewalks.  That's when I discovered a whole new world. A world I didn't know existed.   But strangely enough, a world that from the first moment I entered it made sense.  Unlike the world that I just came from, and would have to return to in a short time.
My very first time walking into Ha Noi, trying to find my hotel, in Oct. 2015

A visit in Da Nang is a must, to meet again Anh, the Easy Rider, and the name and voice-less enfant teribble of DaNang Bay Hotel.  
I so hope that they will be there when I return !

I also must check whether those 6 fishing women still dig themselves in the sand to wait for sunrise EVERY morning or whether DaNang's conversion to a tourist destination has progressed so far as to put an end to such a lifestyle (Sadly that is inevitable).
Da Nang Dec. 2015
When I check weather conditions, I also realize one very strange thing.  While in Cambodia the rainy season is from June to October and in Northern Vietnam it lasts from May to September, the wet season in Central to Southern Vietnam (Read BEACH paradise) is NOVEMBER. OOPS!

Phnom Penh is  another MUST-stop on this trip.

Phnom Penh  Dec. 2015 or Feb 2016
 And naturally I can't wait to take that speed-boat to Siem Reap and Angkor Wat again.

Tonle Sap River, Dec. 2015

Angkor, Dec. 2015
But then the trip will enter Terra Incognita.  A plane will take me to Bangkok. NO, not for that. O.K. maybe just a little ;-). I never have been to Thailand, and Bangkok is the departure point of an overnight sleeper train to the Friendship bridge with Laos.  Now it's probably time for most people to want to have another look at a map of Indochina.

O.K. so I;m in Bangkok and I will take a train NORTH to get to Vientiane.  Vientiane?  Yes, that is the capital of Laos.  And here is a Link to a show that Anthony Bourdain did on Laos. Watch it and you will know why I'm heading there

Then it's to Luang Prabang by bus or boat

You say that Luang Prabang is a Party Town you haven't of heard of yet?
That's already TWO reasons why I'm going there ;-)

What else?  This place is about as far from "Buy-all-that-useless-crap-so-you'll-have-to-work-for-US-for-the-rest-of-your-life" as I at present dare to go.

But I'm working on it.

I will cross that bridge eventually (LOL, yes that was a double entendre ;-)
Bamboo Bridge, Luang Prabang
When I tell my bike-guy (about my age, from Poland) why I'm travelling to these parts he only says "Oh, I understand. I was born in a time and a place when the world was still real."

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