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Post Script

USA | Wednesday, 18 March 2009 | Views [1437]

Colorado looks so brown after all of the greens of Southeast Asia.  Lucky for us it is unseasonably warm but still no match for the 90 degree weather of Singapore.  The dry air is already taking its toll on our skin and hair.  I am suffering from a combination of the altitude (we are at 6200 feet elevation) and jet lag; it is always worst for me when traveling eastward.

It is nice to be home but it will take a while to re-adapt to the pace of life in America.  It seems strange to see more cars than motorbikes.  When people ask what we miss most when we are away the answer is always ‘our bed.’  Being able to drink water from the tap is nice, hot water and a refrigerator are convenient and having more than one electrical outlet and bulb in a room is enlightening.  But this time food comes to the top of the list.  We have been eating out for five months.  You may think, “I love Vietnamese/Thai/Indonesia/Balinese (choose all that apply) food,” but that is for the occasional dinner out, not for weeks on end.  It doesn’t take long before you are searching out a pizza joint or a place with pasta on the menu.  Even a KFC or, god forbid, a McDonalds makes your mouth water.  I never knew what ‘comfort food’ meant until now.  We had food dreams regularly in the last month and I look forward to cooking again – but no rice!

All together we were gone for five months and visited nine countries; Japan, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and Singapore.  We stayed in 52 different hotels in 40 towns.  We also spent four nights on trains, one on a boat, one on a sleeper bus and one on the cold, hard floor of the Kuala Lumpur airport.  We visited six national parks, twelve UNESCO World Heritage sites and spent three weeks in the forest in Borneo.  And all this for less than $7,000.

It is time for our annual medical and dental check-ups and to get back into an exercise routine.  Thanks to daily doses of vitamins and anti-malarials we remained healthy the whole time but we had medical/evacuation insurance just in case.  As in all developing countries clean drinking water is an issue.  If we each purchased two liters of water a day it would have cost over $500 and there would have been the 600 empty plastic bottles.  Instead we brought along our $50 water filter and refilled the bottles from the sink.  We also shunned the ubiquitous plastic bags and stuffed purchases into our pack.

We will get back into our volunteer mode next week with the Museum of Nature and Science and The Wildlife Experience.  We may also have an opportunity to work with The Nature Conservancy in Colorado this summer.  In Singapore we met with fellow Explorers Club member John Potter who inspired us to make presentations about our travels and projects.  He is the real deal, a Cambridge PhD who spent four seasons conducting acoustic research on the ice in Antarctica.  He also sailed his young family across the Pacific on their 60 foot boat and spent another year conducting research with them in the Indian Ocean.  He reminded us the governments and NGOs haven’t been able to affect the changes the world needs.  It’s up to individuals and our job is to inspire them.  So we will talk to social groups, libraries, schools and Roots & Shoots clubs and spread the word.

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