Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Thanks to all the tour and expedition guides!!

We are currently at Victoria Falls and getting ready to do a days White Water Rafting. I am listening to the briefing that Hippo our guide is giving and by this I am reminded about the various guides and drivers we have met, travelled with and relied on through out the trip. I think that these guys and gals deserve a special and collective thanks from us both

We have trekked in Tibet with Chung Dak; Bumped around Mongolia; driven by Nemo; Learnt diving with PADI instructor Tom; Walked around the rice fields of Vietnam with the young informal tour guide girls of Sa Pa; lost and then found my Walking boots with the guides from Greenland Adventures; Jumped out of a plane with our tandem Sky Dive masters in NZ; enjoyed a life changing trip to Antarctica with Sebastian and his team; Climbed Cotopaxi with climbing guide Guido; Sweated in the desert of Jordan with Abed and his son Neal; Visited the tribes of the south Omo valley with Daniel and got soaked while white water rafting with Hippo and his gang.

These and many many other guides and drivers, have kept us safe and more than that helped us have some of the most amazing experiences I could ever imagine. I know this is their job but these people have a love for what they do, for their country and this is really infectious, they have really enriched our trip and I am thankful to them all!

Urvi would not have made it over the Drom La Pass on Mount Kailash if it were not for our driver and Chung Dak. This was the biggest achieved of the trip for her and it was the support and dedication of the driver that gave her the chance. We interact with people all the time, but when we meet guides and support teams, we build a short but important friendship. This is easy to disregard but it is important to acknowledge - thanks All!

Next time your are taking a guided excursion or thrill activity, spare a thought for the people who are assisting you, they are special and fun people!

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Returning to South Africa

Touching down in Johannesburg and taking a car to Blyde River Canyon and then Kruger gives me such a feeling that I am meeting up with an old friend, who I have not been in touch with for a while. South Africa was one of the places that I can say gave me a bit of the travelling bug. I came here for work almost exactly 8 years to the day, and travelled like a backpacker for the first time.

I was taken immediately by the beauty of the country and the warmth of the people. Despite the history and internal turmoil, the people I met then were so warm and welcoming. Nothing has changed, I have again been blown away by the natural beauty and diversity of South Africa, and once again can see why I feel in love with the people.

Ever since returning from South Africa last time I have not stopped talking about it. Especially Cape Town! And so we have decided that this would be the last country of the trip and Cape Town our last stop. I cant quite believe that we are here, at the final step, the final days. I am quite nervous after having raved about SA so much, I just hope that it will live up to the expectations that have been set.

South Africa is in fact the first country (excluding India) that either Urvi or I have been to before. This is a sign of just little we have travelled in the past and I guess something of a testament to how much travelling we have done on this trip! I was really keen to make sure that we don’t just replicate the trip I made all those years ago. Things have changed, we have changed and interests have changed. For example SA has some of the best National Park setups around, and last time I only got to 1 of the parks. This time we plan to go to many. In total we will be here for 5 weeks and I want to get to some new places, stay away from cities and make sure that we leave the trip with no regrets. This is a big ask but I think can be done in SA.

Cape Town should be the perfect place to end our trip, it has lots to do, great hostels and awesome food all set within one of the most beautiful cities in the world. There will surely be bittersweet feelings when we finally zip up our backpacks for the very last time but I cant think of a better place to be than SA for such a moment. The travel bug was seeded here and for me it will be renewed here. Maybe the next years wi just be a pause before another trip...

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