A Travellerspoint blog

Globalsoul005 πŸ‡¨πŸ‡³πŸ‡°πŸ‡·πŸ‡―πŸ‡΅πŸ‡»πŸ‡³πŸ‡±πŸ‡¦πŸ‡°πŸ‡­πŸ‡¨πŸ‡·

One final note

sunny 25 °C
View Asia on Globalsoul005's travel map.

Hey guys !

I'm sitting here in the Surat Thani airport in Thailand, reading through some of our older blogs, remembering some of our greatest moments. Our first day in Beijing, walking through a hutong, to the Peking International hostel. We were so lost back then, It really seems like ages ago. We walked the Great Wall, climbed to Pandora, witnessed the Terracotta Warriors. Omg, I absolutely love China, just thinking about it. They have some of the most beautiful, remote places in the world. You think one place is unbelievably stunning, until you go to the next. It's definitely a favourite of mine, I just wish we had more time. Seoul, Korea was a whirlwind, but we made it to the Gangnam borough, and travelled to Japan by boat !β›΄ Then SE Asia happened, and it was all downhill from there lol People, parties, drinks, pools, so much sun, an all around amazing time. We also witnessed the beautiful Ha Long Bay, experienced the very moving Cambodian genocide museum, S21, and awoke at 4am to visit Angkor Wat. Garrison says his favourite moment was cruising up to the blue lagoon on motorbikes, in Laos. The views were breathtaking. Finally, we stayed on the infamous Khao San Rd, and travelled the islands for a week. I even passed my open water diving cert !

Garrison and I have been together 63 days straight, and I would do it all over again, if I could. (I think he would too.. ?πŸ€”) lol This man stood by my side, supported me when times got rough, and came to every single tourist spot until his head exploded. If it was up to him, I'm sure the pool would have sufficedπŸ˜‚πŸ˜† We argued at times, we definitely stressed at times (getting lost in Guilin, doing overnights on empty stomachs, to name a few), but I always knew he'd be there. These memories are invaluable, and I will cherish them forever. I plan to blow up our Phnom Penh gun picture, and hang it in the front entrance of our condo lol Welcome to our home πŸ”«πŸ˜†

Just a few necessary travel tips, Garrison and I talked about earlier:

- Quick dry towel was extremely useful. You can buy from SAIL for $35.99. Some hostels charge.
- OSPREY travel bag is unreal. It's the 46L, but you can separate the backpack, and the main bag has wheels. (LifesaverπŸ‘ŒπŸΌ) SAIL $400.00
- CAMELBACK. Another LIFEsaver. It's so hot, so to have water on you at all times is amazing, especially at overpriced tourist spots. Again, SAIL.
- No such thing as men's deodorant sticks. It baffled Rob (only roll-on bs). Bring extra.

I just wanted to say a huge thank you to all of our readers. Almost 5,000 views, and over 3,500 visits! I can't believe it. We are so happy you were there with us throughout this journey ! I really hope that some of our great, and not so great experiences (scams) will help some of you in your travels. We've loved writing in real time, and we look forward to reading them in the years to come. I tease Garrison that our next travel blog will be, "You, Me, and the Baby" hahaha His face: πŸ˜• lol On that last joke (Mom and Carol), it's been a slice. We are currently suffering through a 40 hour travel time home, with two overnight layovers, but will be landing at Pearson in T minus 2 days.

Maybe we'll get one final blog from Garrison, so keep your eyes peeled.

Love you all, and see you soon !! 😘😘

Rob & Erin ✌🏼️

P.s If you have any questions about our 2 month journey, through 7 countries, you can e-mail me at: globalsoul005@gmail.com

Posted by Globalsoul005 05:43 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Planet Oceania 🌊

Koh Phangan & Koh Tao

sunny 30 °C

Hey guys !!

It's been an incredible journey through Thailand, thus far. We quickly fell in love with Koh Phangan. The island is absolute heaven. We cruised around for days, not a care in the world. Garrison and I have been talking about what we miss back home. He said, good wifi. I said, the gym lol The difference being, he works with terrible wifi, and I gain weight ☹️ #womenproblems. So, what do I do? I sign up for the first Muay Thai training session I seeπŸ‘ŠπŸΌ. Best Exercise I've had this entire trip, I want to join when I get home. And it was a great way to prepare for the destruction that followed that evening - the Half Moon Party πŸŒ™πŸŒ™ What a night! 3000 party-goers head to the jungle for a big celebration of the half-moon, of course. We paid 1000baht to enter, and danced the night away to rave music until 5am. It wasn't fun having to check out early for a ferry at 3pm, in 30 degree weather, but somehow we managed; however, I am too old for this sh*t !😫

We travelled across the Thai sea to Koh Tao to get our open water diving certification. They say "earth" is a silly name for our planet, earth meaning land, soil, and dry desert. It is better known as "Planet Oceania" because our planet is actually covered 75%, by water. It's no kidding, millions of people want to explore this beautiful world down under. So, over 4 days, we spend two days looking out from our classroom onto the breathtaking beaches, wishing we were sun-tanning, followed by two days spent under the water. Our first day was intimidating. I'm sure most certified divers will agree that diver training is intense (if not, they're lying). The instructor continuously reiterates that you will be 12-18m under water and you, yourself, are your only life saver, and if you don't check your PSI regularly, you will run out of air 😫 You not only have to focus on breathing, but you have to clear your sinuses, find neutral buoyancy, use hand signals with your diving buddy, prepare for emergency in an instant, and more. Oh, and don't PANIC. You're only 12-18m, underwater😨 lol It was only when we got into the pool today, to practice our skills, that everything became clearer. We did the entire, hour-long session, underwater, all through hand signals. Very cool experience. I keep saying to myself, if I can get through my first year of Paramedics, saving lives, to sky-diving in Cairns, I can get through this, no problem 😁 I guess we'll see tomorrow. We head out on a half-day trip to the middle of the sea, where we'll guide ourselves 12m down with the aid of a rope (to get use to breathing, and our surroundings). The following day, we head out, with just a diving buddy, to an 18m depth. Wish us luck! 😬 or words of encouragement, (either or) πŸ‘πŸΌ
Since we arrived on Koh Tao, we haven't seen too much of the island, not like Koh Phangan. We've spent too much time in class. The first night, we came across a fire show, and enjoyed some drinks on the beach. Then continued on to the Queen's Cabaret, where we watched the ladyboys do their thing. That was a culture shock. I felt like I was watching my first burlesque show, choreography, bright costumes, and high heels. The only difference is, well.. you know πŸ˜…πŸ‘ 
Other than the omelette we ate, day 1, which riddled us with a 24 hour food bug, we've thoroughly enjoyed our time here πŸ‘ŒπŸΌ Thailand is an absolute paradise, and I wish we had more time. Soon, we'll be back home, back to reality.

