Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Say your prayers

Crossing Vietnamese streets:

So now that we’ve toned our abs, tightened our thighs, curled our arms and strengthened our wrists, it is time for a real world application.

One of the things Vietnam is famous for , I’ll refrain from saying some of the other things it is famous for, but one is crossing the busy streets of the northern city Hanoi or the Southern delta city of Ho Chi Mihn (Saigon).

It can be classified under,
“highly dangerous”
“life threatening”
“stronger than coffee” or
Well so can sky-diving, and I’ve done that! So on it is…to cross the streets of Hanoi.

If you watch the video below you’ll get an idea of the challenge awaiting me on my trip….

So now that you’ve seen some rando tourist crossing the street. Please picture me in my rainbow afro hat and bikini crossing the street.

Alright, you don’t have to do that, but you get the idea…
So I asked a friend at work who has been to Vietnam a few times, how do I prepare for this?!

His suggestion --> take a bright red ball, throw it across the I-5, and if you can retrieve the ball successfully, you can cross the streets in Vietnammmm!

So if you see a blur figure of a woman on the 5 tonight around 7:30, don’t worry! And try to SWERVE!!!!

Wish me luck!!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Physical Tips for trip preparation

Physical preparations for SE Asia:

Now as you can tell, there are multiple preparations you have to make before a trip. But there is one you may not of expected, you better hit the GYM!

Each daily activity while traveling requires fine toned muscles in peculiar places, and if not in shape, you may get left in the 11 pm bus to Bangkok dust trail.

- [Arm curls] Reason: Your arms will be used in the occasional hitchhiking wave, which is not a thumbs up, but rather a palm down wave toward the ground. Benefit: When standing on the side of the road for hours because the Cambodian people won’t give you a lift, your arms won’t get fatigued and you’ll be able to harass every passing car or tuk-tuk.

- [Frisbee toss] Reason: This wrist strengthing and accuracy exercise will be perfect when haggling in the outdoor markets. When that pesky old man selling silk purses just won’t budge another 2 dollars off the price after you’ve been ‘kindly haggling’ for 15 mins., you have two options. You can purchase the product, because in the end, what is 2 more dollars (my choice), or you can use this new Frisbee toss move to walk a few steps away and then pick up an object of your choice, and Frisbee toss it at his head and run like a bat out of hell. Benefit: No explanation needed.

- [Jump Rope] Reason: In case you are ever challenged to walk across hot coals. Your foot hoppin’ skills will be polished! Benefit: Impress the hell out of the locals, and maybe score some free food. Mmmmm.

- [Squats] Reason: Now here in the US, our bathroom experiences are spoiled events. I work at a bathroom fixture company, and trust me, people spend thousands of dollars on the bathroom remodel. Personally, my trips to the bathroom are like trips to the spa, leisurely, time consuming, and like a Coca-cola, refreshing! But, other countries aren’t so lucky. The adventure of going to the bathroom in other countries is exciting, and doing squats will help your cause. If you are traveling by bus, you may be going to the bathroom at the side of the bus where most sitting at windows can see you. If in the jungle, you may be going to the bathroom in an elevated wooden box above the river. Squats will help keep you from falling into the not-so-healthy river :-/ If in a rural town, you may be going to the bathroom in a public facility. Public…no doors…just flimsy siding. Squats help so you don’t have to touch the walls! And if you run across the occasional nice bathroom, you may have such thunder thighs (;-p) from all these squats that you won’t think twice about squatting over porcelain. Benefit: Pre-trip meditation over squats may save you some extra baths and cleansing.

- [Yoga] Reason: Uh…. Buddhism, duh. Benefit: Uh…relaxation, duh.

- [Crunches] Reason: This exercise has multiple benefits. These countries have beautiful beaches. When your prancing around on the beach, you don’t want the locals laughing at you, so I’d suppose a 6 pack is required! Haha, not. More importantly, when snorkeling or scuba diving in these world-renown dive spots, you’ll want the fish and turtles to be saying, ‘WOW, she must work out!’ Yes, it is very important they say this. More importantly even yet, when you try that mystery meat at the hawker food stand, you’re in for a surprise benefit of crunches. Crunches happen to be the same motion you’ll be using when your throwing that food up in the toilet, while doing squats!! It all comes together!!! Benefit: You’ll be able to hang with the locals, because one, your stomach is prepared for that sun tanning, and two, you’re able to eat what every mystery food they throw your way with those toned abs! (Side note: I don’t endorse the lap band belt, it will not get you the same effect with the locals!)


Sooo with your new workout list, you can now take it to your personal trainer and say 'I need Thunder Thighs, PRONTO!!" I wish you luck on getting in shape for your next adventure.
(p.s. I hope you find as much humor in reading this post as I did in writing it!)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Getting ready for a trip

There are a lot of things to do in order to prepare for a trip. Now a lot of that is due to your own ‘anal-ism.’ Do you need to plan every day, every place you stay, every price to nickels and dimes, etc… Well that requires a lot of research and time pre planning. Some people get just as excited about planning the trip as they do on the trip!

Others dread it like pulling teeth. “Where? When? How? …How am I supposed to know?” and then break down something like this   “Aahhh…don’t yell at me! I have a big head and little arms!!”  

