Archive for 2007

About to go SCUBAing

Thursday, January 4th, 2007 by Brian

My laptop charger died after plugging it in to a bus socket so my phone and laptop are both out of juice. Usually Jennifer and I write at night and then upload pictures and post to the ‘logue here but we’re just getting short opportunities to check at Internet cafes until my replacement arrives [...]

G’day Mates

Monday, January 15th, 2007 by Jennifer

First, we apologize for slacking on the blog entries. We’ve been pretty busy here in Australia and are just now making the time to catch up. A few quick notes on some other sites we visited in New Zealand. Just before we left we headed to the Coromandel Peninsula for some beach [...]

Happy Birthday to Me

Thursday, January 18th, 2007 by Jennifer

On NYE I turned 31. I didn’t think it was so bad until I was filling out a form and had to check the 31-40 box. Ugh!
After a 12 hour bus ride north, the rain finally stopped and we were ready to hit the beach! We arrived in Airlie Beach and [...]

Finding Nemo

Thursday, January 18th, 2007 by Jennifer

One of the highlights of our trip to Australia was diving the Great Barrier Reef. We booked a 5-day course with Pro Dive Cairns, one of the best dive centers in the world. We spent two days in the pool learning all of the basic skills and three days on a boat out at [...]

Going “Up Over”

Thursday, January 18th, 2007 by Brian

As we cross the equator and leave “Down Under” for Vietnam tomorrow morning, I’m caught with a few parting thoughts about our time here in New Zealand and Australia. We’ve found the people lovely, the scenery amazing, the activities breathtaking and the food… well, the food was just so-so.
Nonetheless, this has been real “vacation”. [...]

Ho’s Hanoi

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007 by Brian

I worked hard to not title this first post from Hanoi, “Good Morning, Vietnam!”
We’re in Hanoi, capital of Vietnam, home to some 3 of the 83 million total people living in this country. After landing late on Friday, we caught a taxi for $12 to go the 45km from the airport into [...]

Climate Change

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007 by Brian

Although our friends here in Vietnam aren’t too keen on “recycling” (unless burning piles of plastic and trash alongside major motorways constitutes recycling), the news is full of climate change and the EU calls to focus on carbon caps. In countries where eating is more important than conservation, it’s all too apparent how critical [...]

Hue and Hoi An

Thursday, February 8th, 2007 by Brian

We arrived in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) today on a Pacific Airways flight from Danang. When confronted with a choice between a 17-hour $39 train ride and a 57-minute $55 plane flight, we plunked down our credit card about as fast as we could.
In our last update, I noted that while I was [...]

Same same but different

Saturday, February 10th, 2007 by Brian

This morning I was standing on the banks of the Mekong River in Vietnam, looking at the rising morning sun and listening to chanted Buddhist hymns. It wasn’t a show; just a local working towards enlightenment. The red sun was initially covered by clouds but had broken free and felt warm on my [...]

Some Thoughts on Vietnam

Sunday, February 11th, 2007 by Jennifer

Sitting in the Danang Airport I saw a tourist sign that said, “Vietnam- The Hidden Charm.” I thought to myself, “It’s so hidden I have yet to find it.” As Brian has already mentioned, I thoroughly disliked Vietnam. After our experience in Halong Bay, and all the trash and pollution everywhere, and [...]

“The Cambodian Police Want to Talk to You…”

Thursday, February 15th, 2007 by Jennifer

Brian didn’t mention that our Vietnamese guide said this to me as I tried to get my passport from her before we crossed the border into Cambodia. When I got on the phone, the guy on the other end would say hello, and I would say hello back, and we’d go on and on [...]

Monkey Business

Friday, February 16th, 2007 by Jennifer

Before heading up to Siem Reap, we went to the US embassy in Phnom Penh to have some pages added to our passports. I’ve never been to a US embassy but what I pictured in my mind was a building with a huge American flag in front, some American soldiers standing guard at the [...]

Angkor Wat

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007 by Jennifer

Really the only reason we wanted to go to Cambodia was to see Angkor Wat. It’s sort of like the pyramids in Egypt, you have to see it to believe it. And they shot parts of Tomb Raider there so how could we pass it up?
After a short ride through the countryside, we [...]

Giving Something Back

Wednesday, March 7th, 2007 by Jennifer

Brian and I have a policy of not giving money to beggars. You have to have a policy to deal with the countless number of beggars you find in these poorer countries or you’ll go broke or mad, or both. We don’t know who the money’s going to (sometimes adults will send out [...]