It's been amazing sharing our experiences through blogging, and I hope you've enjoyed every minute! We look forward to ending this journey with a new outlook on what life's truly about, and implement that mindset when we get back. It's true, travelling is an incredible experience 🌎🌍 You learn so much about people around the world, other cultures, and way of life. You quickly realize you don't need much in life to live prosperous. You need your family, you friends, and your health. Everything else comes and goes. So enjoy the moments you have, create memories you'll never forget, and always appreciate the good times.

Until next time friends, we miss you, and we'll see you soon.

Rob and Erin ✌🏼️

Posted by Globalsoul005 19:17 Archived in Thailand Comments (2)

Choose your own ending

Ko Pha Ngan

sunny 29 °C

Thailand may actually be my new favorite place in the world. At one time Hawaii was my fave but to find an island like Maui for 1/4 the living expense is like heaven on earth. The equation goes something like this:

Perfect weather + Amazing Thai and Americanized food Γ· 3/4 cost of living Γ— (excellent party/relaxation ratio)

= potentially our retirement home someday. I hope you used bedmas.

Close your eyes and picture renting an $8.00 motorbike (per day) with your significant other riding shotgun. The sky is blue, the clouds are a perfect island white, and the breeze cools you from top to bottom as you ride. You decide to take the ocean road to the north of the island, the stretch is only about 2 hrs long so the whole island can be easily covered in a day. As you drive north, you look to your left and you see nothing but beautiful ocean views. High tide on monday may bring sailors closer to the coastline. Their large vessels docked, awaiting their return to sea. Low tide on tuesday could reveal fishermen walking on the newly created sand bar, searching for clams. Or perhaps testing their metal detectors, hoping to find some buried treasure and strike it rich.

You decide to stop at a restaurant for some lunch and a few beverages. You take your scooters up the nearly vertical pathway to the top of the mountain. All your senses are now stimulated in unison when the delicious food hits your palate high atop the mountain overlooking incredible ocean views. Lunch finishes. Where to now? You ask your partner. She replies, "wherever you wish, my love."

You hop back on your bike and decide to stop at a couple wonderful beaches along the way. The water so clear you can see right to the bottom. You leave a trail of footprints in the white sand, slowly washing away. The tasty beer in your hand is disappearing just as fast. Time to head home. You know the toronto raptors are playing at 730 am and it's starting to get late.

Later in the week your partner picks up a thai boxing class while you go eat breakfast at the pier. You both shop at the market then head through the jungle straight to a waterfall. Half moon party tonight, three thousand people celebrating simply being alive. Drinks, party, dancing. Ko pha Ngan, the true definition of freedom.

Posted by Globalsoul005 22:20 Archived in Thailand Comments (1)

Fool me once, shame onπŸ–•πŸΌ. Fool me twice, shame on.. ?πŸ€”

Suit scams in Bangkok ☹️

sunny 29 °C

Bangkok, wow. What an interesting place. I want to start off by saying that anything and everything you've imagined about this place, is true. Let's start at the airport, Don Mueang. My girl, Sarah Jayne, warned me about taxi scammers and their prices to Khao San Rd, so I knew better than to accept a 600baht offer to our destination. Instead, we scoped out a FREE local city bus, and spent 2 hours in traffic jams, soaking in the smell of fumes coming from the rickety, old engine. Not to mention, the driver and his shifting skills. What the.. ?😳. Was it worth it?, I'm not sure lol That's the question we've been asking ourselves since we arrived. You see, 100 baht is roughly $3.33 CAD. When you start bartering these prices, you get what you pay for, and more. We finally arrived at the D&D INN, right on the infamous, Khao San Rd, a backpackers heaven. We were surrounded by colourful tuktuks, and taxis, clothing vendors, street meat (tarantulas incl.πŸ•·), clubs, bars, and ladyboys. Oh, and the men dressed in suits, are trying to sell you.. suits (5ft apart)πŸ˜‘. The thai locals (especially on Khao San Rd), are ALL business. If you're not buying, they're not making any convo🀐 Someone told Garrison, he talks TOO much !πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Our one full day in Bangkok, consisted of the standing Buddha, the lucky Buddha, the floating market in a long tail boat, the grand palace, and a visit to the hotel sky bar from, "The Hangover" movieπŸ‘ŒπŸΌ. Of course, we were denied entry because it's a "fancy rooftop", no elephant pants allowed. ☹️ Regardless, I love wandering randomly, it was a great day spent in Bangkok.

