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To Infinity and Beyond. "Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Mission 10.

PHILIPPINES | Wednesday, 30 December 2009 | Views [1102]

Rina was sweet enough to give me a list of things to do while on this two-week solo trip starting from Vietnam through Laos and ending in Thailand. Dubbed the Mission 10, she came up with the list to keep me out of my comfort zones and routines while traveling, and have fun while doing it. I was convincing her to reward me with a nice prize (like an all-expense-paid trip to China) if I was able to put a check on all 10 items, but it seems the proposition got muffled during the goodbyes. 

Anyway, here's the list and how far I've gone through it:

  1. 1. Photo of an old model Volkswagen. We just love the “beetle” car, and we enjoy seeing it everywhere and anywhere we go. I saw one at Hanoi and a few at Phonsavan in Laos, but I couldn't take a shot either because my camera was in my bag or I was inside a vehicle. I finally spotted one near Th Khem Khong at central Luang Prabang.

  2. 2. Photo of of myself at a border crossing. From our southeast Asia trip last year, Rina knew I kept my DSLR in my bag during border crossings because I just got anxious at the immigration. I still felt the same while crossing the Nam Can border between Vietnam and Laos, only this time I was motivated by a faint possibility of a prize so I took my camera out.

  3. 3. Description of the best meal I have had. Not yet completed as I'm still on the second half of my trip, but I have two candidates so far.

  4. 4. Buy a nice scarf and/or a pair of earrings for Rina. Well, I don't normally shop for these kinds of items. The bottom line really is to get her a pasalubong she wanted, but this idea I'm sure also came with the thought of me haggling as well. So I got her scarves (and some for Mama and Rina's mum as well) from Van Phuc silk village near Hanoi and at the night market in Luang Prabang.

  5. 5. Story of a stranger I've befriended and something about that person's life. I met Q in Hanoi in a very unusual circumstance; I leave the story of our acquaintance in another blog.

  6. 6. Photo of myself driving a local form of transport. Still working on it.

  7. 7. Write and send Rina a postcard. Done. But it seems I will get back home much sooner than my postcards. This is the first time I've sent personal mail again by post since the last decade.

  8. 8. Draw a map of my journey by hand with annotations of trip highlights. Also working on it.

  9. 9. Photo of myself wearing a local costume. Gulp.

  10. 10. Photo of a Christmas tree in Laos. I thought this was going to be tough since Laos was a buddhist nation. But lo and behold, I was surprised to see those familiar decorated pine trees at Luang Prabang. The locals may not celebrate Christmas, but the tourists do.

My scorecard so far reads 6/10. I see two more in the bag soon, but I'm still scratching my head on the last  two. Stay tuned.

Tags: backpacking, hanoi, laos, luang prabang, travel, vietnam



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