Into Laos

Thursday, March 8th, 2007 by Brian

We are on an 18-hour overnight train from Bangkok to Hat Yai in the south of Thailand so I am catching up on Laos.
We flew from Angkor and Siem Reap to Pakse in southern Laos. This guaranteed us a visa on arrival. The dual turbo prop Lao Airlines plane was on time and [...]

Vang Vieng

Friday, March 9th, 2007 by Brian

Laos is relatively green, mountainous and forested compared to its neighbors. There is apparently a big business in Vietnamese illegally logging in Laos (where its restricted) and then selling it back to Laotian middlemen who then sell it to Thailand (where logging is forbidden).
Vang Vieng is a mini adventure sport haven about halfway between [...]

City of the Great Buddha

Sunday, March 11th, 2007 by Brian

Everything we had read called Luang Prabang the jewel of Laos. Indeed, it’s nestled in the north about six hours from Vang Vieng and enjoys certain protections from overdevelopment due to its UNESCO world heritage status making it similar to Hoi An, Vietnam. Luang Prabang was once the capital of the Northern Province. [...]

27 Hours to Paradise

Tuesday, March 13th, 2007 by Jennifer

Generally, in this blog we’ve talked about the great places we’ve seen, the wonderful people we’ve met, and the delicious food we’ve eaten. Those are the good parts of traveling. But it’s not all fun and games. Let me tell you about the less glamorous side of travel.
We decided to take a [...]

Trying Thailand on for size

Wednesday, March 14th, 2007 by Brian

Have you seen those ferry disaster news stories from developing countries and wonder how hundreds of people die? I’m sitting on one of those boats now with every seat filled and every inch of available deck space filled upstairs. I can’t stand in the sun without sunblock for three hours as we travel [...]

Island Life

Thursday, March 15th, 2007 by Jennifer

There was only one thing on our to-do list on our first full day on Ko Lipe , maxing and relaxing. Ko Lipe is a really small island and has 3 small dirt trails that lead you from beach to beach. There are a few motorbikes, but otherwise, you walk from place to [...]

A Little Tsunami Won’t Stop Us

Friday, March 16th, 2007 by Jennifer

Our fellow travelers were right, Ko Phi Phi is beautiful. There are actually two islands, Ko Phi Phi Don, which is fully developed and Ko Phi Phi Leh which is restricted from any development. What makes them beautiful is the large limestone formations that surround them. Imagine huge limestone cliffs plunging straight [...]

Diving Expedition

Saturday, March 17th, 2007 by Brian

Jennifer has caught you up on where we’re at. We got into Khao Lak nice and early and checked in at Sea Dragon Dive Center to get our gear prepped for a 4 day/4 night liveaboard that would start in the Surin Islands, visit Richelieu Rock and Ko Bon and continue into the Similan [...]

Leaving Southern Thailand

Sunday, March 18th, 2007 by Brian

The last three days of Khao Lak have been awesome. Awesome because we did absolutely nothing. We literally spent the majority of each day in an Internet café getting caught up on errands, onward travel, our travelogue (sorry about that 3 week+ delay… we’re almost caught up!) and some work-related stuff. We [...]

“I’m disappointed in your writing because you haven’t been honest”

Monday, March 19th, 2007 by Jennifer

This is what Brian said to me over dinner. And I guess he’s right because I haven’t been completely honest. Mostly because I don’t want people to think that I’m ungrateful for this wonderful opportunity, or that I’m a “princess.” But truthfully, I haven’t had the best time in South East Asia [...]

Next Stop: Crazytown

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007 by Brian

I am standing in the Mumbai train reservation office at the head of the queue for tickets to Delhi on the overnight Rajdhani Express. The woman behind the counter is at least tri-lingual and runs her DOS-based reservation program as though she was playing 8-bit nintendo Track and Field (a legendary game where your [...]

More Mumbai

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007 by Brian

The rest of my first day in India included some walking about (including a second trip to the train station to finish my rail tickets where two guys tried for 15 minutes to convince me with stories of hardship that I should buy them shoe shine boxes).
In the Fort area, the former Prince of Wales [...]

Mas Mumbai

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007 by Brian

Adding time to Thailand meant taking away time in India so my plan is to move fast and just see the highlights – the kind of travel I normally shun but duty calls. I had ambitious plans for day 2 in Mumbai but I had to stay up late to call E-trade on the [...]