On a more serious note, we were involved in the same scam, 3 times yesterday. Our first tuktuk said, he would drive us to our tourist spots for only 40baht, in exchange for a 90baht gas coupon, all we had to do was visit a "suit store" for 5 mins, show some interest, and VOILA, he gets his card (from someone), and we get a cheap rideβœ”οΈ. It seemed simple enough, until it wasn't. The second tuktuk was older. He asked for the same thing, we did it again, then he had the nerve to say, "we weren't in the suit store for more than 5 mins" πŸ˜‘. Off we went to another one. The third tuktuk wasn't as friendly, neither were we. We all went our separate ways. Let's just say, we weren't truly wise to this scam until we arrived back via. cab. I only mention this because it's a huge safety concern for those travelling to Thailand, and it can happen to anyone. These guys are pros. Don't barter with tuk tuks and suit stores, they'll use you as pawns. Again, the question is, "Was it worth it?

We are currently on a flight to our first island, beautiful Koh Pha Ngan🏝 Beaches, Muay Thai, and the half moon party are coming soon. Lately, we've been talking about how this trip came together, how much we've learned about ourselves, and each other. Probably because, it's almost over 😒 It's been an incredible 2 months, and I'm looking forward to finishing it out.. without scamsπŸ˜†

Thank you so much for following us on our journey. I hope our travelling experiences, help with yours! ❀️❀️

Until next time,

Rob and Erin ✌🏼️

Posted by Globalsoul005 07:07 Archived in Thailand Comments (4)

Duck in the Tuk Tuk

Cambodia

sunny 40 °C

So we just arrived at the siam reap airport. I have a couple hrs free time to write before we hop on the plane to our final country, Thailand. We woke up bright and early at 630 to get on a tuk tuk for 8 to take us 30 minutes to the airport. We paid a hefty 5 dollars for the whole trip. For those of you unfamiliar with what a tuk tuk is, it is basically a rickshaw with a motorcycle on the front. It has no 5 star safety rating, no roll bar, just a few metal bars that pretend to be a frame. 2 minutes from the airport we see a car trying to make a michigan left turn ahead of us (Google it), and our young and naive driver does not account for the space in between. He slams on his cheap rusted out cambodian brakes and sideswipes the car in front of us at about 10km/h. He is half on his motorbike, half on the drivers side window and the corner of the tuk tuk rips a scar completely across the drivers side of the car. Our tuk tuk driver gets back on his bike and continues on like nothing ever happened. Hilarious experience. In Canada, if someone even leans on your car the wrong way you are exchanging insurance information. Sad to say this is actually the second tuk tuk collision we experienced in Cambodia.

There seems to be way to much to do and too little time left. It's funny how the days have blended together and one country begins to look like the next. Just spent yesterday climbing the Angkor Wat temple in 946 degree temperatures. Celcius. I'm not kidding, it's offensively hot in these countries with little to no wind. Not even a little gust as positive reinforcement. We thought waking up at 4am would be better to avoid the heat, heh heh think again. At 730 it was 92 degrees (35 ish celcius) with 66% humidity. Then they tell you to dress in full clothes out of respect for the temple when all you want to do is run down the street naked and jump into a freezer full of popsicles.

Cambodia was fun overall, I got to fire some high powered weapons in Phnom Penh. 2 weapons, the ak 47 and the RPD machine gun were my guns of choice. I wanted to fire the RPG rocket launcher but I didn't bring enough cash with me, I suppose I'll just have to return. If i didnt know that the gun range was reputable, I would have been a little more on edge. They bring you literally to the middle of nowhere close to the historic "killing fields" where u enter some compound with 4 Cambodians telling you to come to the back to fire the guns as they close the door behind you. It was weird, but it turned into alot of fun in the end. S21 museum was just as brutal as Erin mentioned. It always seems like humans need to bring ourselves to the brink of destruction before any learning can begin. On an individual and a global level. But if you ever find yourself in Phnom Penh, 100% worth it to visit this museum. You will not be disappointed.

Mad monkey hostels were great. Food was fantastic. I really liked Cambodia. We spent most of our time here lounging poolside and sightseeing. We caught game 3 of the raptors/cavs game at 730 am cambodia time, not a raps fan but nontheless GO RAPS GO!

Many awesome adventures experienced,Β  and surely more to come. We will see all of you in beautiful Thailand! I also wanna give a special happy birthday shout out to my pops back in Windsor ontario Canada, happy birthday old man!

Rob and Erin *Peace

Posted by Globalsoul005 20:15 Archived in Cambodia Comments (1)

Phnom Penh, 1975

S.21 and gun range

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What an extremely, emotional day. I was nauseous multiple times and cried twice (no bullshit). Cambodia feels different to me, more dangerous to be honest. I don't know what it is. When Garrison said, 'look like a homeless person', a while back, I'm only now taking that seriously. People don't look at you and smile, they stare, expressionless. Of course, I don't understand the Cambodian culture, and I don't front like I do, but it feels different from the other countries. Today, we decided to combine two intense experiences together and I felt incredibly overwhelmed.
We came to Phnom Penh for two reasons: S.21/killing fields and the ever so-famous gun ranges we've heard so much about.
We had no problem finding a tuk-tuk driver for the day. These guys sit outside waiting for you. He approached, we confirmed $16.00US for the day, that was it. This money probably meets his entire day-wage, and we have no problem with that. On a side note, it's a b*tch paying in American πŸ˜‘ Anyways, he stayed with us all day, and thankfully, because we made our way so far outside the city core, I was nervous.
We got to the S21 genocide museum, where 12,000 Cambodian civilians were tortured,and forced to admit to crimes they never committed. We listened to audio via. headphones, walking through buildings A-D, learning about the genocide that took place from 1975-1979. If I wasn't in the paramedic field, I would find this tour unbearable. My heart ached with every different room, every different story. And to think this happened in the 70's. It really opens your eyes to the possibility, the realism, that this shit could happen today, while we're here. We learned of a New Zealander man, Kerry Hamill, at 27 years old, who was on a 'yahting adventure of a lifetime', cruising off the coast of Kampuchea, at the time this was all happening. He was kidnapped, forced to write an untrue confession, and murdered only 2 months later.
As we approached the end of our tour, Chum Mey, one of the only 12 survivors of the Cambodian genocide, sat at a table, greeting us with a smile, and that was it. I felt such incredible hardship and emotion for this man. I purchased his book, honoured his courage, and will forever hope, he finds peace.
We'd planned to visit the killing fields before the gun range, but lightning got the best of us. We went straight to the indoor gun range. I wasn't STOKED about shooting guns, but I've always said, "don't knock it, till you try it". Of course, my love was in heaven. (What man wouldn't be?) We approached this sketchy looking
compound, chose an AK47 and RPD to shoot, at $55US (30rounds), each, and off we went. I shot 4 rounds from the AK47, and called it quits. I found it incredibly difficult to hold something with so much power, especially after our visit to S.21. I sat back and enjoyed watching Garrison in his glory. I really did, he had so much fun. We took some badass photos after, and found our way back to the hostel.

