Sunday, December 14, 2008


On Wednesday evening, Cara and I step on a plane, and everything for the next three weeks will be very, very different.

Vietnam Nov 2005
Hue, Nov 2005
I was last in Thailand in 2005. In Thailand, I was only in Bangkok, then from there ventured up to Ha Noi, wandered down the coast by train, then by bus to De Lat and on to Saigon/Ho Chi Min city. It was an amazing trip, so many sensations.

And so I return, as I knew I would. This time, we're joining Red Spokes Bicycle Tours for a tour from Thailand to Laos. Then from there Cara and I are diverting to Siem Reap and Angkor Wat for three days before flying back to Bangkok. New territory, new experiences, new people, new sensations.

Vietnam Nov 2005
A real cyclist.
But as I sit here in a cold apartment, the sound of the rain outside penetrating the dark windows, chilled fingers typing on the keyboard, I am very, very excited by this. Yes -- the heat. We all have windows of comfort. Some are biased to hot weather, some to colder weather. I'm definitely in the former group. The humidity of Bangkok as we step off the plane will be a shock. But one I'm looking forward to. Add in a few extra hours of daylight from the 24 degree latitude shift and I'll be savoring every day of the three week trip.

But of course the trip is so much more than what can be measured in degrees of latitude or in degrees Celsius. It's about the people, the culture, to how people there and here perceive themselves and each other. Especially in this season of extreme consumerism, this will be another welcome change. Not that there's any shortage of capitalism in southeast Asia. Indeed there's more. Things are for sale... everywhere. But it's different.

Sure, I'll be glad to be back here again. Back home. But it's important to mix it up occasionally.


CyclistRick said...

Strange to hear talk of warmth in SEA during the winter. Yes, it can be warm, but cold storms pass through and temps can drop into the 40's F. Been a couple of lifetimes since I was 'invited' to live in that region. A much calmer place now, and perhaps I should think of scheduling a return.

Have fun!

NadiaMac said...

Hmmm, maybe I should take my fleece, then. We'll be up in the mountains of N Laos for a couple of nights (and days or riding)

velogirl said...

have a wonderful, memorable trip, both of you!

djconnel said...

Thanks for the comments!!!! I'm looking forward to it, yes. And Rick, you really should think about returning. When I was in Northern Vietnam a tour guide did provide some local perspective on the war, and there's plenty of evidence of it throughout Vietnam, but there is such a warmth there among the population, it's worth the visit if you're up to it. Cambodia and Laos will be new experiences for me...