I’ve made some new friends here in the hostel, they’re so great I wish we were all living in the same place together! Nick and Karen are a couple from England who gave up their professional careers to travel. They’ve been all over SE Asia and then Australia and NZ. They’ve decided to live in Vietnam and teach English there for a year, then decide what to do next. Before they leave, they’re going home to England to visit family and on the way will go to the West Coast of the US. So, look out, I’m going to start asking for a place for them to stay in SF! I’ve also been hanging out with their roommate Corey, a 19-year-old American from Washington who you would never believe was only 19. He’s been traveling since he was in middle school and is quite adaptable.
On Friday, everything in town was closed for Good Friday, so Nick, Karen, Corey, and I walked up to the top of Mt. Victoria. It was an incredibly clear day and nice and warm – perfect for an urban hike. Then we went for late lunch and beers, only to find that on public holidays there’s a 15% surcharge on eating out! I justified it by saying that’s what I would tip in the US (and you don’t tip here).
Last night was Easter dinner at the hostel. Mark and Amy, 2 of the English long-termers, made an amazing dinner for 16 of meat, roasted veggies, and an apple crumble.
I’ve started planning the itinerary (without Jacob’s input at this point) and if Jacob is amenable, we will skip Australia and come back next Summer (December). There are several reasons: it’s starting to get into Winter there and it makes more sense for us to learn to scuba and surf in Indonesia or Asia where it’s much cheaper – and I understand it’s usually Australians teaching there anyway!
The other itinerary change is that my old coworker Gaurav has his dates now for India and has invited us to meet him in Delhi and then go to Indore for his sister’s wedding. How can you pass up going to India where you know someone and are invited to a wedding there?!?
For the next section, my mom is going to Korea for work and my dad is coming! While they’re there, we’ll also go to Japan, so at this point, I’m keeping the return trip FROM Japan open, so we can stay there longer if we want to travel more after my parents leave.
Since today (Monday) is also a public holiday, tomorrow I’ll going to Flight Centre to spec out some fares to present to Jacob for approval. 🙂
Now I’m off to the Internet cafe to Skype with my parents. Unfortunately, the pilot light on our hot water heater went out, so I haven’t showered, but I did manage to make my hair look decent and wash my face in freezing cold water.