Club Med Nusa Dua Bali

Thursday, March 29th, 2007 by Jennifer

Aaaah, the good life! Now this is what I call a vacation.
I’m not sure how many of you have been to Club Med. It’s very French, which is usually a turn off for us Americans. My parents and my Uncle George and Mark have been to a couple of them, [...]

Balinese New Year

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007 by Jennifer

While I was at Club Med, the Balinese were celebrating the New Year according to their lunar calendar. Unlike the rest of Indonesia, over 90% of which are Muslim, the island of Bali is Hindu and Nyepi, the culimination of the week long festivities, is a Hindu holiday. A few days before Nyepi, [...]

Incredible India

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007 by Brian

Incredible India is an advertising slogan promoted by the government here and abroad. What a train wreck. This place is incredible in many ways but most of the adjectives that would follow would not be endearing.
Delhi’s version of Bangkok’s “no I don’t need a tuk-tuk…” t-shirt would require a magnifying glass and a [...]

A Cold and Wet Paris

Thursday, April 5th, 2007 by Jennifer

After a week in Bali I headed to Paris, France to take in the sites. I have been to Paris twice before, but both were weekend trips. However, I fell in love with the city. I really think it’s the most beautiful city in the world (at the least the part of [...]

Indian Food

Thursday, April 5th, 2007 by Brian

Even though I have come to enjoy Indian cuisine in the past couple of years, India wasn’t originally on my radar as a destination to visit. In college I went to this giant Indian buffet near El Camino and Lawrence Expressway and I only remember being overwhelmed and uninformed. The other thing I [...]


Tuesday, April 10th, 2007 by Brian

Getting to Jaipur by train was a no go with three separate bastards trying to “help” redirect me to an inflated bus ticket or a taxi for “only” 10x the cost. Eventually I took the Rajastan government bus which was nice and A/C and $4.50. I sat next to an Indian kid from [...]

Taj Time

Tuesday, April 10th, 2007 by Brian

I landed in Agra at about 5:30am after barely sleeping a wink. Six hours of swerving to overtake slower traffic or avoid potholes was not very conducive to resting. Regardless, I was here to see the Taj and I wanted to see it at sunrise.
Half-awake, I was ushered by a tout into a [...]

“Amazing means unbelievable”

Thursday, April 12th, 2007 by Brian

This is what my tout-guide told me as we sat looking at the shrine of the Shaikh Salim Chishti inside Fatephur Sikri. As if he was going to teach me something new about English but it did make me think about what constitutes “amazing”.
Having recently visited mind-blowing Angkor, I am unfairly conditioned for viewing [...]

Inconvenience Caused Regrettably

Thursday, April 12th, 2007 by Brian

I found myself back at the post-rave wasteland of New Friends Colony yesterday afternoon but this time the shops were open, people were bustling and the rats were suspiciously absent.
Sankar, head of business developent for an Indian offshore development company had just dropped me off after a nice meeting at their office (on a Saturday [...]

I must have crossed the border

Thursday, April 12th, 2007 by Brian

That’s what I’m thinking right now as I take a break from reading the fascinating “The World is Flat” to look out the window of my top floor, wood-lined room with fireplace and sitting area out onto the small garden where someone is sweeping up leaves from the grass.
I have come and gone from this [...]

There’s plenty of time to sleep when you’re dead

Saturday, April 14th, 2007 by Brian

From Delhi to Darjeeling to Dooars, the ambient noise level hasn’t changed much but just 1km off the road at the Jaldapara tourist lodge in Madarihat the sounds are completely different. Chirping birds, mooing cows and some kind of howling animal (a peacock I think). Despite the pack of stray dogs that kept [...]

Goodbye India!

Saturday, April 14th, 2007 by Brian

I feel like a pro as I dodge the bus station touts, pre-emptively wave off the beggard child and pit three taxi-wallahs against each other to save myself 40% off my taxi to the airport, finally ignoring his attempt to bait and switch me for an extra 50 rupees. India is my oyster; a [...]


Tuesday, April 17th, 2007 by Jennifer

We met Martin and Kasja on Frasier Island in Australia and quickly became friends. I mentioned I was going to be in Paris and they invited me for a visit to Sweden. So on the day before I was supposed to leave for Florence, I exchanged my train ticket for a plane ticket [...]

