Do you remember the movie “Star Wars”? Well as a child this movie opened my eyes to more than just walking down to the creek and building small damns out of rocks. I believed “Star Wars” to be true. I only have a few fond memories of my biological father. One memory, which is actually a collection, is laying out in grass at night and stargazing. The grass was slightly damp and cool and felt like the softest substance I had every touched. And I’m not sure but maybe it was the late time of the evening when I should have been in bed sleeping, but being up after dark was a pleasure as well as having a moment with my dad. This story is not about the man that gave me life, however my past has been on my mind for years. This is how seeing the world has made me go back to my core and reevaluate my life.
Standing on the Great Wall of China has been something I have remembered I wanted to do since well forever. The Wall can be seen from space, something made with the hands, desires and minds of man. I have walked and sweated on part of this wonder of the world. I felt a sense of major achievement in my life just after walking up one set of steps. It may seem silly but my soul was refreshed in some sense that leaves me at this time wordless.
One of the starling truths about China was the pollution in Beijing. Once we landed at the airport, I thought it was just overcast, that’s not fog – that’s smog. Things like those facemasks you see people wearing, aren’t for sicken so to say – it’s the pollution. I was amazed at the conditions of the air. But life goes on everywhere there – rose bushes lined the streets, people playing basketball, and millions of people filling the avenues.
How did we ever get into China? Well, when the sky is the limit and you have nothing to hold you down – you start looking at all of your options. Do we spend more time in Vietnam, go back into Thailand, head back to Malaysia or see if we can go to China. Visas can be fun to get stamped into your passport, but can cost money and some need approval prior to entering a country. China has a 72 hours visa for transit travelers which allows enter into their country with a few items. You have to show where you are staying, your next ticket out of the country, and that you can’t go outside a particular region – done, done and done.
Why not stay in Vietnam? Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) was an interesting enough place. We stressed to get our visas for this country and even paid an express fee, so why not stay. The coastal parts of the country seemed to be a good prospect. The history between Vietnam and the USA was rich with culture and still recent enough to have even affected my life personally. I believe it was a combination of several things. One, we wanted to cover as much of Asia in our short time on this side of the planet as we could. Secondly, we wanted to distant ourselves from Cambodia. And the last thing I can think of was that my bio-father was here many years ago.
I am giving you my prospective, which means I am using from my personal database of thoughts and feelings. For example, we may both eat the same food and have different comments about the experience. I felt uneasy and slightly sicken in my spirit to be in Saigon. It wasn’t the food, I really enjoyed the Pho. It wasn’t the people even though I had had enough of the bombardment of wanting something from a westerner. It was the thought of what this country did to my father. How it altered his person and ultimately how it led to the abuse I experienced as a child. It is an interesting topic, about child development and how an individuals life can be influenced throughout adulthood.
My first knee jerk reaction to Cambodia was disgust, filth and savages. I kept seeking for the beauty I thought this country held within its borders, all I saw was more of the same. What I have come to understand during my time there was and since has changed my prospective. This country has gone through a major civil war that eliminated millions of their people. Amongst those people where the intelligent, educated and leaders which help to form and establish the future generations. The Cambodia people are basically starting from scratch to reform their country. Corruption, manipulation and struggle to survive is what my lastly impression is from both the people and their country.
If I where to give a title to a country, Thailand would be the Party Nation. Geographically connected to Cambodia, there are so many differences from the eyes of a tourist. I would like to say I’m a traveler, backpacker, an adventure but the truth is I have only been a tourist in Asia. What I witnessed in Thailand was an ongoing tourist trap and party. Did I enjoy myself? Yes I did and if I was 20 years younger I may have not left the islands. However, our main reason for visiting Thailand was to see if it was a place we wanted to become PADI scuba instructors. The diving was ok and as for our training in Koh Tao, we are stilling looking for those blue waters that we can’t say no to.
Learning is wonderful, retention in greatness and wisdom can be enlightening. Malaysia has been all of those things and will continue to be in the future. While going through higher education I learned and retained information for my profession. The great part of my teachings was the ability to look objectively at an issue and make the best decision based on the information at hand. Malaysia challenged me as an individual and put my personal being on the ropes. I, together with Rachel, made a unified decision which I believe pulled us closer than I have ever been with another person in my life time. We made the decision to live and we have lived to the fullest during our time of enlightenment and will continue be a driving force in which we put the wind into our own sails.
In the next few days, we will be traveling back over to Europe. I’m excited to see friends we have made along the way. I look forward to seeing the smiling faces and embracing the hearts of those that have embraced mine. I continue to smell the scent of adventure in the air and to those persons in the future we meet may blessings be bestowed upon our paths and may the force be with us. 😀