I don't know if I want to trek out to the killing fields tomorrow. I feel I've seen enough.

I do encourage you to read about the Khmer Rouge genocide of 75'-79', and I'm sorry if this blog is blunt, and truthful, but it was an incredibly real, and emotional day. My heart goes out to all those who suffered during this time, the survivors, and the people of Cambodia, that live on today.

Until next time,

Rob and Erin ✌🏼️

Posted by Globalsoul005 04:48 Archived in Cambodia Comments (2)

We ❀️ Laos !

Vang Vieng✌🏼️

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Hey guys !!

I'm finding our vibe to be completely different now, on the second half of this trip. As I'm sure you've noticed, China, South Korea, and Japan were very fast-paced, so much so, we always found ourselves trying to get to the next spot, never really settling in. We had amazing times, built unforgettable memories, but we also bickered, and complained, a lot 😳. Who wouldn't, though? We'd been together 30 days straight at that point, bustling around in foreign countries, unable to communicate with anyone. But, we survived, and I still wouldn't want to spend this lengthy amount of time with anyone else. Garrison has shown me an incredible amount of patience throughout this journey. Not to mention, his ability to charm anyone, regardless of language. Seriously, he can have any foreign traveller in hysterics, over hand motions alone. He spent one of his hangover mornings bandaging a chick's ankle because she twisted it a few nights before 😍. Paramedic Glenn, always on the job ! I was more concerned that he was using all of our supplies ! LoLπŸ™ƒ Regardless, Garrison and I are very similar travellers in that we love to have fun, meet new people, have drinks, try new things, get on anything with a motor, spend hours in the water, and plain ol' party ! And that's why, South East Asia has been pure bliss. No stress, just good times.

I wanted to take my time on this blog because we've absolutely fallin' in love with Laos, well, Vang Vieng, that is, and I must do it justice ! It pains me to leave in just two short days, we could thoroughly enjoy weeks of free time here. And to think, we were going to bypass Laos altogether, to make for more time in Cambodia and Thailand.

Off we went to Vientiane, the capital of Laos. It cost us just over $200 CAD to fly 1hr30 mins 😳 Vientiane reminded me of Zhangjiajie, back in China, not a whole lot to do and it was boiling HOTβ˜€οΈβ˜€οΈ You can't stay outside longer than an hour before you sleep for two. We quickly booked a 4 hour bus ride to the famous Vang Vieng, and the party began. We're staying at the Real Vang Vieng Hostel, just three doors down from the famous Sakura Bar. I've come across many backpackers with the same Sakura tanktop on, and have anticipated our night out ever since. We planned to get there for happy hour, between 8-9pm, for free whiskey drinks. And in order to get a Sakura tank, we had to buy two drinks for 50,000 Kip, easily done βœ”οΈ What a night. I have a new found respect for Koreans. The Gagnam Style song came on, and they destroyed the dance floor πŸ˜‚ The whole place erupted. We finished out our night with incredible street food, an abundance of Western burgers, pizza, and sandwiches, and guided two youngins' safety home, who were tweakin' on mushroom shakes 😬 (I don't miss being that stupid) lol😜

We spent the following day cruising around on 120cc gas engine motorbikes. UNREAL. The beauty of Vang Vieng really shined. We took plenty of pictures and GoPro footage and couldn't imagine this day getting any better, until we arrived at the Blue Lagoon. It is one of those place you must see to believe. We laid out in tubes for 4 hours, soaking up every last second of sun. We jumped from treetops (my heart racing the entire time), swinging from ropes. I felt like Mowglie from the Jungle Book lol

I'm currently sitting at the Kangaroo Sunrise bar, whiskey orange in hand, feeling incredibly grateful for this experience. It's hard to believe we're almost 3/4 the way through our trip !! I'm thinking about my Mom who was just honoured with 'Nurse of the month' at the Ajax/Pickering ICU. Way to go Mama, that was a LONG time coming❀️ You are a hardworking, dedicated nurse and have made a difference in so many lives. I'm thinking about my sis who graduates from nursing in a few weeks πŸ˜… and my pops, he's getting his Triumph TR4 ready for the summer. My little Mother, Carol, and my sis, Chantel, we look forward to good times in Ipperwash πŸ˜† My best friends are together celebrating my girl's bachelorette, Jenny Mac. I miss them dearly. The Raps are killing it in T.O, and Peter Jackson's anthem is blowing up. My partner, Chad, is pulling extra weight at work (miss ya buddy), and my colleagues are riding to raise awareness for PTSD 🚲 No matter the distance, we always miss our home.

