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Archive for June, 2019

Well, what can I say … we made it safely to the end of our trip!  We finished up our six-day Alps2Ocean cycling tour and arrived back in Christchurch.  Lo and behold, Engelbert Humperdinck was playing in concert!  We thought that would be a fantastic way to wrap up the trip.  He played a brilliant concert (still quite the dancer for an 82 year old man)!

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With time to reflect on our final day before flying, we wanted to take a moment to thank all the people who helped make this tour incredibly special.  All of our guides, drivers, tour operators, and friendly folks we met in all of these locations.  Even the unfriendly ones added to the experience.

As we began our journey four months previously, we discussed what we wanted to do, how we wanted to approach it, and what we thought we would learn.  Who knew we would learn so many different ways to say “Please” and “Thank You.”  That we would learn to count to at least five in five different languages,  Or that we would learn to say “Where’s the bathroom?” in each of those languages.

Who knew we would learn the conversion rate for the following currencies: Hong Kong Dollar (0.13 USD), Viet Nam Dong (0.00043 USD … great name for money!), Cambodian Riel (0.00025 USD), Laotian Kip (0.00011 USD), Thai Baht (0.032 USD), Singapore Dollar (0.73 USD), Malaysian Ringgit (0.24 USD), Australian Dollar (0.69 USD), or New Zealand Dollar (0.65 USD).   I was able to bring home a few bills and coins from each country as a souvenir, continuing to add to my collection.

The other challenge was trying to remember all the names of our drivers and guides.  To name a few: Tung, Ky, Phue, Trong, Happy, Tam, Quyet, Bo, Tien, Amon, Keelee, Best, Deley, Ping, Palm, Skin, Sinath, and Eh.  Right?  I’m still not sure that we pronounced any of them correctly.

Finally, I also learned how to both ride and drive on the left side of the road!  We cycled many miles in Thailand, New Zealand, and Australia always having to remember that we needed to ride on the left and that the rear brake (for the bikes) was on the left!  (That was a tough one)  I drove over 2, 960 kilometers in New Zealand (on the south island alone), not to mention driving in Australia and the north island of New Zealand.

We juggled time changes, new beds, small spaces, crazy food choices, weird bathrooms, and so many different customs.

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Our approach to all this was as we discussed before we left … to have a smile on our face, a positive approach to all situations, and a willingness to learn all these new things.  And learn we did … those are the main things we brought home — that life is a journey and what really makes it enjoyable is learning new skills, meeting new friends, and experiencing new cultures.  It was an absolute blast!

Finally, even through all this, it was good to be going home and seeing where the future will be taking us next…

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Stumblingpiper

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