Sensing the end….

Wow! Last night lying in bed, I realized I’m down to two weeks left in Southeast Asia. I actually started to cry! I’ve had an incredible time and certainly, it’s not over yet. Luckily, my foot is feeling better and I’m ready to take on Bangkok with a vengence!

While I’m killing some time waiting for my night train to Bangkok from Chiang Mai, I thought I’d take a few minutes to reflect on my journey so far. I’ve learned a lot – like for instance, that I love pineapple shakes! Why can’t I make these at home – you can bet, I’m gonna try! There’s a million things I could list that I’ve learned about myself and you can bet in the future, I will blog about that! But for now, I really want to focus on what I’ve seen and felt here in SE Asia.

Mostly, it’s been a roller coaster ride for the senses! Let me explain!

The smells here are amazing and yet, not always pleasant! One minute it’s the smell of all the beautiful flowers and greenery that grows here. Then it’s the myriad of foods they cook here – curries and noodles and chicken and pork. The smell of cinammon is often found here. And then, there’s the smell of the street – garbage rotting and the always present smell of sewer water. And let’s not forget the dreaded durian fruit. You simply cannot describe the smell. The best I can say is that it’s a combination of sweaty socks, armpits, and possibly a hit of pineapple thrown in. It’s horrible! And yet, these people love this fruit…I can not bring myself to get it into my mouth! Sorry!

One of my favorite photos!

From the hot, sandy beaches to the crumbled, torn-up sidewalks, experiencing SE Asia is a challenge to even the healthiest feet! The concrete in Bangkok goes on forever. But in Malaysia, it’s a miracle to walk down any sidewalk without falling in a hole or tripping on an uneven sidewalk. Penang is simply the worst – I could never look up when walking in Penang – I always had to look at the sidewalk! The holes and loose bricks and uneven walkways were a constant threat! And the feel of icy cold water everywhere during Songkran in Chiang Mai – wow! The winner though, hands down, is the feeling of motion here. The ferries, trains, buses and minivans are not for the faint of heart! Dramamine is my friend!!

The sounds of SE Asia are amazing. The sleek Skytrain of Bangkok is barely audible. But outside the Skytrain, the sounds of touts is never-ending. Someone is always selling something and farangs (foreigners) are always the target! In Koh Samui, the sale is about MA-SSAGE?????? That’s how the girls say it…with a long delay in both syllables and as if asking a question. In Kuala Lumpur, the horns and constant traffic are only matched in volume by the Call to Prayer broadcast over the speakers strategically placed all around town. The greatest sound…the quiet Kob Kun Kaa (thank you) spoken by a Thai with the little bow of the head and the prayer-like position of their hands!

Padthai, banana pancakes, fried bananas, mango sticky rice, and of course, my favorite…pineapple shakes! The taste buds are always on overload in SE Asia. There are many things I didn’t try because I don’t like spicy food. But the things I have tried that I like, I just can’t seem to get enough of them! Pineapple shakes are my absolute favorite – I think it’s because they are so light and yet, so sweet! Last night, I tried fried bananas and they are awesome. The chicken and pork satay is always good when walking around….nothing like eating meat off a stick! Even western food is interesting…..nothing tastes quite the same! In Penang, I tried the Nonya style of food – way to spicy for me…but certainly an adventure!

By far, the eyes have the most to absorb here although the nose is certainly the runner-up! I could never be here without a camera because describing the beauty amid all the chaos that is SE Asia would be impossible!  The magnificent skyline of Singapore seen from the Singapore Flyer, the beauty of the southern Thailand lagoons and limestone formations and white beaches with crystal clear water, the serene and surprising National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, the silent parade of monks walking through hectic and never-stopping traffic of Bangkok – none of these things can be described without photos!  And certainly, the people of Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand, working, smiling, living life just like we do in America.

All of these things will soon be a distant memory for me. I’m so glad I have the photos to help remind me of the smell and feel and sounds and tastes of SE Asia now that it’s getting near the end. I hope you’ve enjoyed it too through what I’ve written about, but hey, I still have two weeks in Bangkok!!! Get ready for more!!

Cheri 🙂

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14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. josie
    Apr 16, 2012 @ 05:43:27

    Sounds like you’re having an awesome time!

    Reply

  2. michemozaix
    Apr 16, 2012 @ 06:45:12

    I have loved every post! Thank you so much for sharing your adventures!

    Reply

  3. michemozaix
    Apr 16, 2012 @ 06:45:59

    I have loved every post! Thanks so much for sharing your adventures!

    Reply

  4. Travel Spirit
    Apr 16, 2012 @ 07:10:24

    Have you had many massages yet? I had three while in SE Asia…loved them!

    Reply

  5. Aunt Sandie
    Apr 17, 2012 @ 17:35:56

    Great blog Cheri. I love to travel but going to Asia has never occurred to me. Because of your blog I will have to put this on my travel list of countries to see.

    Reply

  6. Debbie Motto
    Apr 20, 2012 @ 17:18:48

    Hey Cheri! I finally got out of the Mar 31st post…it has skipped from Mar 31 to April 14…Don’t know what I’m doing wrong that I can’t get them but I’m sure its my inexperience on a blog. I’ll figure it out one day when I have time to actually read the instructions. For instance, I’m sure the “RSS feed” an RSS Comment mean something and probably has something to do with the problems I’m having. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I just read your comment you left on my son, Chad’s blog. Thanks for writing to him. I’m sure he’s dieing for some American conversation by now! That was really sweet of you to say hi! :o)

    Enjoy what must be your final week by now. So are you headed “home” then?
    Pleasant journeys, pleasant memories with many more to come I’m sure! You are an adventure woman who will not be kept down I’m quite sure! :o) I hope we will keep in touch once your return to “real” life and share with me how your experiences have affected you as you move on. My prayers are with you for safe travels wherever you go! God bless you.

    Reply

    • cheriarnold
      Apr 24, 2012 @ 08:17:07

      I haven’t been posting every day Debbie. I don’t think you’re really missing anything! 🙂 Thanks for following along!! 🙂

      When I leave Thailand in a few days (4/30), I’ll be heading to Paris and then down to the south of France to start walking the Camino de Santiago!! I will need lots of prayers for that 500 miles of walking especially since the plantar faschiitis!! Thanks!!

      Reply

      • Debbie Motto
        Apr 24, 2012 @ 22:18:47

        See…its things like this that amaze me! I have the plantar faciitis also and wouldn’t dream of trying to walk 5 blocks!!! LOL! I actually have the plantar faciitis on my heels and nueromas on the balls of my feet so that pretty much takes care of much walking!

        I will continue to check back with you and your blog frequently as I don’t want to miss a post! :o)

      • cheriarnold
        Apr 25, 2012 @ 00:49:12

        Isn’t it just the most awful thing? I’m so glad the darn thing is healing. I think I would have tried the walk no matter what, but now I’m just so excited because it’s really feeling better! Hopefully I won’t aggravate it with all the walking, but I set aside a much longer time to do it than it really takes. That way, if I need to stop earlier I can or take a day off from the walking…whatever I need to do to stay healthy!

        Glad you’re following along Debbie! 🙂

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