Snorkeling, the new obsession

Manu has learned to snorkel here in the Philippines and now I fear that we will be spending a lot of time on islands from here on out! We really have seen a lot, just from the little resort where we are staying. Today was a particularly clear and calm morning with great visibility. We ventured out pretty far and were rewarded with some beautiful new coral formations and large schools of colorful fish. Random Observations from the Philippines: • Filipinos love pork. It is sometimes prepared in some not so easy on the eye ways. But I am sure …

Christmas in the Philippines

Season’s greetings from Port Barton on the island of Palawan. Personally, I am not much of a beach person, but after traveling now for more than 3 months, it is definitely time to take a break and recharge the batteries. Last week, we had the honor of attending the Italo-Filipino wedding of two former coworkers! Seeing Celina (Filipino-Canadian) and Peter (South Tyrolean-Italian) tie the knot was a cultural experience that we will not soon forget. We caught up with many people who we had not seen in many moons and met many lovely new people on both sides of their …

Bubble and Squeak and Birding at Bukit Fraser

Miles from the hectic streets of Kuala Lumpur, Fraser’s Hill offers cool temperatures, some colonial ambiance, and wonderful wildlife viewing. The British must have thought they had found paradise when they settled the hill station here in 1890. After all, it rains nearly everyday and the fog rolls in waves. But when it isn’t raining, Fraser’s is a very beautiful place to spend time. In the lush hills, gibbons call in the distance, the colorful birds are everywhere, and the clouds rolling through lend the place an otherworldly atmosphere. We had two really nice experiences here. The first involved a …

The Modern Working World

In the end, we spent much more time in Nepal than in India. Though we do wish to travel to India again someday, travel overland from Nepal back to India was either going to be very time consuming or expensive. We decided instead that it was time to move on to Southeast Asia. Conveniently, Air Asia, a discount Asian Airline, flies to and from Nepal. So online we went, and booked ourselves a cheap flight from Kathmandu to Kuala Lumpur. But it wasn’t until we were checking in at the airport that we realized why an Asian budget airline offers …

Life and Death in Kathmandu’s Pashupatinath

In Kathmandu, death and funerals are very public, especially if you are a Hindu. On Saturday, we experienced this first hand while visiting the Hindu Temple of Pashupatinath on the banks of the Bagmati River. Pashupatinath is where the Hindus of Kathmandu and larges parts of Nepal are cremated after death in a ceremony involving close family members and the general public. Ten bodies per hour may be cremated here, the bodies first being washed in the river by a close family member before being taken to a platform where wood and straw await. Families say their goodbyes and then …

Random Observations from Nepal

With the election over, we are finally free to travel again. Yesterday we visited Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, which is somewhat ironically located in a very Muslim part of Nepal. The world heritage site features temples erected by the many nations who practice Buddhism, including Austria! The Lotus Temple, erected by the Germans, was the highlight however. What a gem! • We have seen some hilarious knockoff brands. Our favorite so far being for Target, a general store here in Nepal. I took a horrible photo, please fee free to smile along with us. • Nepali people have the …

A Spot of Bother in Nepal

After departing Delhi, we headed East towards Nepal via Nainital, a small lake town in India’s Northwest. Letting the weather dictate our itinerary, we reasoned that heading to Nepal sooner than later would be a safe bet, in order to enjoy reasonably warm weather before winter sets in. This proved to be a wise decision, at least in the Western Terai region of Nepal where we have so far enjoyed warm temperatures in the mid 20s, albeit with very cool temps at night. Our goal: visit Nepal’s Western National Parks in the hopes of spotting one-horned rhino or perhaps a …

Delhi Belly- Great Food, Limited Visibility

Delhi was an experience! Bad, good, incredible, shocking, offensive, interesting and heartbreaking. Welcome to India! The sounds are overwhelming on the streets thanks to the incessant beeping of car horns. Whereas in Europe you would almost never hear a car horn, in Delhi not a second goes by without a honk! …. But we were very well fed. Random Observations from Delhi: Trusting people in Delhi is hard. You want to get close to the people, to speak and learn from them, but there are so many touts and cheats that this proves overwhelming. Service at our hotel was amazing. …

Big Cats! But Etosha Still Cheetahed Us

Big cats were on the agenda these last few days! Once again we popped the tent and headed out into Etosha National Park for three more nights, looking for lion, leopard and most especially cheetah. We saw the first two, but in the end the cheetah slipped through our fingers. I was, of course, inconsolable during the drive back to the farm on Friday. I hope we have more luck next week in India looking for tiger! Thursday was our big wow day. Twice we found ourselves in the path of passing elephants, the first time on the road east …