E-mail About Trip
Highlights 2...
Oops! I missed quite a few things the last time around. Here are some additions if you are
holding onto these things for future reference…

Things I forgot to mention last time…

Museums, Memorials and Religious Places That Had an Impact on Me

  • S-21 prison camp (also called the Tuol Sleng Museum) in Phnom Penh
  • The forest in Russia (where the remains of the Romanov family were buried - outside
    of Yekaterinaburg)
  • Hagia Sofia (Ayasofya) – Istanbul
  • Synagogue in Budapest, Hungary
  • Evita Museum – Argentina
  • Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts – Moscow
  • Photography museum – Yekaterinaburg, Russia
  • Church of the Blood – It sits on the site where the Romanov family was killed in

Bigger cities that will not bring tears if I never see them again:

  • Ulan Bator, Mongolia
  • Amman (though I admit that I wasn't there too long but I just never took a strong
    liking to it…plus I ate a stale pastry from a bakery- I think that's what really turned me
    off to it)
  • Auckland (it was fine but just didn't really do anything for me)
  • Chengdu (just another big city in China – though it does serve as a base to get to the
  • Phnom Penh (I ended up enjoying it while I was there…but I don't need to go back)
  • Lima (some great neighborhoods…but I don't really need to go back)
  • Guayaquil (Ecuador's largest city – 2 nights there was definitely more than necessary)

City that people across the world have the wrong idea about: Beirut (it still saddens me
about the current situation in Lebanon as the entire country is such a wonderful place)

Animals I fell in love with:

  • Pandas, penguins, Bactrian camels, llamas, yaks, dancing elephants, baby lion cubs,
    giraffes, turtles, crabeater seals, bulldogs and sheepdogs in Argentine parks, koalas
    and kangaroos, ostriches.

Funnier Experiences

  • Watching the Oscars dubbed in Spanish while in Chile with a group of English and
  • Watching a kiddy triathlon in Chile. As the kids were crossing the finish line, the
    music that was being played was 'Sexbomb' by Tom Jones. Call me prude, but there
    was something not quite right about this!
  • The town was gathered around a little square in Copacabana, Bolivia. We went to
    watch the festivities. What were the festivities? A big event of musical chairs. Hey, it
    was pretty fun to watch. At least for the first two games…
  • When I meant to buy an apple from a babushka on the Trans-Mongolian train. The
    person insisted on coming into my train car and not just handing me the apple. All of a
    sudden, the entire bucket of apples was dropped onto my bed. Turned out my
    communication skills for 'one apple' appeared to them to be more like 'one bucket of
  • I also had a mission while on the first leg of my train ride: get our sourpuss of a
    provodnista to smile. A difficult feat. But with the offering of an apple, we became
    semi-buddies. I also used my Russian skills that I was practicing from my guidebook
    to ask her what her name was. Turns out it was Tatiana. I told her my name. We even
    hugged when it was time to part ways.
  • Eating at dive bars/restaurants on Christmas Eve and Christmas night while wearing
    our Santa hats in the middle of the Great Ocean Road in Australia. Fun times, indeed.  

Places People Unanimously Tend to Love

  • Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
  • Great Wall of China
  • Iguazu Falls, Argentina (that side is better than Brazil)
  • Galapagos Islands
  • Antarctica

Places Not So Unanimous (Some people looooove them and others are left feeling as if they
were over-hyped)

  • Terracotta Warriors
  • Machu Picchu
  • Thailand

Unexpected Treats Along the Way (The things these places all have in common is that I had
never heard about any of them before I left for my trip. Each place was a beyond-pleasant

  • Fort Cochin, India
  • Hangzhou, China
  • Irkutsk, Russia
  • Morro de Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Copacabana and Isla del Sol, Bolivia
  • Noosa, Australia
  • Byblos, Lebanon

Things I Did Not Enjoy During My Travels

  • Not being given some peace and quiet when I just wanted to relax and enjoy a place.
    Having people constantly hassle you to buy things or take a camel/donkey ride.
  • Long bus rides
  • The 'blad' at the place where we were volunteering in South Africa (this translates to
  • The hacking and spitting in China
  • Becoming untrusting of everyone after a few bad incidents
  • People are always rubbing their fingers together for 'baksheesh' in Egypt for doing
    absolutely next-to-nothing. Then they yell when you don't give it to them.

Okay, so I think this finally wraps it up. Stay tuned as there will be an email that I put
together of things I learned along the way during my trip!

:) Jen