Hello Asia!

In a little over two weeks, Robert and I will depart on a new adventure. We are flying from Jacksonville to Bangkok to explore Southeast Asia for almost three weeks! We will start off in Bangkok, where will we then travel to Vietnam, and spend the majority of our time exploring this country. We’ll end the trip in Cambodia, before beginning our 44-hour journey home!

This trip has been a long time coming, and it’s been a dream of Robert’s since I met him. I was hesitant at first, mostly due to ignorance. I knew nothing about that part of the world, and it just didn’t interest me all that much. Since being introduced to Vietnamese cuisine, reading a book about the Cambodian genocide, and hearing friend’s story of her adventures in Bangkok, my attitude has changed toward this part of the world.

It’s nothing like I’ve ever experienced before, and that is what scared me. I realized that I was being irrational and unjust by not even giving it a chance. How can I knock something if I’ve never experienced for myself? Furthermore, how can I truly give it a fighting chance if I go into it with a negative outlook? Once I took a deeper look into myself and realized that I was just simply scared of the unknown, I abandoned my hesitation and decided to try it for myself so I could draw my own conclusions.

So, without further ado, here are some of the things that I am looking forward to in SE Asia:

1. Vietnamese street food- Pho is like crack. It’s cheap, it’s plentiful, it’s addicting. Also, I like my coffee cold and sweet, and I hear Vietnam knows how to do that perfectly.

2. Halong Bay- I’m a sucker for beautiful beaches. Add a kayaking trip and some caves and I’m sold.

3. Angkor Wat- Everyone says that the pictures just don’t do it justice. I need to experience this for myself!

4. Thai Massage- I can’t tell if I’m more nervous or excited. I’m not limber, at all. So, this should be interesting when they try to contort my body.

5. Spending time with my hubby- Anytime that we are on the same sleeping schedule together is a treat. I get 19 days of waking up next to him and I couldn’t be more excited!

 

And, any pre-trip ramblings would not be complete without sharing what I’m nervous about…..

1. Squatty potties– No, just no. I’m still a diva at heart.

2. Chopstick efficiency- I only learned how to use chopsticks properly a few months ago. I’m still worried that I won’t be able grab my noodles correctly and that all of the locals will be laughing at me (that’s why I’m carrying around an emergency spork).

<——This is me.

3. Getting ripped off by a tuk-tuk driver- We don’t speak the language and we’re clearly tourists that need a ride. Why wouldn’t they try to get an extra dollar from us?

4. Falling off an elephant- As my plans DO include riding an elephant in Cambodia, I can’t help but to be a *little* paranoid that I might fall off and break my neck. Or worse…. what if I get trampled?!

 

All of these things and more I shall soon discover! Keep posted for updates during the trip.
-Kaylee

 

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It’s True What They Say….

Truman Capote put it nicely when he said “Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go.”

Venice truly is one of the most beautiful cities in this world. A timeless floating island with narrow, windy streets packed full of rich history, how can one not fall in love? If if ever get the chance I recommend not only experiencing Venice in the day, but also succumbing to its charms when night falls. The city is lovely by day, but it becomes something magical at night.

Can’t I just sleep here?!
Having a fun photoshoot in the rain

Yes, Veince is chock-full of tourists, but for good reason. Who wouldn’t want to experience this amazingness….. especially before it disappears. This ancient city is slowing sinking, and some of the basements are currently underwater. In the future, this city will be only a distant memory of place where merchants once lived and tourists once swooned.

We arrived in Venice utterly exhausted, after 20+ hours of international travel and no sleep for Kaylee before that (thanks night shift). Venice welcome us with open arms, strong lattes, and lots of pizza.

Our top three Venice memories:

1. Getting stuck (yes stuck) in the city.
“Remember that one time we were stranded in Venice?” Robert will ask me all the time. On one hot May day (and many more I presume) there was a transportation strike and all public transportation in the island was suspended for a short period of time (around one day). Without going into too much detail, organized strikes are apparently common in Europe. The only way to get in or out was to pay an arm and a leg for private transport…. no thanks.
We had no choice but to stay put. With no further ado, we plopped ourselves down at a fancy cafe in the middle of St. Mark’s Square, ordered an outrageously expensive bottle of wine (ouch), and listened to the live music for hours. It was awesome.

Venice-alone-1024x512

2. Taking a Gondola ride at sunset.

Venice is expensive, and if you want to take a gondola ride it will cost you your first born child. It’s worth it. Yes, it’s touristy. Yes, it’s a little cheesy. But it’s also romantic, and a great way to see the city from a new perspective and find small canals that you otherwise would have missed. We went at sunset, and it was drizzling which I though might put a damper on things (pun intended). But no worries, our Gondolier was prepared with a large umbrella to keep us dry, and 15 minutes in the drizzle stopped. I really was sad when the ride was over! It was just so beautiful, and I always find being on the water is peaceful. Bottom line– When in Venice, consider a gondola ride.

Go Gondola!

3. Experiencing the city at sunrise.
With jet lag creeping in, we found ourselves wide awake before the swarm of cruise ship tourists showed up. We decided to explore St. Mark’s square and the Rialto bridge while it was still quiet. This was a smart move, as we had this magical place all to ourselves. We had fun doing a self-guided tour and taking pictures, not having to worry about anyone bumping into you and photobombing the shot. We also felt like we experienced “true” Venice, where locals were setting up shop, Gondeliers were cleaning their gondolas in anticipation of a busy day, and the streets were essentially desolate.

I don’t know if our future travels will bring us back to this wonderful place, so I’m glad we got to experience it before it is no longer.