Monthly Archives: December 2012

Photos from our Trip to Thailand 2008

Dur­ing our trip to South East Asia in 2009, we trav­eled to Thai­land for two weeks. We cov­ered a lot of ter­ri­tory.  The first leg of the trip was spent in the south with Uncle Hugh in Phuket. For the sec­ond leg of the trip, we went to Ko Pang An and Met our friends from Ottawa, Janelle and Mel. After a short stop in Bangkok for a night or two, we spent our third leg of the trip in the North, in Chi­ang Mai, with Helene’s Great Aunt, Rachanee.

A Few Photos from Hong Kong — December 2008

In Decem­ber 2008, Helene and I were for­tu­nate enough to take a month off of work. For our first big vaca­tion abroad, we decided to visit South East Asia, and our first stop was Hong Kong. I couldn’t imag­ine a more futur­is­tic place to visit. Going back to Canada after Hong Kong felt like we were trav­el­ing through time.

6 Tips to Plan Your Trip to India

Another School day in Kochi, Kerala

Some peo­ple love India. Oth­ers hate it. Close friends warned us that the food would make us sick. Fam­ily cau­tioned about safety. And almost every­one agreed that the coun­try is met with extremes: extreme weather, extreme poverty, extreme wealth, extreme joy and extreme frustration.

Per­son­ally, there were times I loved India and times I hated it. Above all, though, I found the coun­try to be quite lovely and an absolute must for those look­ing for new expe­ri­ences in a com­pletely dif­fer­ent country.

Before you leave, there are a few things you really should do before you hit the road:

  • Use India Mike, an invalu­able resource, to plan your route. The com­mu­nity can tell you if your planned route is real­is­tic, answer vir­tu­ally any ques­tion and get you really excited about the trip.
  • Book all your buses and trains in advance. India is a busy place. Trains will be sold out if you show up last minute, unless you want to pay top dol­lar or change routes. Most last minute bus and train can­cel­la­tions only cost 2–3 dol­lars. These are the sites we used for the bus and train.
  • In Canada we have a Cholera and trav­el­ers diar­rhea vac­cine mar­keted as Duko­rol, but it may have a dif­fer­ent name in your coun­try. I’m cer­tain this vac­cine pre­vented us from get­ting into a nasty situation ;).
  • Get informed about Malaria. It isn’t every­where in India, but Malaria is some­thing you should know about before you leave. We ended up tak­ing malaria pills for about a week, but I ended up hav­ing an adverse reac­tion. The side effects were not worth the trou­ble. A cou­ple things we did to help lower the risk of catch­ing malaria were:
    1. slept with mos­quito nets;
    2. stayed indoors at dusk;
    3. made sure there weren’t any mos­qui­toes in the room at bed time;
    4. used repel­lent with deet;
    5. Google the inci­dents of peo­ple catch­ing malaria in the region we vis­ited.
  • Try to eat in restau­rants that look busy and avoid restau­rants that do not have a high influx of people.
  • Try to avoid street meat. Avoid­ing street meat is prob­a­bly one of the more con­tentious pieces of advice, given that street meat could be both the best and the worst part of a trip to India. I think the main con­cern is that a lot of street ven­dors are using local water that may con­tain bac­te­ria that we are not immune to.Just use your judg­ment and make sure the water bot­tle seal is not broken.

And one bonus tip:

  • Embrace the frus­trat­ing moments. Think­ing back, the frus­trat­ing moments were among the high­lights. My favourite — get­ting dropped off in the mid­dle of a busy five lane high­way and lit­er­ally scream­ing over being scammed out of a dol­lar. One dollar!