Monday, June 09, 2008

Thanks for the support, Everyone !

Thank you to Family and Friends for your unstinting support of our trip to SE Asia. We have had a wonderful trip so far; seen and done far more than we expected. Kyoto turned out to be a smaller place than we expected, and we saw the best of the best sights. Our Ryokan, a Japanese Family Inn, was disappointed not to see more of us. Gwin found out how easy it is to walk in that pristinely clean city and walked my feet off. We saw several Geishas and their apprentices and attendants. They are followed by paparazzi like movie stars. We walked around the Goin, or geisha district until fairly late (for us) and saw pretty canals lit by lanterns. We also shopped a la 'Lonely Planet'. These guide books have been infallible in their advice on restaurants and shops. We found some lovely wood carving prints in a tiny shop they recommended, and enjoyed excellent meals in the recommended places. We photographed each of our purchases before sending them home. It'll be like Christmas to see them again.
Bali is as magical as they say! We stayed at the Ibah Luxury Villas, in Ubud, a mountain town known for it's art. We cruised through town the morning after a midnight arrival that had us following the Innkeeper's flashlight to our luxurious Villa. Around every corner at the Villas, and in town in the stores we saw photo ops. Exotic, and fascinating. Our helicopter trip was educational and fun. We flew along the beaches packed with surfers, and then across countryside covered in terraced rice fields and small villages, which we had just driven through to the airport. When we topped the edge of the volcano the ground dropped off: straight down. Wow ! We flew around the lake in the middle of the crater, and returned to Denpasar. Gwin was able to talk to the pilots, who showed her everything she wanted to see. Truly the way to tour.
When we got to Yogyakarta we got to see the real Indonesia. The people are as nice as the Balinese, but the myriad of temples with offerings was replaced by devout Muslims, who are more reserved, and pray (by loudspeaker) five times daily. It's a large city... we stayed toward the volcano, Mt Merapi, next to a golf course that is very popular in SE Asia. Our Villa was very nice, but we were spoiled by the luxurious one with the private outdoor shower under flowering vines, LOL! We got used to it, though, and appreciated having a pool of our own. We toured Borobudar and Prambanan Temples one day. They are marvels of hard work and religious emotion, chiseled into stone. The next day we rested by the pool. Gwin got a book called 'Guns, Germs and steel' which I'm happily chewing my way through. It has enough to keep me ruminating about for a long time; answering the question "Why did these WASPs end up having so much stuff"
So, now we're in Bangkok, after a nice flight on Thai Air. We got in at 4 PM and started trying to confirm the Mekhala River Cruise pick-up time. I thrashed around until the next morning, when Gwin took over and sorted it out. She aroused someone at Lisu Lodge, who gave out the cell number of the River cruise folks. They must have assumed that they'd forgotten us, and waked up Ti-Ti, who picked us up in a nice Mercedes at 9 AM and gave us a truly fun tour of Ayathuya's tourist spots. There are few other tourists, and we only shared the boat with an Italian couple on their honeymoon. We really enjoyed our 'long tail' boat ride from Ayathuya to the river boat. Food and ambiance was up to par. We fed the local insects at dinner, but the bites don't itch, and I believe in donating to the locals!! The Mekhala River Cruise was up there with Bali.
We're off to Lisu Lodge tomorrow, and are looking forward to the tours there.

1 comment:

The Schlosser's said...

Sounds like a fantastic journey...can't wait to hear more - thanks for all the details! Love you, Angie