Wednesday, 19 October 2016

The end of our Asian adventure

I was a little apprehensive about visiting Asia, it had never been high on my places to visit and the majority of the countries in which we visited were Kyle's choice apart from China and Japan, they were all me.

We've spent our last two days back in Kuta, making the move to, Pondok DenAyu homestay, a beautiful home with a local family and of traditional Balinese style, with ornate doors, temples and shrines, a perfect way to end Asia. In between the surfing, sunbathing and eating we've found time to visit a shopping centre, something which we haven't done for ages and something which was a favourite past time when we first arrived in Asia to escape the midday humidity...this time I got nothing but Kyle purchased a new pair of board shorts, he's a pro surfer now don't you know.

As I sit here typing this it's hard to believe that we are over half way through our journey, and the Western part of our adventure begins tomorrow. Asia has taught us both a lot, and we've had some of the best experiences. It's nice to know that the world doesn't revolve around a smart phone or the latest technology, in some small corners it's still cool for kids to play outside, ride on bikes and climb trees. I'm in awe of the children who can be entertained for hours with little more than a cardboard box.

We've seen and heard of things we don't agree with but have come to accept is normal for some people and cultures. Such as eating dog meat in Vietnam, Chicken feet in China, animal markets, sacrificing animals atop of volcanoes in Indonesia and waiting for the green man to cross the road. We still wouldn't take part in any of it mind.

Things don't get much weirder than Japan, the maid cafes, used knickers for sale in boxes, eating fish that could kill you, sushi for breakfast. Waiting for hours to cross the road, not crossing your chopsticks, toilets that not only clean you but hide your farts too...now those we should get back home.

Crazy was catching a flight on our own and becoming world wide news the next day from the upload of a video.

I feel so lucky to have got up close and personal with an elephant, seen organutangs in the wild and visited pandas in one of the worlds biggest sanctuaries. I only hope we get to see some koalas and kangaroos in Australia too.

I've shocked myself with some of the things I've been willing to do. From trekking to climbing a volcano, eating on plastic chairs in back streets to riding a bike for the first time in 14 years! More of which I am sure will come in the next six months if Kyle has his way.

The food has mainly been amazing, and the best of it has been when we've eaten with the locals on those little plastic chairs. Our favourites to name just a few Cao Lao, Mie Goreng, steamed buns, Penang Curry, Beijing Duck and any kind of fried noodle. And the bad, chickens feet, penis and bugs! Kyle's dreams came true when he became a top chef after two cooking classes, and he's now a noodle soup expert after finding the best Pho that Vietnam had to offer.

There has been far too many once in a lifetime experiences, walking the Great Wall, stepping on Mount Fuji, hiking Mount Batur, sailing down the Mekong River and visiting the temples of Angkor. We've seen some of the worlds best beaches and witnessed some of the prettiest sunsets on the Gili islands of Bali, and Kyle can say he has surfed in some of the most sought after waves.

We've experienced local life staying in homestays and teaching in Cambodia. Still a main highlight for me will be our time at Kratie English school and seeing the progress of the children each day.

I've learnt that air con is an essential in Asia, and I know that between us we've sweat enough to fill 6 olympic sized swimming pools. Humidity will never be a friend and will forever make my hair look like Tina Turners...speaking of hair, I'd probably never get my hair cut in Asia again, or have a massage for that matter they're just too painful.

I know how to safely cross the road in the middle of rush hour, navigate China's underground system and Japan's buses. Plus I'm a dab hand and trains in Vietnam and sleeping on transport too. I will never take space on public transport for granted again after the confines spaces in China and sitting on a 15 seater mini bus with 40 others and their worldly possessions in Cambodia.

We have met some of the nicest people, and I now appreciate the value of a smile. From our hosts, to restaurant staff and people on the street everyone has been friendly, another tip we should take back home. I feel we owe a huge thanks to people like Rith, Sam and all the other families who have made us feel welcome over the last 6 months. They not only made us feel welcome, but like part of the family...making it incredibly hard to leave a lot of places.

People often ask our favourite country and to be honest we can't answer, each has been special in it's own way. Would I still love to live in Japan? Of course. But now Vietnam, Bali, Lombok and everywhere else has a pull and a feeling that there's still much more to explore. Six months has not been enough, and I'm sure there are many places that we will one day visit again.

I'm going to miss people stopping us to say hello, children knocking us over in a rush to practice English, discovering histories with local people and trying new foods, the sunshine, the beaches and being one of 5 in countries like China and Japan.

The last six months have been a real eye opener to some of the poverty and struggles in the world. It has made us appreciate what we have, and knowing that we have a home to go back to one day. It has definitely taught us not to take anything for granted. One of the most amazing things that we have found is the people with the least to offer want to give you the world and more, this was most evident in Cambodia, especially with our friends from the Good Morning Guesthouse in Phnom Penh.

We have had the BEST time so far and despite many a mini fall out over carrying bags and directions, we're probably closer than ever. (soppy alert).

As we get ready to head to Australia tomorrow, I'm looking forward to having a less surprising stomach, seeing friends and experiencing even more new things. I can't wait to have the freedom of a car and 3 months to explore New Zealand, and I'm beyond excited to catch up with my mum and her American family in Texas.

Don't worry guys, we do still miss you, we're just not ready to come home yet! Bring on the next chapter....

Love Carrie xxx