Everyday Champagne | Asia
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2017 Highlights and Prancers

We began and ended 2017 in a similar fashion: on a hiking/biking trip on the California coast. Are we in a rut? Maybe—but it’s cold in Minnesota at the beginning and ending of the year, and in California, it’s… Not.

 

Granted, the two trips were a bit different. 2017 started in Montecito, with more hiking and hills than biking and ocean. And, of course, the tiny prancing dogs that populate the streets of Montecito (with accompanying owners) are a bit more pretentious, with a tad more Botox.

 

2017 ended in Carmel, with more biking and ocean than hiking. The Carmel dogs are more laid back, relaxed, friendly and comfortable in their skin—eschewing the Botox and the covering of grays.

(Yes, it’s true that dogs do look like their owners.)

 

And then there was everything in between the prancer parades bookending the year:

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Vietnam

What can actually be carried on a motorbike (moto)?

 

Here’s a handful of favorite things we saw being transported on moto in Vietnam:

 

  1. Kumquat trees. 10-feet+ high, and in full bloom.
  2. A 30-year-old TV set. Maybe you’ve forgotten the size of pre-flat screen TVs? HUGE.
  3. A fish tank. With fish. And an operating motor.
  4. Giant pane of glass. Think picture-window size.
  5. Yes, a refrigerator.
  6. Families of five or six. Families of four? Commonplace. Families of five or more are the only one’s photo-worthy.

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boat at sunset

Turkey

Merhaba, Turkey

 

The boat was nearly still, anchored in the bay with a half-full moon hanging in the starry sky above. Diana Krall’s “Just the Way You Are” began playing over the central speaker system echoing into the warm night air. Our new friends from Michigan got up and began dancing across the boat’s wooden deck as we lounged, drinking our wine.

 

You can’t make this shit up.

 

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Not Playing Favorites

aka: Selective Memories 

 

When you travel as much as we do, you’re hit with inevitable questions:

 

“Aren’t you worried about your safety?”

 

“What do you pack?”

 

“What’s your favorite place?”

 

The first two usually get a smartass response from me, and the last one is somewhat audience-dependent.  But, the true answer is “If I have one favorite, I haven’t traveled enough.”

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Japan

On our way home from Japan, we went through moments and memories as we often do on long plane rides.

 

Typical of us, all thoughts came back in rapid-fire, scatter-pattern fashion with no rhyme or reason and no order or organization. Before I post an entry, I usually attempt to turn our random thoughts into a narrative to make us look less crazy. But for Japan, I’m going to just include our list and hope you can follow along.

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Tokyo

Asia—especially southeast Asia—can be a tough place to travel to, even for a veteran traveler. The flights are insanely long, and the time difference could not be more difficult (10-13 hours, depending on location).

 

For us, Japan was a breeze. A direct flight to Tokyo, a car to the hotel, a brisk walk around Tokyo to wake up followed by the first dinner of truly the freshest fish in the world served with sake and wine, and you collapse for a great night sleep.

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