It's overcast and rainy today, so we'll be relaxing before our journey back to Vientiane. Flights have been booked to... CAMBODIA ! πŸ‡°πŸ‡­ The Mad Monkey hostel, here we come πŸ™ƒ Garrison's been dreaming of RPGs and Bazookas since we watched a YouTube video on Phnom Penh gun ranges. Oh, and he wants to see me throw a granade?? I may be up for the challenge ✌🏼️

Until next time, we miss you !! 😘😘

Rob and Erin ✌🏼️

P.S GO RAPTORS GO !!!

Posted by Globalsoul005 23:51 Archived in Laos Comments (3)

Booze Cruise

How long is Ha long?

sunny 38 °C

Well, we just got off an island that shortened our life by about 5 years. I'm currently petting my liver like a kitty that has been lost in the cold and returned home for dinner. Castaway tours...the mothership party boat that takes you to a private island for 3 days 2 nights in beautiful Ha Long Bay was beyond words.
Picture a private island in a crescent moon shape stretching for about half a mile lined with bungalows 30 feet from the water. When u look to the water, miniature mountains poke their heads out as far as the eye can see almost as if they are leap frogging their way into heavenly bliss. Amenities include a beach volleyball net, table tennis, basketball court, a full bar, and 90 of the biggest party animals in existence. You are all there for one thing...to make stories.

The transfer to the island was long, about 4 hours worth. But was a combination of bus and ferries. Scenery was everywhere so we were never bored. We arrived on the island, shotgunned a beer and hit up the volleyball courts for some competitive fun. Everyone was impressed with Erins Olympic style serves however our team ended up defeating her team and the good guys won the day.

The next part is physically painful to write. I'm currently reaching for a tissue to wipe the tears from my eyes because what happened next was so horrific, it was of biblical proportions. We lost our go pro. We went high speed tubing and tried to capture some great real time action but when we were thrust off from the gut wrenching speeds, our go pro wrist strap could not handle the force. When we resurfaced, I noticed my wrist was lighter because nothing was on it and the go pro was lost at sea. Luckily enough, we backed up all the files and have insurance at home so it was only a temporary loss for 2 days.

The booze cruise was fantastic on day 2. They took us out on a big party boat through the many islands which was filled with incredible scenery. However our day was interrupted with catastrophe halfway through. Our tour guide was pouring a shot so he sits on the edge of the top deck and falls backwards into the water, man overboard. Everyone gasped, praying he would be okay. We were all relieved when we looked in the water at him giving us a big thumbs up. He just missed the wooden plank that juts out of the side. If he hit his head on that I would be telling a very different story and us two paramedics may have had to go to work. When the party resumed, we got a chance to go kayaking, more drinking and more sightseeing. What an awesome time and quite possibly the highlight of my trip.

We eventually returned back to the island, then back to Hanoi. Vietnam was great but I wasn't a huge fan of the food. Liked the bun cha (meaty soup) and a few other dishes but stayed away from some of the more exotic stuff (DIFFERENT types of meat). Anyways had a great time overall and wish we could have seen more of the country but it will give us more to see for next time!

Rob and Erin *Peace

Posted by Globalsoul005 20:58 Archived in Vietnam Comments (2)

Lost Soul πŸ“Έ

GoPro no moreπŸ˜ͺ

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Hey guys !!

So, WE made it home from Castaway Island, but sadly.. our GoPro didn't πŸ˜ͺ Yes, you heard right. We took our baby on the tube (without the floating device we bought) 😬 Grrr, and of course, it fell off on our last crash into the water. For just a split second, I thought we'd recover it, but who was I kidding? Only myself πŸ˜₯This happened within the first two hours of our trip. So we thought of all the positives.. we backed up all our videos, it's just money, we can buy another one, yada yada yadaπŸ™„ and then we thought of all the negatives.. and drank away our sorrows πŸ™ˆπŸΈπŸ·πŸΊπŸΉlol (Don't let Garrison fool you either, he bought us another one when we got back.. for good reason πŸ˜‡) hehe. Anyways, I'll let him talk about the tour because it was AMAZING, everything we hoped for in HaLong Bay, and more !

We stayed one last night in Hanoi to recover, do some laundry, shower up, and rest for our journey to Laos !! There's been so many mixed reviews about Laos along the way but more recently, people say it can't be missed ! From the famous lazy river tubing tour, to the 3 day tree top adventure, Vang Vieng, is the place to be. We have a 16:50 flight out to Vientiane this evening, and we're currently en route via. airport express. (65,000 Dong, $2.00 CADπŸ‘ŒπŸΌ)

I wouldn't be giving Vietnam justice in my review, it's a huge country. I liked Hanoi. I would recommend it as a 2 day visit, with a definite excursion to HaLong Bay. A lot of backpackers head south to Ho Chi Minh for the big city feel, but we keep movin' βœˆοΈπŸ‘ŒπŸΌSo, cαΊ£m Ζ‘n bαΊ‘n Vietnam, it's been a good ride !

Stay tune for Garrison's blog !! He's been working on something over there πŸ˜†

Rob and Erin ✌🏼️

Oh, and I lost my running shoes and suntan lotion, what happened to us this week ?! πŸ™ƒπŸ™ˆ

Posted by Globalsoul005 23:42 Archived in Vietnam Comments (1)

Short and Sweet

Hanoi, Vietnam

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Post dated because we haven't had wifi in 3 days !

Hey ya'll !!

