“Putting Our Book To The Test” (Southland, Fiordland, and Westland, New Zealand – December 24, 2009 to December 29, 2009)

Sometimes Mother Nature dictates what and when you can do any activities, and today was certainly not one of those days where you could do anything. We’ll just have to cross…

“Picking Up Where We Left Off” (Christchurch and Canterbury, New Zealand – December 20, 2009 to December 23, 2009)

It’s strange how it always seems that something goes wrong in every one of our trips. And I guess this was the bit of adversity we were faced with this time…

“The Vacation from the Vacation” (Maldives – November 20, 2009 to November 23, 2009)

It was funny that we had to leave the resort to get the real Maldivian experience… to do things that are more indicative of the local lifestyle than try to have a home away from home…

“Laid Back India” (Kerala and Courtallam, Tamil Nadu, India – November 17, 2009 to November 20, 2009)

…sun went down, we started to notice crabs coming out of their holes. Just a few paces from our hotel, I felt something squishy on my left sandal. I feared the worst as apparently I did it again…

“Converted Soul” (Karnataka, India – November 14, 2009 to November 16, 2009)

When I Lokesh noticed I was busy washing my boots at a water spigot near his car, he inquired what I was doing. “I’m washing sh*t off my boots,” I said, squeamishly as my fingers were in the grooves..

“A Tale Of Two Goas” (Goa, India – November 12, 2009 to November 13, 2009)

…furious after realizing there was no hot water (I took a cold shower), no hair dryer, no filtered water, toilet cover broken, no hand towels, and overall the room felt quite dirty and subpar…

“Black Nostrils” (Meghalaya, India – November 9, 2009 to November 11, 2009)

At 6:30pm, the plane was in a holding pattern. The captain announced that there was a thunderstorm in Mumbai (probably influenced by the cyclone), visibility was a 3km, and the runway was wet. The…

“Hello, Delhi!” (Delhi, Ranthambore, and Agra, India – November 1, 2009 to November 8, 2009)

Subhash seemed like he was in shock as he sat silent, and then got out of the car. From that point, he was swarmed by villagers (one of them hitting him repeatedly). And it was then that I started…

“Spreading The Love” (Eaton Canyon Falls – October 17, 2009)

There were a lot of firsts about today’s hike to Eaton Canyon Falls. It was the first time I was leading a hike with co-workers to expose them to some of the local waterfalls…

“Overcome By Events” (Oregon – August 19, 2009 to August 22, 2009)

But when his wife came over, she said, “You should’ve seen him. He was pouting all trip long because his tripod was too big to fit in a carry-on and I wouldn’t let him bring it…”

“Mozzie Mayhem” (Big Pine Creek Backpack – July 16, 2009 to July 19, 2009)

I couldn’t figure out what was causing the stomach discomfort, whether it was ingesting too much DEET, or from the filtered water, or what. In any case, my bowels were telling me it was time to go…

“As Wild As Japan Gets” (Hokkaido, Japan – June 5, 2009 to June 12, 2009)

We couldn’t read the Japanese script by this closure sign, but a sign further up the path showed a picture of a menacing bear. “I don’t need to read Japanese to understand that sign,” said Julie…

“From The Alps To Old School Japan” (Japan Alps and Kansai, Japan – May 28, 2009 to June 4, 2009)

For an hour-long train ride, there’s no way there could be nine more stops so my doubts that kept nagging at me finally became action. Julie asked some employee on the train, “Toyama?”…

“Completely On Our Own” (Tokyo, Akiu Onsen, and Nikko, Japan – May 21, 2009 to May 27, 2009)

The train was about to move and both Julie and I were separated! Julie panicked and my heart started to race. So both of us tried real hard to force the doors open before the train moved…

“The North Capital” (Beijing, China – May 18, 2009 to May 20, 2009)

No one seemed terribly happy in the car from the driver to Donald to Julie who could understand the complaints made between Donald and the driver in Chinese. I could sense the momentary tension…

“Too Soon In The Northeast” (Manchurian China – May 12, 2009 to May 18, 2009)

So we disembarked to a chorus of “Meiguoren (American)” or “Laowai (Old Foreigner; not exactly a kind thing to say)” by some of the more intoxicated guys also wielding cigarettes…

“Belly Of The Rooster” (Shanghai and Suzhou, China – May 9, 2009 to May 11, 2009)

There, we paid our 20 yuan per person admission charge and walked about checking out some of the indoor exhibits and having fun with looking at some of the larger statues, especially the first one…

“Getting The Sell On” (Zhangjiajie, Hunan, China – May 6, 2009 to May 8, 2009)

He straight away asked whether we’ll pay in cash or credit. But we already hesitated. And upon further inspection of the box, I had read that this stuff was Bear Bile Powder…

“Emperor Qin’s Legacy” (Xi’an, China – May 3, 2009 to May 6, 2009)

He said he had never been out this far before and the longest he had driven in any one stretch of time in his 25 years on the job was 1.5 hours. So the 6 hours or so of straight…

“The Home Away From Home” (Sichuan, China – April 28, 2009 to May 3, 2009)

Once uncle got home from work, we conversed for a bit. Unfortunately, he had a pretty thick Sichuan accent or dialect going and we really couldn’t understand a word he was saying…