MY GAP YEAR 2007/8

SIX MONTH REVIEW

Six months have flown by, some days I think I’ve seen and done lot, other days I feel like I haven’t seen nearly enough. I now have six months left with no itinerary. The only thing I know is in September I shall be returning back to South Africa to be reunited with the gorgeous Ellie again. The plan is to see the parts of South Africa I didn’t see before as well as heading to Namibia, and maybe even up to Kenya and Tanzania.

I thought I’d write a quick review of the highs & lows of the past six months, and for you all to meet the lovely travellers I’ve met on the way from Africa to Asia.

PEOPLE

LATVIA
Jim Bob – A drunk, but a very entertaining one at that. He made a dull Riga worth a visit.
Matt and (I can’t remember her name) – A Metal/Rock couple from OZ and the UK.

RUSSIA
GEORGE & PATRICK
Travelling around Eastern Europe for the summer. I met up with them in Moscow on Russia’s Independence day, we raved in an old Soviet amusement park and drank Super Hooch all night long.

THERESA & MARINA
A lovely pair of girls i met on Olkhon Island, Lake Baikal. Theresa is from Austria, and Marina from Germany. I wouldn’t of had such a good time if I wasn’t hanging out with this two ladies.

MATT & BECKY
Such a sweet couple I met on the Trans-Siberian Railway.

MONGOLIA
Emma
A hilarious girl from London who once was run over by a hippo in Africa.

Richard & Mel
Richard with his Canadian girlfriend Mel were on there way Oz via Mongolia! to find work. Richard had a wicked laugh and Mel couldn’t stop sneezing! Great couple, maybe we will meet up. oh knows, I’d like to see them again.

Virginia 
My travelling buddy through most of China, a sweet girl from L.A. I had the best time hanging out with her in Mongolia/China/Tibet. I can’t wait to see her again.

Jo
Crazy Jo from Manchester, one of the original Golden Gobi couch-potato DVD watching crew. Great fun to hang out with and had amazing tales and advice from the road. 

CHINA
Byrant
A great guy from Portland Oregon, A very interesting guy with lots to talk about. We went out drinking in Beijing for a couple of nights, hopefully he picked up a few drinking tips along the way from this old master (Drunk).

Greg
Another guy from Oregon. We climbed the Great Wall and went out for a night of utter carnage in Beijing. Cheers for making me sick Greg! He was also my partner in crime when it came to eating fried insects.

Sandy & Wouter
Two friends travelling together through China for a month. Sandy is from Germany and Wouter is from Holland. Poor Wouter had altitude sickness at Nam-to Lake, I’m glad he was feeling better the next day for his trip to Gyantse.

Sandy is a great lass who studied Chinese at the University in Shanghai. She thought I was a bit bonkers (I guess there’s some truth in that) and i’m glad she enjoyed the Comedy Cock. I hope she spreads the joys of Comedy Cocking around Germany… Oooh-errr that sounds a bit wrong!

There were plenty of other great people I met along the way who I’d like to mention
Rose, Bernhard, Leah, Aison, Louisa & Emma, Catalina, Ollie, Ben, Martin, Jason and all the rest of the people who I forgotten there names or met them only once. They’re all great travellers.


BEST BACKPACKERS

Germans, Dutch and Irish are always so friendly and up for a laugh. I met so many people from there, and they all seem to be lovely people.


WORST BACKPACKERS
Posh British Gap Year Students.

This is one reason I’m turned off going to South East Asia and Australia. They’re drive me up the wall.


MY TOP 5

1. Great White Shark Diving in South Africa
2. Hiked the Great Wall of China
3. Travelling from Latvia to China by Train
4. Swam in Lake Baikal
5. Lived with Nomads in Mongolia


FIVE THINGS I’VE MISSED OUT

1. Mount Everest, thanks to VISA issues
2. Failed to climb Table Mountain due to bad weather.
3. Missing Ellie lots and lots.
4. I failed to see the Terracotta Army thanks to eating some bad seafood.
5. Not seeing the sand dunes in the Gobi Desert (although I saw the Gobi from the Train window, so I guess it counts)


FIVE RANDOM THINGS

1. Drinking homemade ‘spirit’ with an old Russian Guy on the Trans-Siberian
2. Having my face stroked by people in Beijing
3. Eating scorpions in China
4. Eating a McDonalds, I hadn’t eaten one since 1997, and I doubt i’ll eat one again.
5. Driving around roads only fit for a 4x4 in a beaten up Russian Lada by a 20 year old Russian guy.


FIVE ITEMS I’V BROKEN/LOST

1. 35mm lens for my Leica.
2. Lost so many shampoo bottles and soaps in random hostel bathrooms.
3. I wore out my Palm PDA screen from writing so much
4. Lost my North Face camel pack
5. Lost iPod ear phones, I’m on my 3rd set now.


MY FAVORITE CITIES OF THE WORLD

1. Lhasa – No Starbucks, no McDonalds, it’s like you have step back in time.
2. Cape Town – It’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world with Table Mountain as it’s backdrop and where two oceans collide. 
3. Moscow – Dirty, moody, & corrupt as f^ck. I love this city.
4. Beijing – Where else on this planet do people come up to you and start stroking your face?
5. Hong Kong – Great food, awesome shopping and and a futurist skyline. Love it. 


PLACES I DIDN’T LIKE VERY MUCH

1. Riga – It was a bit dull after Two days. Still, I had fun with Stu.
That’s it, I’ve enjoyed pretty much all the places I’ve been to so far. That’s good isn’t it?


BEST BREAD

It was South Africa, but it has been blown out of the water by China. The bakeries over there are mouthwatering, especially in Hong Kong. So many different types, bread with curry, bread and bacon, bread, bread, bread!!! Bread Talks in HK is the mecca for dough related food!

Next stop South Africa.

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