A tribute to a fantastic year.
To the best travel planner I know.
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We started in Burma, flying business class from San Francisco, for less than $30 each! Go United Mileage Plus!
Roaming the streets of Yangon.
To it's golden temples.
And the people's love and yearning for democracy.
To boat trips on incredible Inle Lake.
To the ruins that over look it.
To the tribes that live around it.
To the desert of Bagan.
To its oasis.
To being surrounded by motorbikes in Mandalay. Motorbikes with Monks.
And the countless Buddhas. In caves.
From the streets of Bangkok.
To its palaces.
To interesting perspectives.
So an elephant walks into a bar...
But some just roam free.
Or just be a hipster artist.
That love Lina.
To making the best of "standing room only" train rides.
From the innocent.
To the ferocious.
To discovering a late night ceremony.
After a glorious sunset.
It just gives me the butterflies.
From what began with Beer Lao
Really opened up Lina's dance moves at an Akha Wedding.
But what really made her popular, was her ups.
Lina just had a magnetic effect on the children of Laos.
Monks appreciated her tutoring.
And lined up in droves. (j/k)
But she really knew how to pick a good fruit.
No an actual good fruit.
But only when she looked in the right places.
To caves made into shelters.
To caves that were once the only link between two towns.
To exploring 4000 Islands on a river?
To finding waterfalls.
On our motorbike.
Sugar cane drinks.
To getting close with some locals.
Being thankful we weren't this close.
Getting lost in Angkor Wat.
To eating it up in Siem Reap.
To learning history. Truth. If only history doesn't repeat itself... in the bad ways that is.
From learning how to explore the under water.
To knowing how great it still tastes on land.
To great beaches.
With a BYO sunset happy hour.
But wherever we go, Lina makes great friends.
Walking across the border.
Enjoying french bread on the Mekong
Touring its lush delta.
And finally, real coffee.
Enjoying Clinton fanfare in Saigon.
To exploring the Ho Chi Minh tunnels.
To the dunes of Mui Ne.
To a sea food feast on the beach in Nha Trang.
To the lanterns of Hoi An.
To bia hoi (fresh beer) in a bowl.
To explore local life.
To the best rest stop ever.
From the Citadel of Hue.
To meditation in the city's royal tombs.
To getting woken up at 4am by case loads of Heineken being loaded onto your sleeper bus.
To spending time on Halong Bay.
And kayaking through famous movie sets.
To the first of many jumps.
To eating the streets of Hanoi.
To the rice terraces of Sapa.
With tons of mud.
To the mountains of Ha Giang.
To the Hmong that reside there.
To the Chocolate Hills.
And low low tides of Bohol.
To sunset happy hours.
And giant clams of Camiguin.
To cliff diving.
And relaxing in Siquijor.
Lina is the big fish.
That loves a good beer.
That doesn't mind a fruity drink.
While watching the sky.
From seeing proboscis monkies.
To a swimming elephant.
To their statues.
And at rehab.
To casting off her cousin and maid-of-honor's first dive.
To the underwater oasis of Sipadan.
At sunrise dives.
And more jumps.
Before conquering altitude, sky high.
On what felt like the surface of the moon.
Requiring effort to get down.
To making it.
But feeling like this after that 1 day Kinabalu trek.
From relasing turtles on Bali.
To being turtles?
To Bali beaches. Or its weapon tourism?
Ok, ok, the real beaches.
To lost surfers.
And rich culture.
To the falls of Lombok.
And its amazing volcano.
To Komodo dragons off of Flores.
In the flesh.
To hot springs galore.
Not to mention Flores has many volcanoes of its own.
And future sculpture artists.
And even a blue stone beach.
Checking out Bromo on Java at sunrise.
And the rides that get you there.
From the city lights of Kuala Lumpur.
And its Hindu pilgrimage site.
To foodie Penang at breakfast.
And upscale dinner.
To an Indian feast with bread as big as Lina's head.
Oh Penang had art too.
But tea plantations are where the real relaxation lies.
Where cows are holy and everywhere.
To religious men.
On their phones.
To big red forts.
With a view of the Taj Mahal.
Did I mention the Taj Mahal?
From forts accessible by elephant.
And their walls.
To luxury forts and grand welcomings at Suryagarh.
To camel rides.
And having a private dinner in the sand dunes complete with musicians and a full sky.
To the deserted temples outside of Jaisalmer.
To the blue themed city of Jodhpur.
To its own fort. If only it was blue.
From tuk tuks.
To palaces on water in Udaipur.
To its grand sunsets.
From the bustling streets of Old Delhi.
To its religious land marks.
From the birthplace of Buddha.
And his followers.
To its monuments.
Through high grass.
To the cafes of Kathmandu.
To its serene temples.
And to the final cast of of a great 3 week stint with Lina's mom.
Now on to the Everest 3 Passes Trek. But is this the highest Starbucks?
These mules wouldn't know.
To long walking bridges.
To amazing wakeup views of Namche Baazar.
To the Himalayas popping out.
To espresso at the world's highest bakery.
From the Gompas.
To the glacial lakes.
To crazy birds at Everest Base Camp.
To sunrise on our way to Kala Patar.
To getting to Kala Patar.
And making it.
To new lifelong friends.
And coffee with a view.
To snowy passes.
Remember what goes up must come down.
To snow angel breaks.
Did I mention Himalayas?
To view point yoga.
And coffee (yes, more!).
To prayer flags.
And more snowy descents.
All for sweeping views.
And even what may be the highest beach in the world.
From the innkeeper that summited Everest 13 times.
To the serene valley that waited for us below.
From nostalgic greens and blues of the Otago Peninsula.
To its penguins.
We enjoyed our beach time with trusty dogs on loan.
To the falls of Milford Sound.
To Lupines with mountain views.
To lake views.
From hiking to glaciers.
To pushing boulders.
To wine tasting in a desert?
To taking pictures in front of warning signs that I usually send to my parents... Finally with my parents.
To more hikes to glaciers.
To fields of wild flowers.
To massive glacial lakes.
And mirror lakes.
From lake view rooms.
To the thrill of freefall.
Please join me in wishing happy birthday to Lina!
Her birthday marks quite an amazing year!