10.03.2009 40 °C
We've got just one more week in India until we fly back into Blighty and reality awaits. We saw the UK on tv a couple of months ago; it looked strange and foreign and cold!
We're currently on the Andaman Islands (about 12,000km east of India into the sea). They're really quite, peaceful and relaxed. We've spent the last week baking ourselves on the beach and snorkelling. Dan saw a sea cow, it swam right past him while snorkelling. I saw a turtle and convinced myself I had a fish bonding experience when a huge one with a rhino horn on it's head let me swim with it for over 20 minutes... It then swam off, so the experience obviously meant more to me than it! I didn't see the sea cow unfortunately, just Dan, but now he's got an ear infection and hasn't been able to go back into the water since!
What a year it's been!! We've both had adventures and seen things I'd never have thought possible. We've climbed mountains, dived with sharks, treked jungles, white water rafted, eaten and drunk the most incredible (not always in a pleasant way) things... We've seen land so bizzare and barren it looks like another planet and hardly anything lives there. We've been in dense, pristine jungle, so thick with life and growth, that it's as much a challenge as the barren landscape to survive in. We've climbed to the highest point in South East Asia and been at altitudes that make breathing a challenge and your head swim. We've spent hours in the sea, snorkelling and diving. We've treked to Machu Picchu and seen hundreds of amazing buildings and temples (a few too many temples if I'm really honest), we've seen amazing wildlife, where it should be, in the wild. We've tried our hand at so many different languages, some more successfully than others, from Spanish, which we managed ok with in the end, to Pigeon, which I will never tire of hearing. This year has been so fantastic, it's flown by in what seems like only a few weeks!
We didn't have the money or the inclination to travel the world in any sort of luxury. We've travelled thousands and thousands of miles on rickety busses and rammed trains, sleeping on the floor of boats or in hammocks, sweated our way walking through towns. We've taken the local way, and been rewarded for doing so by experiencing the richness of life in each country we've been to. The few times we have 'treated' ourselves to some luxury we've felt we've missed out, sitting in a nice air-conditioned carriage where everyone whispers to each other and there's no disturbances in the night - I can do that at home, where's the lad dressed as hanuman the monkey god, closely followed by a eunuch that puts a curse on you if you don't give her money, where's the guy selling stuff who examines you to see what he thinks you'll want to buy from him and then produces a set of steak knives!
We have met some amazing people on our travels, from locals to other travellers. There've been those who've greeted us with heart rendering warmpth and hospitality, those who've entertained us, educated us, confused us, infuriated us, helped us, got us lost, exposed themselves to us, followed us... they've all been a part of it!!
I'm writing this with such fondness, when I think of what a year we've had, and to have been able to share it all with Dan by my side has been truely incredible!
So next Wednesday we arrive home and much as we would both love to carry on travelling for many months and countries, we're both really looking forward to seeing our families and friends. I want to meet my niece (who apparently was sick on a photo of me Jane showed her in preparation for our return!) and see if my dad really does look like an extra from x-men with his red and black arm bandage, and I want to see for myself that my mum does really keep her new mobile switched on! I want to drink beer that's supposed to be warm and eat cheese!