It's 6:45am, officially Mother's Day, on Vietnamese soil, and all I want to do is hug my Ma, and little Mother, Carol !! ❀️❀️ Thank you so much for everything you do, we love you.
We are heading out on a Castaway tour today to Ha Long Bay, and I'm so freakin' excited ! 2 nights, 3 days of pure bliss, cruising around, tubing, kayaking, rock climbing, and plenty of drinks 🍻 This trip cost us 4,300,000 dong! ($210 CAD) lol It's hilarious working with millions, most expensive trip to date !
Briefly because we leave in 10 minutes, the city of Hanoi has been nice.. but I was itchin' to get out. It's like 40 degrees with the humidity (NO point in showering, kinda weather, millions of people and their dogs on mopeds scurrying to get places, and no body of water close ! We legit paid $10US to hang out at a random hotel pool for an afternoon πŸ’¦πŸ’¦πŸ˜Ž (amazing views of the city though).
Our hostel had Friday night game night on the rooftop, which consisted of drunk GIANT Jenga shenanigans, and plenty of group shots (and I don't mean pictures 😎). Next thing I know, we're pub crawlin' around town, having a great time. Of course, late nights turn into late morningsπŸ’€

Eventually, I got up, walked through the sweltering heat again, and not soon after, realized.. we just want a beach πŸ–πŸ’¦.

So, here we are, en route to one of the natural wonders of the world, beautiful Ha Long Bay. We'll spend our last 3 days in Vietnam on a private island, soaking in the sun, appreciating every moment we have here.

Wish us luck, we're off to compete in some drinking games with a bunch of youngin' 20 yr olds. I think we got this at 30 πŸ˜³πŸ‘ŒπŸΌπŸ™ƒ

Rob and Erin ✌🏼️

P.S Garrison says, "this is the first country where I just sit and sweat in places never imaginable" πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Posted by Globalsoul005 22:20 Archived in Vietnam Comments (0)

The Hangover

Featuring Golden Gai

sunny 25 °C

Japan...bright lights, wild nights and a whole lot of sushi. Japan was good to us and I will definitely be back someday. We are currently on the plane headed to Hanoi, Vietnam to continue this crazy journey through southeast Asia. Part of me is just happy to be moving on because the food is just too good in Japan. I'm afraid of what would happen to my waistline if i stayed any longer! We lost a bit of weight in China and Korea, gained a bit in Japan. Probably gonna lose again in Vietnam from the hot sun, our bodies are starting to say "can you just choose a damn weight please?"

We visited the Tokyo tower last night which was pretty cool, it looks just like the Eiffel tower in Paris. I don't know which Eiffel tower copied the other, seems a bit sketchy to me though :) Stopped for dinner along the way because my stomach was beginning to eat itself. Sat down in this restaurant that has private rooms, similar to the tea shop I spoke about in China. No one in there possibly because it looked like it was run by the Yakuza :) We sat down, they gave us some delicious raw duck as an appetizer. Tempura chicken, salad, and some sushi and boy was it abusively delicious. It provided us the energy we needed to continue on the journey. Around the corner and down the block was this Japanese Eiffel tower I speak of, it was a sight to behold. The colors radiating off the structure lit the night sky, it's beauty could only be surpassed by the view from the top. Looking down at the night skyline of Tokyo turned out to be a magnificent choice despite my skepticism of climbing these types of towers. You see, I have scaled many a similar tower to this one including ones like the CN tower in Toronto, the old Sears tower in Chicago and the Rocafellar in NYC to name a few. To me, a building is a building and a skyline is a skyline. However, the NIGHT view of this Tokyo skyline was well worth the sheckles Erin paid on my behalf for entry through these gates :) The lights, the buildings, the razzle dazzle that this city boasts is what sets it apart from the others. You can really see just how big and beautiful this city is...from the top.

Tokyo was mostly a blur for us due to our first night there. We took a trip down to the Golden Gai district where the youthful 20 year olds occasionally indulge in a beverage or two. However before going there we actually started our night at Zauo Shinjuku, where boys become men by catching their own dinner. The restaurant is designed in the shape of a boat with the tables all aligned evenly on the vessel. A small stream runs along the perimeter where different types of fish swim happily, not knowing the fate that will befall them. You arm yourself with a small fishing pole and cast your bait into the stream in the hopes of catching some of the freshest sushi you will ever taste. If you're lucky, dinner will be served quickly. If not, I suggest you bring some extra cash for appetizers. After about 30 minutes of hunting and a few beers deep, I caught the king kraken mother of all sea bass and Erin caught what it would normally eat for breakfast. We had our ritual hunters ceremony from the staff that is only delivered to us through 808 drums and we proceeded to feast on our kill. After dinner was over we went to Golden Gai where we met some Kiwis named Darren and Joe to have a night that was nothing short of "The Hangover" movie. Im sure Erin is actually still on some hotel roof somewhere in Japan holding 80 thousand dollars worth of casino chips :) oh wait no, just kidding Kathy your daughter is right next to me and was not on a hotel roof. It was actually the roof of a chinese dinner cruise ship because I hear the parties on those are crazy :)

Rob and Erin *Peace

Posted by Globalsoul005 10:35 Archived in Japan Comments (1)

Tokyo drifting πŸ’―πŸ’―

sunny 22 °C

Good morning ya'll !!

I'm still laying in the top bunk of our 6-bed mix dorm room (getting brave, right?.. 6 beds😁), on our last day in Japan because.. Tokyo has not only taken us physically, but financially too ! πŸ’ΈπŸ’Έ Fly away funds, we'll never see you again lol 😳 It's been an incredibly, unforgettable ride, but who's anticipating $15 nights in Hanoi, Vietnam ⁉️ I am β€ΌοΈπŸ™ƒ You know the dollar here is similar to the states, maybe worse😰

So, what have we been up to, you ask?? Well, when I say "unforgettable", I simply mean most parts, the other parts I just can't remember πŸ˜³πŸ’ƒπŸΌ In all fairness, Garrison and I've been so go-go-go, we haven't had much time to let go-go-go. Our first night in Tokyo was epic. We search out this famous Zaou Shinjuku restaurant, a Japanese chain that let's you catch and eat your own fish ! 🐟🐟🐟 Uhh yea, why don't they have this in Canada? So much fun. They price out the fish you want to catch, provide you with the poles, bait, and net, and off you go ! 🎣 I chose the teeny-weeny mackerel, while Garrison chose the big Sea Bass. We spent the next 30 minutes fishing around our table, throwing back cold beers and pre prepped sushi appetizers. So delicious !πŸ˜‹

