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Phew, that was Close!

AUSTRALIA | Monday, 28 February 2011 | Views [561]

We have so far stayed very safe in our travels and aside from a few bouts of food sickness in SE Asia, have been quite lucky. We have however compiled quite a list of "close calls" some of which have been getting closer and close. I don't think either of us really expected 6-months away to be much more risky than 6-months at home driving, flying, and being the outdoorsy folks that we are, but maybe we have been wrong. 

Our trek in Nepal turned out to be timed perfectly to the weather. By just one day, we missed an accumulation of 7 days worth of trekkers (around 3,000 people) who were all stranded in the tiny town of Lukla where everyone begins and ends their Everest Base Camp trek. There were riots because of course with no flights supplies were running out, people were getting sick because of crowded facilities, bribery was going on left right and center and people were missing day after day of international connections to get them out of the country and back home. People were angry and desperate (so much so that they paid upwards of $400 per person to take a military helicopter flight out) but there was nothing that could be done. The weather was misbehaving and that was it. The day we arrived they had finally flown the last of the stranded passengers out and we miraculously flew out our selves the next day too.

Additionally when we were in Nepal, a bridge in Phenom Penh collapsed after a stampede of people crossing it became too much. 347 people died. After reading this we thought, whew, we won't cross any bridges in Phenom Penh and we have a few weeks for them to recover before we get there. No worries.

In India there was a bombing in Varanasi, a very holy city, at a very holy and also very touristy site killing several people. We fortunately didn't plan to go to Varanasi but also hoped that none of the other touristy holy sites we might visit in the next few days would be targets either. Fortunately we got out safe and sound.

It seems that luck was on our side and allowed us to get through SE Asia before S$!t hit the fan. Bangkok erupted in violent protests, the Cambodian and Thai border began clashing yet again, and a boat full of tourists sank in Halong Bay killing 12 tourists just weeks after we left having done the exact same trip. We certainly feel lucky to have made it out of SE Asia unscathed and to have gone when we did in the window of peace between countries.

Just a week before we flew into Brisbane they experienced sever flooding causing thousands to evacuate. Buildings were washed away, ferry docks, much of the riverbank, and plenty of damage done to personal property. After such sever droughts, the flooding could not have come as more of a surprise. When we did arrive, there was still lots of work to be done to repair the city, but life was back to normal for most.

As we enjoyed ourselves a bit further north of Brisbane on the Sunshine coast, the countries worst cyclone in 100 years was brewing. It hit further north leaving a path of destruction and devastation. Our original plan was to fly directly to where the cyclone hit and work our way south. Fortunately and for whatever reason, we changed our plans and were unaffected. 

And finally the earthquake in Christchurch. Just three days before we were scheduled to fly to Christchurch an earthquake hit the city destroying it and killing what will probably be upwards of 300-400 people. A friend of Victoria's from UPS and her boyfriend who we are hoping to see later in NZ were in Christchurch at the time and managed to make it out unscathed. We fly there on the 1st of March, pick up our RV and head out of town.

We also thought we would just mention the abalone diver attacked by not one, but two great white sharks off the coast of Australia. Peachy.

Here's to safe travels!

T&V

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