English | Dutch
The holiday has come to an end
Bangkok (Thailand) to Bangkok (Thailand), Oct-15-09 / Dec-14-09

Our ‘holiday’ is over. We had really a fantastic time in Europe, but we are burning again to start with the third stage of our journey. We are at the moment in Bangkok again and are in anticipation for our Chinese visa to be issued. If everything goes well, we get our visa tomorrow (Wednesday) and we will fly to Shanghai, the starting point of our first trip to China, this Saturday.

Our stay in The Netherlands was as expected tremendous. Like last time, we stayed half of the time at Ivonne’s parents, and the other half of the time at Edwin’s parents. And because our parents are only living a thirty minute drive apart, we swapped places weekly. They treated us like a queen and king. We got all the care and attention we needed. At the beginning of our stay in The Netherlands, we also went for twelve days to Florida to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the marriage of Edwin’s parents. Together with his parents, his sister, husband and two children, we had a perfect time in the US. We spend the first couple of days around Orlando, to visit among other things Disneyland. But the icing on the cake was definitely the cruise we did in the Caribbean (see also the article: Cruising to the Bahamas).

A good dinner at the parents of Ivonne
Obviously, we used the period in The Netherlands also to arrange some things we needed to do. We got some new vaccinations, did our taxes, did some banking business, backuped all our movies and photo’s, did some preparations for the third stage of our trip and washed or cleaned all the stuff we have in our backpacks. And just before we left, we also celebrated ‘Sinterklaas’. Sinterklaas is some kind of a fairytale in which most children between 0 and 8 years old believe in The Netherlands. The fairytale tells that Sinterklaas comes once a year from Spain to The Netherlands to bring presents for the children. Sinterklaas has a lot of helpers (called ‘Zwarte Pieten’) who help Sinterklaas to distribute all the presents to the children. The story also tells that the children who have been sweet during the year and who sing Sinterklaas songs a lot, get most presents. For that reason children try to be as sweet as possible during the Sinterklaas period. Of course, in fact all presents are bought by the parents. That is the big secret behind the Sinterklaas fairytale. So, the months we spend in The Netherlands were great but elapsed quickly. Before we really realised, we were back on our way to Asia again. These ‘holiday’ months in Europe were not as relaxing as they might seem. We slept a lot after our arrival in Bangkok. We had to get up early on the first morning after our arrival, because we wanted to be at the Chinese embassy early, but the following three nights, we slept around the clock easily.

These days of resting, days that we don’t do a lot more than waiting for our Chinese visas to be ready, are also great days to sit on a terrace, drink some coffee and enjoy the fact that we are travelling. We also talk a lot about the great things we already saw, and of course about the things to come. A couple of dates in the next stage of our journey are already fixed. We know for example that we will celebrate Chinese New year (February 14th 2010) in Hong Kong. During Chinese New year, many Chinese people try to visit their native soil, stressing the public transport system. For that reason, we thought that it would be smart to sit and wait in Hong Kong till everything is over. Besides that, halfway February our visa runs out, which means we had to leave China anyway. After Chinese New year we fly to the city of Davao on the island of Mindanao in the Southern part of the Philippines. We went to the Philippines last year, but decided to go back to see some more of this beautiful country. We hope for example to see the Great Philippine Eagle on Mindanao, the biggest Eagle on our planet, capable of catching and eating monkeys! Besides that, we want to bring a visit to the Philippine island of Palawan, where we want to do some diving. After seeing also the north of the Philippines, we travel back to Hong Kong to arrange a new Chinese visa and hopefully also a Russian one.

Sinterklaas brought us this year a lot of presents

We booked our tickets to and from the Philippines already in The Netherlands. The earlier you book, the cheaper the price is. We fly with the Philippine budget airline Cebu Pacific Air (www.cebupacificair.com), and we know from the flights we had with them last year, that they are reliable. After getting a new 2-months Chinese visa in Hong Kong we plan to see the state of Yunnan in the Southwest of China after which we also want to see the less visited states of Sichuan and Qinghai, both located on the Eastern side of Tibet. Thereafter, we have to hurry to the North-eastern part of the country to leave China for Russia. The time till half of July we think to spend mainly in Russia, but also some days in Mongolia to get a new Chinese visa again. Somewhere halfway July we are back in Beijing to pick up Sten and Joris from the airport. Sten is a son of good friends of us, who decided, together with a friend, to join us for a month on our journey through China. After we say goodbye to them in August, we go back to Mongolia to see the country in more detail. However, at the end of September, we are back in Beijing again to pick up the parents of Ivonne this time. They also visited us at the beginning in 2009 and decided to come back. This time for three months!

With the parents of Ivonne, we want to do probably the most spectacular route you can do in this part of Asia. We start in Beijing and after seeing some sights in this part of China, we proceed to the high plateaus of Tibet. Afterwards we cross the Himalaya, do a great trekking, and will try to find the wild elephants and rhinos in the dense jungle of Southern Nepal. After collecting enough courage we cross the border to India, visit the holy city of Varanasi, try to see a wild tiger in one of the great Indian park, and end the trip in the most hectic city of India: Calcutta. So, the program for the next stage is promising again!


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