This trip was my fifth annual month-long trip around the world in January 2010. This year I headed to several new and exciting spots and (of course) a couple of old favorites. I am packing like mad and trying to get everything done before I leave. Leaving the country for a month is never as easy as it sounds.
At my first stop in Jordan I visited a lot of places. Bordered by Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Israel, Jordan is an oasis in an otherwise turbulent and troubled region. I was impressed by the quality of the tourism infrastructure here, from the hotels to the preservation of ancient wonders like Petra. But mostly I will remember the friendliness of the people and the warm welcome I received from everyone I encountered here. Jordan was a safe and modern destination and the opportunity to immerse myself in the ancient history of the region was an experience I will not soon forget.
Next, Seychelles. My two days in Seychelles were extraordinary. The islands are so sublimely unique with their granite peaks and boulder-strewn beaches. It is with good reason that the slogan of the Seychelles tourist bureau is, “Not just another place, another world.” Another world, indeed.
I returned to Thailand on this journey again with some good reason. Khao San Road is known the world over as a haven for backpackers. The street offers everything under the sun from cheap lodging and food to clothing, books, and laundry service – you name it. It also happens to be the place for some of the cheapest massage places in the city, which was my main reason for heading there. I also wanted to find the used bookstore I’d discovered last year with super cheap paperbacks since I was almost through with the one I was reading.
Bali was exotic as ever. After just a few minutes on the beach, I discovered that the #1 thing to do in Bali appears to be enjoying the local Bintang beer while relaxing on the shore of the spectacular Indian Ocean. Always one to “do as the locals do” I joined the crowd. It was a lovely way to ease into the relaxed Balinese lifestyle. I think I could get used to this.
For my brief stop in Taipei I didn’t have especially ambitious plans. Kind of a random choice as a stop, I know, but it was one of those Asian cities on my to-do list so I decided to squeeze it in between tropical locales this year.
My journey was rudely interrupted by a storm in Bora Bora. On the plus side, my over water bungalow at the Meridian was completely wonderful and had stunning views of Bora Bora’s famous Mt. Otemanu (in the fleeting moments it wasn’t obscured by clouds). The other downer was the condition of the lagoons around the island. Thanks to all the rain and wind in the preceding days, the lagoon – though still beautifully turquoise in color – was cloudy and not nearly as remarkable as the lagoons I remembered surrounding Moorea.
My final destination Cabo was not at all what I expected. Resting at the tip of the Baja Peninsula, the sparkling resort towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, known as “the capes,” or Los Cabos in Spanish, differ in many respects from their “Mexican Riviera” counterparts.
At the end of these trips people always ask me what my favorite place was and my least favorite. This year I’d have to say it might be a tie between New Caledonia and Seychelles. Petra is also a strong contender and I think it’s one of those places in the world everyone should see in their lifetime. Absolutely amazing!