We finally made it to Indonesia after completing the south east asia loop. Being in Indonesia for the second time this year has made me no less excited as we venture to the gili islands and basically everywhere you can go on this little island. However I am very much looking forward to the two weeks my friend and I are spending in Ubud, predominantly at the yoga barn for some deep relaxing and cleansing. I found my heaven on earth.
Countless obstacles revealed themselves as we faced the challenge of summiting the worlds 20th highest mountain. With no training, mountain knowledge or appropriate equipment, we spontaneously took on the challenge of reaching the 13,00 ft peak. After 6 km of stair climbing to our base camp, our spirits were high in anticipation for the 2am summit sunrise hike. Oblivious to the reality of the given weather conditions, we scaled rock faces and …. more stairs to come to the final checkpoint of the trail. We soon realised we were the first people up the mountain, we had lost our guide and there was no one following us.
At this point we met some random english backpackers. Considering the sub zero temperatures and our highly inappropriate gear (i.e. exercise pants and cotton rain jackets) we penguin huddled in the toilets for a solid 45 minutes. Soon after a ranger came through only to tell us to turn around because of the dangerous weather and that most people had stopped far before us to go back.
Meet the faces of my new love affair. Some people crave the touch of another’s hand whereas I savour the moment their slimy trunk curls around my fingertips. Don’t be mistaken, this is not love, this is food. To appease my mind I like to think they love me because I give them food. I can live with this. Here are the beautiful elephants that we cared for at the WFFT sanctuary.
For some additional information on the Thai tourist industry and the consequential exploitation of animals have a little read from below
Located in Northern Vietnam the Ba Be National park is truly spectacular and unspoiled by large tourist groups and people in general. With only small villages surrounding the lakeside it was the epitome of tranquil in comparison to Hanoi city. We walked around the lake during the monsoonal rain, with every motorbike riding past us thinking we were legitimately crazy to be outside. That evening we enjoyed staying with a local family who could not speak a word of english which was really quite funny as in the name of good budgeting we declined bringing an english speaking tour guide. The following day we took a boat trip out to the caves which was stunning in every sense. As our final venture in Vietnam, Ba be was great, far greater than the 26 hour bus trip to laos that evening…. but that is another story
From the empty deserts of Namibia to the hustle and bustle of Hanoi city, least to say there has been a slight change of scenery. As I Embark on my backpacking journey throughout southeast Asia, it should be interesting with our minimal daily budget and tendency to get ourselves in a struggle. We first went out to Ha long bay, a collection of 1969 limestone islands off the coast of Vietnam. They traditionally believe that a dragon burrowed beneath the bay and spat up these islands, hence the name “Ha long”, meaning “Descending Dragon”. Considering it is the peak of monsoon season, we were blessed with blue skies and still waters. It was so beautiful and just unbelievable. I am excited to see what Asia has in stall for us over the next few months, the cultural differences are enormous and hilarious, I don’t think I will ever quite master the art of crossing the road here.