Ben’s Travels Update – 6 Months

by Ben Douglas on Saturday, February 13, 2010 at 11:05am
Hello friends, family and acquaintances,
This email is marking the 6 month point of my journey around Asia, which
is most likely to be the first third of my trip. I’m just letting people
know that I’m doing well, saying hi, and letting you know a bit of what
I’ve been up to (I know some people I’m sending this to I haven’t
contacted in a long while). I have had many great adventures, met many
interesting people, and eaten many delicious foods. If the second third
of the journey is anything like the first, then I’ll be ready for the
third third (…?)!

Just as a small list of examples of the things I’ve done:
I visited Hong Kong where I saw thousands of buddahs, ate amazing home
cooked food as well as famous restaurant foods, and (later when I
returned) experienced the craziest Christmas Eve party ever.
I then went to Taiwan, with more incredible food, hot springs, and a great
journey on a scooter up and down the east coast, exploring beautiful
places as I came across them.
Japan was next, and I found the people so generous and considerate that I
was receiving gifts from strangers all the time. I witnessed a waterfall
flowing upward, hiked up thousands of steps on many mountains, explored an
abandoned mansion, fed toucans in a place overflowing with flowers, slept
on park benches, experienced the awe of Tokyo with sumo, kabuki, harajuko,
tsukiji, and a small size statue of Godzilla, and many other things in
between.
After spending a thousand USD over budget on Japan, I went to South Korea
where I found kim chi, giant fields of shipping containers, hiking
everywhere, fun parties, and a bunch of great people.
And then China, which stunned me as the most interesting country I’ve ever
seen. So many differences in the way of life over here. Almost every day
I see something out of what I would consider ordinary, some I enjoy and
some not. I’ve seen incredible mountain peaks looking like islands in an
ocean of mist, travelled over long rivers, got (fake) married, saw things
in markets that weren’t exactly legal, saw an annular eclipse, and now I
am in Beijing seeing, or rather hearing, the New Year. It sounds like a
war outside!

So much has happened over the past half year, though unfortunately some
things will be forgotten as the computer I had bought in Japan with my
travel logs was stolen, along with my camera. I had only backed up about
half of the journal at that point, so a bit was saved, and also I only
lost two weeks of photos, which was not so bad. Even so I am trying to
write down all I remember, and hopefully soon I will be posting more
updates to my journal. As for now, the only updates I am keeping online
are Facebook status updates, which I have found ways of updating despite
the “Great Firewall of China”.

For all those couchsurfer hosts I am sending this email to, I thank you
again for your incredible hospitality, and so far I still have not had
anything less than a great experience. If you want to continue getting
updates about my travels please tell me, otherwise I’ll leave it at this.

I do think of my friends often and miss the great times we have hanging
out, and I hope to have much of that when I get back. I am planning to do
a short US tour visiting old buddies when this trip is over, so let me
know if you’re free a year or so from now! Of course if you need to see
me sooner, by all means travel over here and join me!

Right now there is an old man setting off loud New Year firecrackers one
after another right outside where I am staying, and I wonder how much
sleep I’ll get tonight. (Hint: None)

In a week or two I’ll be heading up to Mongolia to experience negative
double digit temperatures (in C and F), and then down to Southeast Asia
for the spring and summer, followed by South Asia.

That’s about it, I hope everyone is doing well! Send me some updates on
your lives as well!
– Ben Douglas

PS: Here are some links and stuff:
Travel Site – http://travels.bagelsound.com/
Travel Blog – http://plastic-fork.livejournal.com/
Facebook Profile – http://www.facebook.com/misterz
Travel Photos – http://pics.livejournal.com/plastic_fork/?sort=recent

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