E-mail About Trip
Unlike Phileas Fogg, I decided to do this in the most round-about way as possible (note:
this reference is lost on you if you have no idea about the book 'Around the World in 80

I ended up getting to all 7 continents, in addition to the Middle East and the Indian
Sub-Continent...talk about racking up some mileage!

In my last email I sent out from my trip I said I would be sending a few follow-ups. This is
the first. This one will focus on some of the different locations I went to and things I did.

But before I get to that, I am going to drop a mini-bombshell: after a friend's wedding this
August, I am taking off for 'RTW part 2'. I made this decision last week for two reasons: 1) I
still had the travel bug and 2) all of my stuff is still in storage so there is really no
preparation that needs to be done. And isn't it only right that I make use of all that I learned
while I was on my 'RTW part 1' trip???

Well, enough about that. It is time for me to write about the things I saw and experienced
during the past year of my life. Some of this will consist of lists; other parts won't. And as
for the following lists...it is extremely hard to put certain things in the exact order of how I
felt about a place. Many won't be in a particular order - if they are mentioned, they are
places that I felt a particular attachment to. All of this being said, take my opinion with a
grain of salt. I am sure that there are places I loved that others don't and vice versa.

I will start with the answer to the most popular question I have received: 'What was your
favorite place?'

Favorite places in terms of scenery:

Antarctica (#1 all the way)
Cappadocia, Turkey (absolutely breath-taking)
Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia (surreal)
Galapagos Islands (a sea lion next to a penguin in front of a cactus on volcanic rock surrounded by
bright blue waters...)
Views while hiking the Great Wall of China
Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina
Driving Through Rajasthan, India
Croatian Coastline
Backwaters of Kerala, Southern India
Hong Kong skyline at night
Li River, China
Halong Bay, Vietnam
Lake Bled, Slovenia

Favorite Beaches

Anse Source d'Argent, Seychelles (the most beautiful beach I have ever seen!)
Maldives (my own luxurious heaven)
Bol on the island of Brac in Croatia
Just south of Beirut, Lebanon (I know you might not believe me...but it is gorgeous!)
Dahab, Egypt (a very laid-back paradise)

Favorite Big Cities

Buenos Aires, Argentina
Cape Town, South Africa
Hong Kong, China
Sydney, Australia
New York, USA (representin'!!!!)
Ho Chi Minh City (i.e. Saigon), Vietnam
Beirut, Lebanon
Tel Aviv, Israel
Prague, Czech Republic
Budapest, Hungary

Favorite Smaller Cities

Hoi An, Vietnam
Noosa, Australia
Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic
Rovinj, Croatia
Eger, Hungary
Udaipur, India
Byblos, Lebanon
Hangshuo, China
Cochin, India
Pushkar, India
Puerto Varas, Chile
Buzios, Brazil

Favorite Outdoorsy Places (in no particular order)

Nepal (along the Annapurna circuit)
Cape Peninsula and Garden Route, South Africa
Torres del Paine, Chile
Wadi Rum Desert, Jordan
Iguazu Falls, Argentina
Atacama Desert, Chile
West Coast of South Island, New Zealand
Cape Reinga and Bay of Islands in the North Island, New Zealand

Best Museums and Memorials

Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, Israel
War Remnants Museum, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Auschwitz, near Krakow, Poland
Egyptian Museum, Cairo, Egypt
Site of the World Trade Center, New York, USA (at least for an American, it is extremely moving. I
would hope it would be that way for others, too.)
Slave Lodge, Cape Town, South Africa
Malba, Buenos Aires, Argentina
National History Museum, Ulan Bator, Mongolia
Hoa Lo Prison, Hanoi, Vietnam
MOMA in New York, USA

Favorite Tropical Places

Maldives (my taste of sitting in the lap of luxury on this trip. Happy 30th birthday to me!)
Seychelles (even with horrible weather the beaches were truly gorgeous)
Whitsunday Islands, Australia (cruising around this area is a MUST if you are on the east coast of
Fiji (must be open to the fact that service will be extremely laid back, even if staying at a nice resort)

Places Where the Dollar Goes the Furthest

Buenos Aires, Argentina
Cape Town, South Africa

Places Where It Doesn't

New Zealand
Moscow, Russia
Seychelles (at least in terms of eating at restaurants)
Hong Kong

Favorite Splurges Along the Way

Three Weeks on a Trans-Mongolian Trip
Trip to the Maldives
Volunteering with Panda Bears at the Wolong Reserve in China
Galapagos Islands
Trip to the Seychelles
Easter Island, Chile
Having a driver and staying in beautiful places for 10 days throughout Rajasthan, India (of course, this
could also fall into a category: 'Times I Got Scammed'. But it all worked out in the end.)
Volunteering at the Cango Wildlife Ranch in Oudtshoorn, South Africa
'Camping' safari in Africa (though I must say I felt like this was far from an actual 'splurge')

Best Ancient Sites I Saw

Everything through Egypt
Temples at Angkor (my fave was Angkor Thom), Cambodia
Petra, Jordan
Old City of Jerusalem
Machu Picchu, Peru
Baalbek, Lebanon
Mount Sinai, Egypt

Great Religious Sites

Old City of Jerusalem (inc. the Western Wall), Israel
Umayyad Mosque, Damascus, Syria
Jain Temple, Ranakpur, India
Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Bangkok, Thailand
Durbar Square, Kathmandu, Nepal
Ossuary in Sedlec, Czech Republic
Yonghe Lamasery, Beijing, China
Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey

Favorite Splurges on Activities Along the Way

Hang-gliding, Queenstown, New Zealand
Scuba Diving (Red Sea in Egypt, Seychelles, Thailand, Great Barrier Reef, Easter Island, Galapagos)
Abseiling (i.e. rapelling) down a cliff, Knysna, South Africa
Hot-Air Balloon Ride in Cappadocia, Turkey
'Zorb'ing, New Zealand
Spa Treatments (ones that were noteworthy: Maldives (how many times do you get to look down at
the glass floor and see that ocean and little sharks while having a massage???), L'Apothequaire in
Saigon, Buzios in Brazil (at the Casas Brancas), Bangkok (at the Thai Privilege Spa), etc.
Microflight, Victoria Falls, Zambia
Whitewater Rafting, Victoria Falls, Zambia
'Futbol' Game in Buenos Aires, Argentina (Viva Boca Juniors!)
Helicopter Ride over the Twelve Apostles, The Great Ocean Road in Australia
Flight over Mt. Everest, Nepal
Cooking classes in Vietnam, Thailand and India

Favorite Purchases Along the Way

My Straight Hair in Beijing, China (gotta love what they can do with chemicals!)
Turkish Carpet, near Pamukkale, Turkey
New clothes, dresses, shoes and purses in Buenos Aires, Argentina (staying in the Palermo Viejo area
ended up costing me a lot of money-- too many great shops!)
A great silver and mother-of-pearl ring in Chiang Mai, Thailand
These great ceramic vases in Cape Town, South Africa (sadly...of the four, only one of them survived
the trip back through the mail. At least one of them still lives on.)
Sari-Covered Journals and Albums in Udaipur, India
Wine! (New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina)
Lacquerware serving pieces, Vietnam
Malachite jewelry in Kathmandu, Nepal
Suits in Vietnam

Ethnic Food Items That I Loved

Green papaya salad in Thailand and Vietnam
White Roses in Vietnam
Ceviche in Peru and Ecuador
Banh in Vietnam
Empanadas in South America
Salteñas in Bolivia
Momos in Nepal
Yogurt in Australia
Mango with Sticky Rice in Thailand
Pieroshkies in Poland
Provoleta in Buenos Aires
Kumara (i.e. sweet potatoes) in New Zealand
Dosas, tikkas and tandooris in India (in addition to all of the different bread items)
Hummus and baklava in Lebanon
Falafel and Rugelach in Israel
Alfajores in Argentina and Chile
Black-pepper crab in Singapore
Fuul in Egypt
Tropical Fruits of Asia (to name a few: mangosteens, rambutans, dragonfruit, custard apples, etc.)
Blinis with smoked salmon in Russia
Different dumplings in Shanghai
The ginger candy made in Yangshuo, China
Blackberry juice in Ecuador

Best Things I Brought With Me

Ear plugs
Travel parka (even when trying to follow summer, it rains a lot!)
Sting-Eze - relief for mosquito bites
Mini Swiss army knife
Cocoon Sheet - protects you from shady beds you might come across

Experiences I Would Rather Not Re-Live

Overnight bus ride in Bolivia
Humid overnight bus ride in India where I had a bed (needless to say, my cocoon sheet came in beyond
handy for this)
Trying to get a Russia visa
Spending hours and hours in the old section of Cairo looking for a place to send a package

Things That Are Easy to Take For Granted

Hot showers
Toilet paper (and while we're at it...toilets, in general)
Toiletries in hotels
Having access to clean clothes
Being able to throw toilet paper into a toilet (versus a rubbish bin)
Diet Coke

Other Things:

Most Loved Word that I Heard: Cheeky
Most Hated Word: Baksheesh (particularly with the rubbing of the thumb and the first two fingers)
Coldest, Harshest People: Russia (particularly Moscow)
Warmest People: throughout South-East Asia, New Zealand, Argentina
Favorite Wine I Purchased: Mt. Difficulty Pinot Noir, New Zealand
Most Interesting Wines I Tried: Sparkling Reds in Southern Australia
Most Unique Wine Tasting Experience: Eger, Hungary
Most Challenging in Terms of Communicating with People: Brazil
Favorite Cuisine of Food: Vietnamese
Worst Haggling: Bedouins in Petra (Egypt comes in at a close second)
Best airlines: Singapore, Emirates and Kingfisher (low-cost carrier in India)
Worst airline: Aeroflot (Duh!!!)

Number of Countries I Went To: 39
Number of Miles Traveled: Approx. 124,000
Number of Different Currencies Used: 38
Number of Different Airline Carriers I Used: 33
Number of Books I Read: 39
Number of Items I Had That Became Lost or Broke Along the Way: 29
Number of Visas I Needed: 14
Total Cost of Entire Trip (including everything i.e. all purchases made along the way): $54,000 (and
just remember I didn't have to deal with any of the living costs of San Francisco for over an entire year)
- it's a lot of money but I was fortunate to have a decent stash of money that was put aside for a
wedding and money that I saved up. I don't regret spending one penny of this amount!

Well...I know there is sooo much that I omitted but this was a start as to the amazing things
that exist out there in the rest of the world. And I didn't even get to mention all of the
amazing people I met along the way.

I know there will be another email sent out at a later date talking about the different people
and cultures I came across. This one was a bit more about my 'experiences'. Once again, a
very lengthy email from Jen. I know, I know. But really...would you expect it any other

Till the next time (oh yeeeeah, there WILL be a next time!),
:) Jen