International Pit Stop: Italy

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007 by Brian

When we originally inserted a two week stop in Italy as part of our backpacker trip around the world, it was to celebrate surviving a month in India and to reward ourselves with some hard-earned rest and relaxation la dolce vita style.
In our revised schedule (and budget) with me spending two and a half weeks [...]

Scusi! Scusi!

Thursday, April 19th, 2007 by Brian

This is what my ears registered as my kidneys felt a one-two elbow from an Italian senior citizen pushing her way onto the already crowded bus. I was standing; make that, hovering, over the bus driver, cuddling the ticket validation machine, as the Campania region bus hurtled along the coast from Sorrento to Amalfi. [...]

We’re on the Inca Trail!

Friday, April 20th, 2007 by Brian

You might ask, how do we post a blog from the Inca trail in the Peruvian highlands? We don’t. We schedule it in advance. Most of you are unaware but we typically post the blog about 2 weeks after it happens. It takes us awhile to get the pictures online and [...]

La Calle Peligrosa

Sunday, April 29th, 2007 by Jennifer

Our trip to Peru started off pretty rocky. Our flight to Lima was Rome to Paris to Bogota to Lima. But due to the restrictions on our tickets (we had to always travel west), I couldn’t fly out of Rome since I’d already flown into Paris. As a result I had to book [...]

Machu Picchu

Tuesday, May 1st, 2007 by Jennifer

Before we even started our RTW trip, Brian knew he wanted to see Machu Picchu in Peru. We did some research and came across a company called Peru Treks in Cusco offering 4-day guided tours of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Peru Treks provides community outreach programs and has an excellent porter [...]

Breast Cancer Free, but not Guilt Free

Saturday, May 5th, 2007 by Jennifer

WARNING: The following blog contains references to certain of my body parts and is rather personal. If you are highly sensitive, easily embarrassed, or are a friend of Brian’s and only know me as “that girl in the pictures on Brian’s blog,” feel free to skip this post.
As we slept in Patrick’s apartment [...]

Sick and Tired of Panama

Sunday, May 6th, 2007 by Jennifer

We literally are sick, and are tired of seeing just our hotel room in Panama. We´ve been here 5 days now and have yet to see anything in Panama. Just after we left Cuzo and arrived in Arequipa, I got sick. Horrible stomach cramps, nasty diarrhea and generally feeling like crap. [...]

Recompensa ($$$) para mi mochillo robado

Thursday, May 10th, 2007 by Brian

Si usted tiene mi mochillo del autobus con mi computadora y pasaporte, pagaria mucho dinero sin preguntas para devolverlo. Mandeme un email a brian at
If you stole my laptop two hours ago on the San Jose – Fortuna bus and have my passport and computer, I will pay you a reward with no [...]

Archipelago Adventure

Friday, May 18th, 2007 by Brian

I’m sitting poolside on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica writing on my phone as the day winds down. I am about to recount, for the second time, our time in Bocas del Toro in Northeastern Panama since my prior literary genius is on the desktop of my stolen laptop (next to my stolen [...]

Pura Vida

Monday, May 21st, 2007 by Jennifer

“Pure Life.” That´s the slogan here in Costa Rica. I´m not sure I agree with it, but it´s on every souvenir here, so we´ll go with it. Brian and I have both wanted to come to Costa Rica for the natural beauty, outdoor adventures and ecofriendly travel. In fact my Costa [...]

Home Sweet Home

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007 by Jennifer

By the time you read this, we will be enjoying our first morning back in the good ol´ USA. We were originally scheduled to come home on June 5th, but we changed our plans to be present for my dearest friend Quiana´s wedding. I´ve known the girl for 22 years now, there was [...]

Winding Down

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007 by Brian

We are already back as Jennifer noted and here is the last entry from Costa Rica – beach time, diving and getting a new passport are all included.

30 Day Report

Friday, June 22nd, 2007 by Brian

It’s been just over 30 days since we said adios to Costa Rica and hopped a plane back to San Francisco. It has felt great to be home and see family and friends. Jennifer was so happy to be back she even thought the airport people in Atlanta were friendly!
There [...]

90 Day Report and Trip Statistics

Thursday, September 6th, 2007 by Brian

We’ve been back now for just over 90 days. Since our last update, Jennifer has taken a job at Aruba Wireless in Sunnyvale, I’ve picked up a business partner in and am working out of an office and we have moved to Los Gatos in the South Bay. Yes, we already [...]