Friday, March 18, 2011

10 Most Memorable Travel Moments

A couple of blogs I follow have put together a list of their 10 Most Memorable Travel Moments, and I am inspired to do the same. See Camels and Chocolate (she's most popular travel blog on bloggies... again!) and A Pinch of This, A Dash of That, for other fun lists.

  1. Train Ride Across Pakistan
This one could be subtitled, "The time my brother almost passed out and got stranded in the sands of the Punjab".
Between the bathroom, the scenery, the incredible pushing and shoving while boarding the train, the sellers and beggars that boarded the train at every stop... it was quite an experience. The craziest thing, though, was that my brother got sick halfway through the trip and almost fell off the moving train without any of my family knowing. The post about this experience is here.

    2. Historical tours in Lahore, Pakistan...
    Lahore, Pakistan, was a fantastic city to tour. They have this ginourmous and huge mosque, an old and stunning Moghul Palace, and a famous ceremony at the Pakistani border with India that is comical in its passion. This was definitely one of my very favorite travel experiences.  Post about this experience is here. Post about the hilarious border ceremony is here.

    3. Dancing in a tribal village and eating grubs. 
    I grew up in Papua, Indonesia and so I could just name my entire childhood has a rich cultural experience, but since this is about TRAVEL, I'll just pull out a highlight. In my senior year of high school a team of classmates and I made our way into a small remote village. While there we went pig hunting, dug wells, hiked, ate live grubs (okay fine, I only ate a fried one because I'm a wuss), and spent one evening dancing the night away with the villagers. The experience of dancing and chanting to the thumping rhythm of local drums and the sway of the meeting house under the weight of many feet.... it was quiet an experience A post about village life in Papua is here, but I haven't done one specifically on that village.

    4. Staying in a youth hostel filled with backpackers in the hutongs in Beijing
    I absolutely loved our youth hostel experience, and the fact that we watched the World Cup while we were surrounded by backpackers from around the world in a little youth hostel nestled among the old hutong alleyways of Beijing... so fun. The international rivalry between everyone was really fun, and the fact that the games were at like two in the morning, and the hostel woman-of-the-house was walking around in her nightgown while everyone drank green tea and beer and cheered or booed.

    5.   Using Biblical-era Greek to get directions in Cyprus

    Getting a tiny little Euro car and braving the backwards road system to drive from one side of Cyprus to the other was quite an adventure for us. We were headed to a hotel we'd booked for our first night, and when we got into the tiny Mediterranean town after dark, most things were closed and we couldn't find our destination. We ended up finding a store with four people playing cards inside a closed store, and Isaac walked in and wrote out a message in biblical Greek to ask for directions. Enough got through that they pointed us the right direction, and we spent the next day exploring ancient Roman ruins and murals. It was amazing.

    6IMG_1259.   Mall Road in Murree, Pakistan
    Murree, Pakistan was once a British fort. What's there now is beautiful mountain scenery and an awesome meandering market that has all sorts of layers and underground and little stalls with mounds of dried fruits and nuts, vendors making fresh chai, and tandoor pits for fresh naan. The ambiance and the food made this suuuuch a good experience. Naan and chai now haunt my dreams.

    7. The White House and the Oval Office

    This is my oldest top travel memory. My family did a tour of the East Coast when we were back in the US when I was in middle school, and a relative of a relative worked at the White House. At that point security wasn't as tight as it is now, and they allowed employees to give tours after hours. So - we got a tour of the West Wing, which is the part of the White House the public doesn't get to see. It rocked, and the personal anecdotes were priceless. I remember peeking into the oval office, running into the secretary of state, seeing a corner of the basement that still showed soot from when the White House burned, and standing at the President's podium in the empty press room.

    8.   The midnight wedding in the Punjab
    the bride - covered in henna dye! Pakistan made my list three times, and that was cutting it down! I think my favorite places to visit are the remote places that most people can't get to. This experience was truly once-in-a-lifetime. My family got to visit a village wedding in the Punjab, and the setting was just as I picture biblical villages in the Middle East. The girls went to the bride's mehndi ceremony and were painted with mehndi (henna) ourselves. The actual wedding took place at midnight at a ceremony in a courtyard lit only by candles and cell phones. The bridge and groom had never met before.

    Post about this experience is here

    9.    Canadian wedding
     Earlier this year I wrote about going to my friend Erin's wedding in Canada.... except way out on a ranch in the middle of nowhere, Canada. It was SO beautiful, and so different than either my experience of city and suburbia North America. Two-stepping with Canadian cowboys... can't beat that! That story is here.

    10.  Food Fight in China

    I taught English in China. We had an "American-style" birthday party scheduled with the students one night. Somehow, without any of us Americans really understanding what had happened, things dissolved into the biggest food fight I've ever seen (with frosting EVERYWHERE), and then hundreds of us dancing some American line dancing across the university gym. So much for the stereotypical "reserved" Chinese student! Post about this experience is here


    Camels & Chocolate said...

    Thanks for the shoutout, Kacie! I love to hear about your travels--particularly Russia and Pakistan--as they're so very different from my own!

    Rae said...

    You got me to laugh with the Using Biblical-era Greek to get directions in Cyprus one. Go Isaac!