We then made our way to Golden Gai for a few drinks, as a "must see" at our hostel. Golden Gai is an area dating back to WWII. Roughly 200 tiny bars, each with a different theme, line the 4 pedestrian lanes. When I say tiny, I mean like 8-10 people max. fit. It wasn't long before we met a couple of "Kiwi" buddies, and some people from California, with many more along the way. We went to multiple themed bars throughout the night, spending most of our morning belting 90's tunes on the mic 🎀 AKA kareoke, it's very popular, and taken very seriously here. They say if you can't sing, stick to the private rooms 😁
Before I knew it, it was bright outside, 7am ! Just rediculous πŸ˜³πŸ’€. Welcome to Tokyo !!πŸ‘ŒπŸΌ You can imagine, at 30 yrs old, I spent the next 12 hours in bed, moving only to devour a delicious pizza πŸ•πŸ• YOLO. (Garrison too hehe)

We moved yesterday though πŸ˜† We got up early and made our way to Yoyogi Park, which holds the famous Meiji Jingu Shrine. It took about 30 mins by subway to get to Shibuya-Ku, one of the many sectors of Tokyo. Then we continued north to Shinjuku, where all the actions at, for some pictures, dinner, and Captain America. Yup, we did it again πŸ“½βœ”οΈ

All in all, Toyko is HUGE, with a population of over 13 million. Way too much to see and do. Japan in general, is the cleanest country we've travelled through. The Japanese are so kind, and will bend over backwards to help you. Respect is palpable. It's truly been an amazing experience. Not to mention the Japan Rail Pass was hands down, the best way to explore over 7 days πŸ‘ŒπŸΌ

We'll slowly get ready for our last day now, check out our sector, Ryogoku, and maybe stumble across some sumo wrestlers πŸ™ƒ

We're off to Vietnam tomorrow and couldn't be more excited.. to spend less! Hehe and so much more. I picture hot weather, beaches, parties, bikinis, and maybe a Vietnamese pedicure β˜€οΈπŸ–πŸ‘™πŸ»πŸ‘ŒπŸΌ

Thank you for joining us on the journey ! 😘 Until next time peeps !

Rob and Erin ✌🏼️

Posted by Globalsoul005 20:13 Archived in Japan Comments (2)

Rub-a-dub-dub

Mount Fuji πŸ—»

sunny 23 °C

Hey everyone !πŸ˜†

I can't believe our last blog was about Hiroshima. It feels like ages ago, and so much has happened. Firstly, I'm sitting here in our 'Route-Inn' hotel, about 2km from the beautiful Mount Fuji, with breathtaking views from our room, on our last day here. Wildly expensive, $200/night, last room available and Garrison's already sleeping lol I'M almost asleep. Turns out, this week is a Japanese holiday and everything is booked up, even the hostels. We stayed in a 4-bed mixed dorm room last night and they wouldn't even have us again ! It was a last minute decision to stay for another, but I'm glad we did. Mt. Fuji is just too beautiful to visit in one day AND we caught a glimpse of the Highland Amusement park looking over the mountain on the way in. I think they did that on purpose πŸ€” hehe. Regardless, we needed the extra day to recharge (once again), considering our last few days of travel.

Last night, we spent hours cruising around on bikes. Again, best mode of transportation, but it was cold !! We searched for this onsen everyone keeps talking about, and upon arriving, we find out that Japanese onsens are done in the nude 😳 Did you know onsens were done in the nude? We sure as hell didn't. Garrison took one look inside the men's change room filled with 30+ naked ol' men prepping for bath time, and we were out of there before I could blink an eye! HahaπŸ˜‚ Honestly, the look on his face, I'll never forget it lol 😳
We got back to the Den's Inn for a good night's sleep, and other than the rattling of loud snores coming from the kid in the bed over, we managed well.

Highland was amazing. The sun was shining, there wasn't a cloud in the sky. We paid $60 for an all-day pass. We hit up the fastest coaster, Fujiyama, at a whopping 172km/h, and waited almost 2 hours for the Takabisha. We somehow managed to sneak the Go-Pro through on this one, and have unreal footage of the 121 degree drop overlooking Mt. Fuji πŸ˜πŸ‘ŒπŸΌ
We head out to Tokyo in the morning, our final leg in Japan (sadlyπŸ˜₯) but we're so excited !! Mt. Fuji is amazing and definitely one of my favourite stops thus far, but Tokyo is a whole other world ! I can't wait to immerse myself in the Tokyo way of life, all while enjoying lots of delicious sushi !! 🍣🍣🍣
I'm actually fighting a little heat exhaustion right now. I just took some gravol and should end this blog quick before it all turns to mumbled nonsense πŸ™ƒ

Love and miss you guys, thanks for reading and keeping up with our travels ! Looking forward to reading your comments 😘

Rob and Erin ✌🏼️

Posted by Globalsoul005 05:54 Archived in Japan Comments (2)

Hiroshima

In the wake of Enola Gay

sunny 24 °C

We spent the last few days in a little city called Hiroshima. Took the bullet train from Fukokua to Hiroshima and to our surprise it only took like 1.5 hrs. The hostel was within walking distance from the JR shinkansen train station which was amazing for us because public transport can become expensive after a while so the 5 min walk to our place was a nice change of pace. When we arrived at the hostel, they greeted us with smiles. We all shared a laugh at our extremely early check in, we underestimated just how fast the bullet train goes!

