Final Round Up – Get the tissues out

Unless John suddenly comes up with something inspirational this will be the last post for this blog. It feels really strange just writing that. The end of an era.

Time has gone fast and yet slow at the same time since we arrived back. So much has been going on! It’s been lovely to catch up with those of you we’ve seen and we can’t wait to see the rest of you.

The next step for us will be our big move up to Edinburgh, can’t wait! We’re furiously looking for jobs at the moment and very giddy about our trip up there to flat hunt next week. It’s a bit weird for John as it will actually be the first time he’s visited the city. So even though our year of carefree travels is over we’ve got a lot to look forward to and life seems as exciting now as it ever did.

But, of course, it’s still good looking back and so we’ve come up with a list of top 5s for your amusement, or perhaps boredom depending on what mood you’re all in.

Funniest Moments:

  • The entire three weeks of Rightee’s stay with us down at Koh Tao, Thailand, well John can only remember some of it
  • Too much tequila and my salty meat birthday cake turning into a towering inferno in Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Various naked co-workers in Madagascar (Lizy, Tom and Pete)
  • John deciding he’ll surprise me when I exit the loos in the depth of the Australian night by chanting ‘Attack, attack, attack’. Only funny in hindsight.
  • A drunken Chinese waiter being in complete hysterics at our pathetic attempts at his language. He was practically rolling on the floor.

Most amazing landscapes:

  • New Zealand Mountains and thermal areas. Truly breathtaking
  • Namib desert in Namibia
  • The Great Wall of China
  • Karst mountains in Southern China
  • Table Mountain and Cape Town

Favourite birds:

  • Myna birds in Koh Tao (also in Southern Africa, New Zealand and Madagascar)
  • Gannets in New Zealand
  • Secretary birds in South Africa (huge great things with fancy hairdos, they like stamping on snakes)
  • New Zealand Robins and Fantails (very curious little fellows that follow you around and look at you)
  • Pukekos in New Zealand (purple dudes that live in little family groups)

Favourite animals:

  • Meerkats in Namibia (so tame)
  • John likes giraffes so that has to go in
  • Green tree ants in Australia and their cool nests made of leaves
  • Chameleons in Madagascar
  • Lemurs of course!

Viv’s favourite plant places:

  • Forests of Tree ferns on the North Island of New Zealand
  • Amazing Fynbos plants of the Southern Cape
  • Fascinating succulents and other salt tolerant desert plants in Namibia
  • Fields filled with Pitcher plants in Madagascar
  • Rainforests of North Eastern Australia

Nicest people:

  • The Japananese. Helpful, respectful, polite and accommodating. You are really looked after well as a visitor in Japan
  • The Vietnamese. Resourceful, friendly, lively and inspiring. You can’t help but admire and adore them, they’re a pretty good looking lot too, especially in the North.
  • The Malagasy. Easy going, welcoming and warm. Nothing can stress out the Malagasy, well except snakes, it’s so easy to relax and feel part of the community in Madagascar.
  • The Kiwis. Laid back, friendly and pretty cool. Like a home from home but with less w**kers around.
  • The Thais. Efficient, friendly and open minded. The Thais just get on with things with little fuss. It’s a great and very easy place to travel in.

Worst toilets:

  • New Zealand’s got to be up there I’m afraid. The ones out in the wilderness were badly designed so that when you go in they’re totally sealed leaving you trapped with the evil smells and flying army of insects.
  • Tianjin in China. I’m singling it out because the rest of the toilets in China were not nearly as bad as you might imagine. The train station toilets in Tianjin however were unspeakable! No doors, and a very liberal approach to where the waste was supposed to go. In each case the entire cubicle was a toilet and nobody bothered to flush.
  • Azafady bush toilets in Madagascar. I have two words to describe them: Maggot farms. Nice eh?

The rest were OK, Japan’s are little complicated but still functional.

This could go on for ever and I’m getting bored now. If anyone has any requested top fives I’ll be happy to include them. In the meantime, thanks for reading and bye for now.

Jiv xx