Thursday, November 1, 2012

No more calendar flips.

Gulp. It's November. I flipped the calendar this morning to reveal a rapidly approaching date circled prominently on the calendar. This is the month. And when I say circled prominently, I mean circled, highlighted, with about a million arrows pointing to it, obscuring the days around it. In just three tiny weeks I will be waiting for a cab to arrive to take me to the airport. I can barely stand it.

A few weeks ago I posted our route around South East Asia, and because of visa requirements and vaccinations, we're fairly solid on the route. Or rather, we know roughly when we're entering and exiting each country, but what cities we'll stay in, and for how long, we're going to figure out on the fly. This way we'll have flexibility to stay longer in places we're enjoying, and move on from the places we're not.

The only country we have a full itinerary for is Bhutan. Tourism there is handled through government-approved travel agencies, and everyone pays a flat rate per person, per day, and oh my, is it expensive! However, the daily rate includes all food, accommodation, transportation, entry fees, visas, and a private guide, and you get to create your own itinerary. But still, we can only afford to budget for 6 nights, which is pretty much the minimum to even graze the surface of this remarkable country. You might have heard that Bhutan, instead of a GDP, has a GNH: Gross National Happiness. It's rather impressive that a country actively ranks quality of life higher on the priority list than economic success. I dig it.

After Bhutan we're going to travel around northern India, though the more people I talk to, the more nervous I get. The word every person uses to describe India is chaos. Pure and utter chaos. It sounds like no matter how seasoned a traveler you may be, there is no way to prepare yourself for India. I find this equally enticing and daunting. So I'm not really sure how long we'll spend in India, but there are so many places I would like to see and experience. But if we find we absolutely cannot handle the chaos, we'll head to Nepal earlier and spend more time trekking. But this section of the trip is a big question mark. Won't know 'til I get there, I guess!

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