Had a pretty basic itinerary for Hiroshima but quickly found out this place actually has quite a lot to discover. Top on our list was to visit the A - bomb dome, so we did just that. We boarded a free bus (included in our 7 day JR pass) and went to check out the site.

For those of you who don't know the story of Hiroshima, spoiler alert the city was bombed in world war 2. The americans, along with consult from the commonwealth, dropped the first ever nuclear bomb intending to destroy human life. Hiroshima and Nagasaki still to this day remain the only nuclear strikes ever delivered for war. The bomb named "Little Boy" was detonated on August 6th 1945, approximately 600 feet above the Prefecture Exhibition hall, immediately turning everything to ash within a 2 mile radius. 80,000 died instantly, and over 200,000 total from the blast and fallout. Due to the trajectory of the blast downward, the halls' foundation and dome survived and was later renamed the A- bomb dome. This bomb was actually used to end the war. The Americans were set to invade a heavily fortified area of Japan and were predicting heavy casualties for both sides, approximately 5 million total. After weighing out the options, Truman could not risk deploying the bomb as simply a warning shot because it was not fully developed and could become a dud. This would take away all tactical and psychological advantage, not to mention the bomb costed 2 billion dollars at the time which was very expensive in 1945. The loss of life from Hiroshima and Nagasaki forced the surrender of Japan and ended the war. The A-bomb dome will forever remain standing as a sign of what these weapons are capable of and the capacity of mankind as a whole.

Visiting can only be described as bone chilling. I couldn't help but imagine what happened that terrible day in Hiroshima and felt sadness for the extreme loss of life. However if you ever get a chance to visit Hiroshima, I think you will be suprised at how beautiful it has become over 70 years. You can cruise the semi indoor shopping strip, take a ferry out to the shrine, or go for a bike ride over its many bridges and rivers that flow through it. I had great experiences in Hiroshima and it gave me a greater appreciation for times of peace that we (especially Millenials) sometimes take for granted. Now we are onto the next leg of our journey which takes us way off the beaten path up to the Nagano area to see Takato park and the cherry blossoms.

Rob and Erin *peace

Posted by Globalsoul005 06:03 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Ride the waves

Japan πŸ‡―πŸ‡΅

sunny 22 °C

Hey everyone !!

I know it's been a few days since my last blog, but with good reason. We've been go-go-go, so much so, I've started referring to this trip as, 'Amazing Race Canada', and no longer vacation. We're just missing other contestants and the $250,000 grand prize at the finish line😁. Who signed us up for this anyways? LoL I'm serious though, it's challenging as h*ll. We eat, sightsee, sleep, pack, travel, eat, sightsee, sleep... etc. And don't forget navigating through subway lines, figuring bus routes, finding hostels. Oh, and the language barrier, that's not hard at all.... 😟 It's a catch 22, really. We want to see everything, but we can't. We're tired, and there's only so much time. Seoul was a whirlwind, as was Busan. Seoul has so much history. I sat on a 2hr bus tour, ready and eager to hear about Seoul's history.. until I heard about the 50th emperor and his palace. I imagine my dad and bro would eat this stuff up. Me.. not so much. Also, if we'd had bags of money to spare on this 'race', we would've enjoyed so much more of Seoul's nightlife. Food from all over the world, Korean, Chinese, Mexican, Indian, Canadian. For real, a bar called the "Real Canadian Tavern". Clothing stores galore.. I mean, it's a fun place, Seoul, just not enough time to enjoy it. The Gangnam borough was the highlight of my trip !
The bus ride from Seoul to Busan was short and sweet, no problems. And Busan was uneventful, just another city BUT very significant to us, being the gateway to Japan. We decided to take the JR Beetle into Japan. Why fly when you can ride the waves? haha LAME. πŸ™ƒ I purchased myself a beautiful Baby-G watch at the Duty Free shop, and waited to board the boat. What? I needed a souvenir from Korea, and a new work watch.. 😜 My pops was worried about the recent earthquakes in the south of Japan, but we continued to cruise, 31/2 hours, across international waters to the most anticipated country on our itinerary. Very cool way to travel, btw πŸ‘πŸΌ
We spend the next 7 days crossing Japan from the west (Fukuoka), to the east (Tokyo) on the Japan Rail, a $350 purchase we made months ago that allows foreigners unlimited travel for 7, 14, or 21 days. First stop, Hiroshima. And wow, what a day. We hopped on this Japan Rail at exactly 12:08, only to arrive in Hiroshima shortly after. This bullet is so fast, we nearly missed our station. A man literally threw his bag between the doors to keep it from shutting on us 😳 What a guy.
So now, I'm sitting in the Hana hostel in Hiroshima, Japan, on the 25th day of our travels, feeling incredibly moved.. for many reasons.
Firstly, we spent the afternoon walking around the Peace Memorial park, where the first atomic bomb dropped, killing over 200,000 Japanese civilians on August 6th, 1945. It was incredibly bone-chilling, a surreal moment for both of us. We spent time at the Atomic Bomb Dome, admiring the years of preservation, the Cenotaph, and the Children's memorial. We learned that the crane symbolizes the story of Sadako Sasaki, a young girl, at the age of 12, who died of Leukemia, a result of the exposure of the atomic bomb's ionizing radiation. I left a crane at the Children's memorial today, as do so many other people around the world. And, I've challenged myself to put one together 😁.
Garrison will have so much more to say about our day at the sight, I will leave it to him to continue. We ate some delicious sushi for dinner and ended our night early, as we plan to get up for what?? More sightseeing ! lol

That's all for now, this Jim Bean is getting to my head 😜 I hope you're enjoying our reads, stay tune for our next few days in Japan ! πŸ‡―πŸ‡΅

Rob and Erin ✌🏼️

Posted by Globalsoul005 05:46 Archived in Japan Comments (2)

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