Monday, December 18, 2006
What a long strange trip it's been
Well kiddies, this is it. My first blog entry was just under 4 months ago written on one of my first mornings in Tokyo. I remember at the time acknowledging that I was really just a scared little boy. Some things change. Some things stay the same. Im here now in Auckland, New Zealand for the second time counting the last 26 hours before I start my long trek home.
What happened in Thailand and Cambodia? Nothing good that I have not already written about in the posts that had pictures. Did bad stuff happen there? Yeah, some shit went down. I'm not proud of it. What happened? My passport and wallet were stolen in two separate incidents. You got your wallet stolen again? Yeah.. again... How did it happen? The passport was in a pair of shorts that were taken from a baggage room in a hostel in Bangkok. The wallet was pulled right out of my pocket while I was drinking on a beach in the islands in the south of Thailand. What did you do about it? The passport just meant going back to Bangkok and hanging out at the Canadian embassy for two days filling out forms and handing over cash. The wallet now is just a memory. How did you deal with having no ID and no wallet/visa card/money? It sucked but I managed, as per usual. I had to beg/borrow from this girl I met the day before (Colleen, If you are reading this, send me an e-mail so I can pay you back). I was able to get emergency cash from Visa via Western Union and a new Visa card in Auckland. Did you learn any lessons from this? No.
Enough about that. It's still a sore issue.
New Zealand though has been an abrupt change of course though. The people here have been the most pleasant, helpful and honest of all the nations I've been to so far. God has truly given New Zealand a disproportionate amount of the world's natural beauty (and packed it into two really small islands). I met a kind English bloke at the airport and found suitable furnished lodgings in Auckland. He bought a car a couple days later and I found myself hitching my way around New Zealand with him. Traveling with your own vehicle is really the only way to experience this country. The buses are hugely expensive and they don't pull over every 5 Kms so you can take pictures of the new scenery. Driving here is no chore. In fact, its often better than exploring the towns you find yourself in along the way. Mountain passes full of wild flowers and snow capped peaks and reflective lakes. Rolling green hills that no one cares about yet a first timer has to stop and stare, speechless at, while slipping into a catatonic fantasy about your new life is a sheep farmer just as soon as all the necessary arrangements are made. If I every have to go into hiding from the Mafia, a crazy ex-wife or the CIA, I'm coming to New Zealand with enough scotch and weapons to wipe out a Thai village, finding an isolated little sheep farm on a mountain side and spending the rest of my time on earth coming up with fresh new jokes about fucking sheep.
There is no one that would be reading this that I would not recommend coming to New Zealand. This will not be my last time here. In the 10 Countries I've been in on this journey, this is the first one I will come back to. Only with more time and more money. There are no pictures attached to this entry because my USB chord as been AWOL since Hong Kong and there is no one here to borrow one from. Hint Hint for a Christmas gift... Three weeks is the most amount of time I have spent in any country along the way and this is the only place I've been were three weeks seemed so laughably short.
enough though. Always leave a place with reasons to go back. This place has a lot
My flight home rivals the Iron Man in terms of tests of endurance. There are 46 hours between the time I board in Auckland and land in Toronto. 31 of those hours are on flights. I start with a 10 hour flight in the wrong motherfucking direction to Singapore where I will hang out in the airport for 12 hours before getting on another flight to Los Angelas. I've got four hours of smelling bad, and scrambling my circuits trying to figure out what time it is while in LA and then I am in the capable hands of Air Canada for 5 hours back to Toronto. This is the first time the terms "Air Canada" and "capable" have ever appeared in the same sentence.
So unless I end up on the business end of a firing squad in Singapore for possessing gravol or the terrorists or Department of Homeland Security take me down in LA (Terror Alert: High), it's looking like my safe return may now have changed from doubtful to probable.
Thanks for reading. Expect one or two more entries; one summarizing the trip and one with pictures of this inconceivably beautiful place.
Much love, Merry Christmas and all the crap
Looking forward to catching up in person soon