Saturday, December 27, 2008

You Can Count On Me

On our way home from Zurich, BG and I worked on our lists of "Top 10" things. We'll be putting it up in a number of separate posts for your reading pleasure -- also so that when we finally meet up with our friends, we can talk about more interesting things than, "What was your favourite country?" We want to hear about what's going on in your lives too!

Top Natural Wonders or Vistas
  1. Milford Sound, New Zealand

  2. Glacier Express Train from St. Moritz to Zermatt, Switzerland -- all seven hours.

  3. Bai Tu Long Bay, Vietnam

  4. Victoria Peak, Hong Kong

  5. The sand dunes at Sossusvlei, Namibia

  6. Fish River Canyon, Namibia

  7. Cape Point, South Africa

  8. Tiger Leaping Gorge, China

  9. Poon Hill, Nepal

  10. Yangshuo, China

Honourable mentions go to "Edoras", in New Zealand, and, of course, Mount Everest.

Most Memorable Historical or Cultural Visits

  1. The temples of Angkor, Cambodia
  2. The killing fields of Cambodia
  3. The now-retired prison at Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated, Cape Town, South Africa
  4. The Taj Mahal, Agra, India
  5. The Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia
  6. The Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet
  7. The military fort near Jaipur, India
  8. The giant Shiva statue near Grand Bassin, Mauritius
  9. The Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney, Australia
  10. The streets of old Hanoi, Vietnam

Most Memorable Meals

  1. Hot Pot dinner (including chicken testicles), Hong Kong
  2. Fresh seafood feast with friends, Hong Kong
  3. Bamboo chicken (including chicken feet), China
  4. The Ganesh Restaurant, Jaipur, India
  5. Breakfast in western New Zealand, where I was offered a chunk of freshly slaughtered wild boar
  6. Gorgeous Indian meal (eaten exclusively with hands) in New Delhi, India
  7. The Safari Platter (including five different types of wild game!), Cape Town, South Africa
  8. BG's birthday dinner in Noosa, Australia
  9. A traditional Christmas dinner with all the trimmings (for $9.00!) in Yangshuo, China
  10. A huge seafood feed in the Sydney Fish Market, Sydney, Australia
Book Recommendations (based on the countries we visited)

  1. Shantaram, Gregory David Roberts: called "the best bad book" in one review, this book is brutally written and terribly long, but paints a perfectly vivid portrait of India.
  2. First They Killed My Father, Loung Ung: describes the destruction of her family and life during the regime of Pol Pot in Cambodia.
  3. Catfish and Mandala, Andrew X. Pham: a Vietnamese-American returns to his birth country.
  4. Himalaya, Michael Palin: written during the filming of the BBC documentary, describes perfectly the culture and landscape of the Himalayas.
  5. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, JRR Tolkien: the movies were set in New Zealand, so of course you have to re-read the books.
  6. The Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela: the great Nelson Mandela describes his incredible life (South Africa).
  7. The Killing Fields, Christopher Hudson: another book about the Khmer Rouge (Cambodia).
  8. Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer: the author describes his summit of Mt. Everest and the disaster that followed.
  9. Are You Experienced?, William Sutcliffe: A cynical view of the world of [sic] "real backpackers" in India.
  10. The Life and Times of Michael K., J. M. Coetzee: Experience the life of a black, mentally disabled man in apartheid-era South Africa
Finally, our new top favourite foods

Note that Val and BG have two completely different lists...

  1. Lychees, mango, jackfruit (Val). Mango with sticky rice (BG).
  2. Espresso -- (V). Tim Tams (BG).
  3. Black licorice (V). White chocolate Magnum ice cream bars (BG).
  4. Spicy papaya salad (V). Puits d'amour (French pastries) (BG).
  5. Sparkling water (V). Portuguese Custard Tarts (BG).
  6. Rooibos tea (V). Lime & black pepper chips (BG).
  7. Marmite/vegemite (V). Coconut and corn cakes (Thai street food) (BG).
  8. Octopus vindaye (V). Luxemburgeli (meringue cookies)(BG).
  9. Feijoas (V). Cauliflower with butter and breading (BG).
  10. Macadamia nuts (V). Sand-roasted peanuts from India (BG).


Steven Woods said...

Welcome back BG and Val - and thanks for writing the whole time - what an amazing adventure, and it has been fantastic to be able to experience it vicariously the entire time!

Liana said...

BG's list fits my tastes exactly... I had mango with sticky rice everyday while living in Chiang Mai. To the point that the surgeons and cafeteria staff were expressing concern about my waistline and saying things like "You know that's dessert and not a meal, right?"