Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Thanksgiving in Asia

We are back from two weeks in Asia!  Jetlag has always been such a brutal bitch to me, but it’s a small price to pay for seeing the world.  I often get sympathetic groans from people who find out my holiday is ending.  "Back to reality," they would lament.  But really, the reality I come back to is not a bad one.  Seriously!  While it’s always a fantastic adventure to travel and see the world, there is nothing quite like being back home, to sleeping and waking up in my own sun-filled bed, showering under my shower, making home-cooked meals in our just-revamped kitchen.  Even going back to work and submitting to a routine again ain't all that bad.  And this time, we also came home to snow which is forever a magical thing!
But what an amazing two weeks it has been, traveling back to motherland, the Philippines, and also to two countries I've never been before - Singapore and Japan.  It was a pretty intense two weeks with  trying to visit with as many family and old friends as time would permit.  We also dodged a super typhoon that missed Manila by a hair.  But ultimately, the two weeks was what I needed those two weeks to be.
We were in Manila for a couple days to spend quality time with the family, then immediately headed out to Panglao, an island in Bohol, a mere hour flight south of Manila.  Panglao was a revelation to the Dutch – but even for myself who grew up in the Philippines! Boracay is one of the Philippines’ top beaches, but because of that, it is also touristy, crowded, and very commercialized.  I chose to go to Panglao in Bohol because of its relative seclusion.  Bohol is also the home of chocolate hills and the tarsier, the world’s smallest primate endemic to the Philippines – and both of these are worth a side trip! 
After returning to Manila from Bohol, we flew to Singapore for a few days.  The Dutch has a few meetings there and it was a golden opportunity for him to drag me along (which he has always dreamed of doing).  My expectations of Singapore were very low and it sadly, it lived up to my (low) expectations.  But more on that later. 
Our final stop before heading home was Japan.  It had to take a lot of cajoling for The Dutch to agree to this Japan leg, but the minute we set foot on the train to Kyoto, we were both bewildered.  Japan was wild!  It was efficient and very clean with impressive toilets, yes, much like Singapore, but it was oozing with culture from its every single orifice (not very much like Singapore).  Japan was also a country neither of us has been before so it was a wonderful experience to explore and try to absorb, process and understand everything together. 

There will be a bombardment of new blog posts filled with photo diaries since I'm officially over my jetlag, thanks to a brutal hour at spinning class tonight.  I might just give precedence to Japan because of the aforementioned and simply because it is on the forefront of my cerebral cortex.  

On a final note... let me just say again that it's good to be back home a week before Christmas.  But more than ever, it's good to have gone home.  

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