The top 10 things we won’t miss about South East Asia

We had a blast in South East Asia. However there are definitely some benefits to being in a Western country. In this post we look at why travelling in South East Asia wasn’t all sunshine and sandcastles. Here are the top 10 things we won’t be missing…

1  Mosquitoes

Long sleeves, trousers, mosquito nets and bucketfuls of repellant. The little buggers will still find a way to get you. There have been far too many sleepless nights where we’ve been kept awake scratching. We are very glad to be leaving them behind. So long suckers!

2  Scary driving

It’s surprising how quickly you become accustomed to the haphazard road rules in SEA. You learn to cross the road by walking into oncoming traffic, and to not watch out of the front window of the bus as it hurtles down the wrong side of the road into the path of a lorry. I even managed to brush off being knocked off my bicycle by a scooter in Hoi An as no big deal. It feels good not to be taking our lives into our hands each time we board a vehicle.

 

3  Dirty public loos

We have stayed in all manner of budget accommodation but we didn’t compromise on cleanliness when it came to the bathroom. Unfortunately we didn’t have any control over outside facilities much less the timing of the younger Johnsons’ need to use them.

4  The children being centre of attention

They stuck out like sore thumbs and caused a stir. At times they were mobbed by interested parties. They had their cheeks pinched, their heads patted and were randomly picked up. They were most definitely over it.

5  Menus with half the dishes not available

I may have mentioned the drag that dining out had become in an earlier post. One of the most annoying parts of this were missing menu items. You’d spend ages trawling through the menu, looking at the photos (from Google image and bearing no relation to the food that would appear) only to be told you couldn’t have it. Grrrrr.

6  Having to haggle for everything

It may be fun to drive for a hard bargain over souvenirs but when you have to be alert to being ripped off over every little thing it gets tired.

 

7  The lack of pavements

The boys love to roam and I love to let them so its no fun for anyone when you have to hold hands as you walk down the street in the flow (and exhaust fumes) of traffic. On the rare occasion that you find yourself walking on a pavement, do not let your guard down; scooters trump pedestrians on sidewalks.

8  Rock solid beds and pillows

I love a firm mattress, really I do, but for some of the beds we slept on we may as well have been on the floor. This would have been easier to endure had the pillows been soft and fluffy. Alas, they may as well have been bricks for all the comfort they offered our weary heads at the end of a long day.

9  The weather

No more sweating just from sitting still. No more clothes drenched in sweat the minute you step outside. Goodbye humidity!

 

10  Chopsticks

Our chopstick wielding skills are much improved and we are happy to use them to slurp up our noodles. However we will not miss the chopsticks abundantly supplied on restaurant tables. The boys will just have to find something else to knock on the floor or use as a light sabre.

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The top 10 things we will miss about South East Asia

Another month has flown by. I enjoyed my trip back to Blighty while Nick and the boys got friendly with the animals of Borneo. Whether we’ll get more detail about their adventure remains to be seen because as the children have been taught to say “what happens on tour, stays on tour”. We were reunited in Singapore before boarding a flight to Sydney. Now that the South East Asian leg of our tour is over here are the 10 things we will miss the most!

 

1 Food

Mostly delicious, mostly cheap and mostly healthy – what’s not to love? Trying out new dishes (tarantula donut, anyone?) and getting re-aquainted with old favourites (Tom Yum!) was a big highlight.

2 Bum showers

Once the boys had got over the novelty of spraying each other and the bathroom the ‘bum shower’ became a welcome part of our ablutions. It makes so much more sense to have a good rinse than to send masses of loo paper down the u-bend. Not to mention it being more hygienic. I’m even thinking about installing one when we get home!

3 The weather

As much as we may have moaned about being hot and sweaty at the time, it’s been surprisingly chilly in Sydney and we’re more than a little worried about arriving back to UK winter!

4 Traveller camaraderie

The upside of sticking out like a sore thumb meant it was easy to meet fellow travellers and strike up a conversation. A casual chat can lead to weeks of shared travel.

5 Budget

South East Asia has long been a draw for budget backpackers. You really do get a lot of bang for your buck. You can cover long distances on local buses for a couple quid and feed a family of 4 for a fiver. In some countries beer is cheaper than water. Need I say more?

6 Warm sea

We spent hours in the warm waters of South East Asia, swimming, snorkelling and generally having a giggle. Fast forward to a spring day in Sydney and the boys were not happy. Tomas lasted about 10 seconds, George slightly longer. I hope they begain their hardiness by the time summer rolls round in Brighton.

 

7 Coffee

Vietnam is pretty well known for its coffee but when I was first offered one with condensed milk I turned my nose up. One day I got one by accident and it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Served over ice with condensed milk Vietnamese coffee is like liquid caramel. Things will never be the same again.

8 Fruit

Mangos fresh off the tree. More pineapples and watermelons than you can shake a stick at. New delights such as mangosteen and rambutan. We were spoilt for choice. The tropical fruit back home cannot possibly compare and then there’s the bill.

9 The hospitality

With few exceptions we were welcomed in SE Asia with smiles and open arms. People went out of their way to help us by showing us the way or occupying the boys. We were given food and presents.

10 Language

We have loved learning a bit of local language along the way. And hearing the kids say thank you in Vietnamese or Thai always raised a smile. We’ll be in English speaking countries for the rest of the trip and we’ll miss trying to figure out the lingo. Mind you, Tom does still ask how to say things in Australian and is picking up his cousins’ accent. Fair dinkum mate.