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Mummy-sitting in Portugal

21 Jun
Great weather & great company in Portugal

Great weather & great company in Portugal

6 months in Asia was a long time, even though it was too short (I nearly jumped on a special Lufthansa offer to Singapore before realism got the better of me). So after my Asian time-out I planned to reconnect with family-life and take my mum to visit my sister & co in Portugal. After the world-travel, it was time for small-travel.

My mother, with a respectable 79 years on her clock, is not used to traveling (she hardly gets out of the village) so I offered to take her to Portugal – and coach her through airports, check-in, border controls, luggage belts and metal detectors (which invariably go off on my mum’s corset). I got my mum a free plane ticket with Continue reading

Thailand Indulgence

8 Apr

Thank Buddha for company ;-)

Thank Buddha for company ;-)

Thank Buddha! – I am not alone anymore. My best friend from Brussels came to visit me – Huray – I’ve got myself a partner in crime… (not gonna tell you what kind of crimes – hehe). But our tastes and style of holidays is not quite the same. I would be looking for adventure and experience, he would be looking for a treat and living the good life. I would be moving down the beaten track, he just loves upping the number of stars of the accommodation. I tend to try out the local street food, he gets instant diarrhea just watching the street stalls selling local goodies. I had been roughing it enough for the last few months (e.g. Laos), so I didn’t mind to indulge in a bit of luxury.

Forget about the public bus to the airport – taxi it would be. Anyway, Continue reading

Traveling to Thailand

27 Dec
Flag of thailand

Flag of thailand

I have been to Thailand before (in 2003), so I kept my Thailand guidebooks till the end – hoping that it will be somehow the same (I don’t even recognize my village anymore, so probably a rapidly developing country will have developed in 5 years…

)

  • Anyway, if you have been there recently and have some suggestions do add them in the comments below!
  • I am spending one night in Bangkok on 29 December before flying on to Phnom Penh. It’s only after Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos that I’ll be back in Thailand (March/April) going over the symbolic Lao-Thai friendship bridge– and then take it as a base to move around the area eg Malaysia.

Timing is running out before my departure Sunday 28 Dec 08 (am typing this in the train back from christmas in the countryside as we speak) so I’ll only have time to give some bullet points from the Guidebook. Many of the South East Asian cultural elements also come back in Thailand Continue reading

Protected: Costly business!

26 Dec

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Punny Philippines

26 Dec

1707 Pilipino Islands

1707 Pilipino Islands

There’s no F sound in Tagalog, the main Pilipino language (they pronounce F like a P) so that will be pun ;-) And the nickname for the people there are ‘PinoY’ (like the big bird in Sesame street – at least in the Dutch version of it – or is Sesame Street globalised?) – apparently with Y at the end (someone pointed out to me – lol)

  • Any more travel suggestions? – let me know, add it in a comment below!

The guidebook says that “the Philippines have Asian roots, but have spent 300 years in church (Spanish domination) and 50 years in Hollywood (American influence)”.

A Pino friend of mine told me that indeed, you can still notice this mix of influences. The Pilipino core is definitely (South-East) Asian (e.g. rice, harmony, face, hierarchy, family, tan,…) but did get a Spanish coating (e.g. Catholicism, machismo, fiesta, mañana,…) and a little touch of American influence (e.g. freedom of speech, expressing themselves, English, shopping,…).

It’s intriguing to find behind Continue reading

Staying alive & healthy

23 Dec
11 shots for 1 travel...

11 shots for 1 travel...

Travelling to faraway countries is not something to be taken lightly. There are parts of the worlds where the bugs aren’t as friendly as in Belgium/Europe. So before stepping on the plane (well before) I went to see my doctor for some advice on how to prepare for ‘the other side’ (of the world).

I never knew there were sooo many diseases, most of them with lethal consequences. So better safe than sorry.

  • When travelling and ‘going local’ which i surely hope to do (am not interested in staying in a hotel that looks the same as anywhere else), one should have a vaccination for Hepatitis A, in case the food would be contaminated. But luckily I had that one already (for life).
  • if you go even more local than local and come in close contact with the locals Continue reading

Goodbye party for real

21 Dec
Lychee wine for sweet goodbyes...

Lychee wine for sweet goodbyes...

I’ve never really been such a long time away from ‘home’ (wherever that is) as for this Asia trip. In my head I extended the planned 2 months and a half already to 4 or 5 months… So this calls for some serious ‘Goodbye Saying’. I already waved my SALTO colleagues goodbye at the Corsica meeting in November and I toasted with some Asian lychee wine with the colleagues in the office.

But the friends are the ones I’ll miss most of all. So I decided to throw a decent B-party (combining my ByeBye with my Birthday, as I did not have time to celebrate it before). I threw a little invitation-stone in the water, and ripples waved over the water. I started to invite the Brussels gang I use to hang out with, but also the friends from the village whom I see far too rarely. And then some Asia lovers from badminton, and the group we did the BGS show with, and some people who gave me travel tips, and my favourite (ex)colleagues, and… and… till I realised that my appartment, and especially my head and heart would be too full to say goodbye to more people.

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