Well, too much planning is for the birds,
Now as for me, here’s how I get ready for  trip;
The pre-travel To Do List is the most important to me (plus I love lists!) This includes everything from registering with the Embassy that I’ll be traveling, to setting up skype and email, to shots, to looking at pretty exotic pictures of the places I’m going, to budget estimates,  to packing up my personal items. Basically, things I can think of that will affect my 4 months away.
Now I’m no travel expert, but I think I do alright. 4 months is also a hell of a lot shorter than year. And this time, my life at home isn’t as chaotic and busy as it was last time around.

I feel like I’m setting the rest of my life up, when in reality it is only 4 months. But, it also pushes me to set up things I need to responsibly do anyways. For example, on Monday I opened my first credit card, to start building credit!! (WOW I feel soooo adult!!) To answer your question, no I didn’t go buy a whole bunch of REI equipment or Nordstroms clothes. I’m pretty responsible with money. Which is probably why I can travel the way I do. I’m not one to be surprised when I run out of money and have to visit the ATM. My mama taught me well, I’m a money conscious gal!

So as a responsible adult, I continue preparing for my trip. Bit by bit. I am one to love the planning stage. How I look at the planning process is a 2 month excuse to day dream about where I’ll be traveling to. Makes the days FLY by!

When it comes to planning what I will be doing while I’m there in country, I’m not anal at all. In fact no anal-ism, just flowing with the wind :-p This part of the trip is also a personal preference. Perhaps you as a traveler prefer to have your lodging, meals, and days planned. I don’t prefer having it planned because I feel I don’t miss anything when I am flexible. When I’m flexible, my day can revolve around eating everything at a street stand and strolling the outdoor markets, or spending the day in the park, or trying to lose those extra couple of pounds from all the delicious Thai food, or visiting a museum I had no idea was there, or meeting a new friend and finding a new place. I just don’t see the planned to the T days as my way. But, to each their own! The unpredictability of every given day is what makes traveling special to me! And I can’t wait til it is here!!!!!!!!


But, one big thing looms in the near distance. Packing…. Until then, enjoy what is going on in your life, and I’d love to hear from you!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Travel Update ***next trip***

Buddhist Temples, equatorial hot climates, street food, elephants, odd bowel movements, busy streets, foreign languages, world famous monuments, beautiful beaches, and jungle excursions.
Can you guess where I am going?
It all sounds like PARADISE to me!
Still can't guess where I'm going next...

Alright another clue: The region is a word scramble  esuaotsht siaa.

That's right, Southeast Asia!!

Last night, I booked my trip. My travel dates are from February 17th through June 16. 4 months. Let's say it again, together now, ready... 4 m-o-n-t-h-s. (wowza!) I know, I know, it ain't a year. But a year is a long time, especially when you've got something great going on here at home. Some would ask, if it is so great, then why the heck are you leaving again? hhmph, thats a great question that I don't know the exact answer to. But I have some uncharacteristically witty come-backs.

Why are you going then? Why are you not?
Why are you going then? TO SEE!!! Seeing is believing, seeing is learning, seeing is experiencing.
Why are you going then? Well I found this great word from a friend, Kent, 'Dromomania'. Dromomania is suffering from an uncontrollable impulse to wander or travel. Check out his website. I fear I suffer from a similar disease. He is far more experienced in travel than I, and I find him quite entertaining.

I am flying into the wonderful sounding city, Bangkok. Yup, who names a city that? Honestly? Well they didn't name it that originally, originally it is much more pleasant. The original name of this city is Guiness Record long, Krungthepmahanakornamornratanakosinmahintarayutthayamahadilokphopnopparatraj

That is the official name of Bangkok. which roughly translates to a story of the history of the place, but has been abbreviated to BANGKOK. ??? again, hhmph?

But this is not the only place I plan on going.With four months to explore, I plan on familiarizing myself with Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Other optional places I have my eye set on, and if the opportunity presents itself, Burma/Myanmar, Malaysia, Phillipines.
Now you guys may say, Cambo-da-what? Alright, quick geography lesson.
If we head from CA over the pacific, we'll wave down at the fishies, then wave down at the surfers in hawaii, then look upon the bright lights of Tokyo, then vere south toward China and Taiwan, probably wave down more fishies, start to decrease altitude, then land and come to a screeching hault in the peninsula of Southeast Asia. Arrived!

I'm very excited for this trip for quite a few reasons. One big reason is that, yes I have been to South America and Central America, but these countries I think will be a whole different story. Growing up in San Diego, the latino culture is very present, and boy do I love my comforting carne asada burrito, horchata, and rolled tacos, and the mixed english-spanish signs, songs, and commercials, but this will be differnt. South America is very different than the United States, but there is still something familar about it. But I won't discount that maybe in the entire world, people are just people, culture is just culture, places are just places, and as different as they may seem, they are quite similar indeed.
To find out if these are true or not, I travel.

I put together a simplistic list of goals, acheivable yet not too extravagent. Because truely, girls just want to have fun.
1. Ride an elephant while there
2. Scuba and snorkel some awesome places
3. Pick up a bit of the language
4. Trenza, Southeast Asian style, thanks Beth :-)
See those are acheivable and simple. All the rest of the experiences will be awesome too!!

OH, one more goal....


So, leave me a comment, your support, criticism. plans to join me? anybody out there?
I'd love to hear from you!! :-)
Until then, stay happy, and remember life is good.