Blast From the Past


Fall has started, winter is nipping at our heels, and 2019 is merely 10 weeks away.  Put like that, it is just around the corner, not very far off.  I have already started making travel plans.  Yes, it is essential to have a travel plan from now.  To cop the best travel fares, land the best accommodation and secure a spot on your much sought-after adventure activity, now would be the perfect time to start planning.  God willing and life be spared, this year’s remaining travel will be completed, and new missions will occur in 2019.  Stay tuned to hear what those will be.

So, as I wrap up this year’s commitments, see “Coming to A Place Near You” I am reminded of a promise made to you earlier this year to share video footage of my Southeast Asia trip (catch up in the archive blogs May – July below).  This post will fulfill that debt.

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When you plan a bespoke itinerary, you always hope to walk away with photos and videos that tell your experience over and over.  But, sometimes that is not the case. Many travelers like me are amateur photographers.  We capture favorite scenes with our point and shoot cameras or smart phones and other tech devices.

Whichever lens used, oftentimes it is hard to control the environment even though center-stage or an incredible vantage point might be yours.  Some of the things you cannot control are: extemporaneous noises, movement, unsteady hands holding the lens, talking neighbors, babies crying, etc.  You may see a bit of some of these issues as you watch.   However, focus on the clips.  You may still be able to vicariously enjoy the scenes as much as I did.

SINGAPORE – Merlion Park (night show of projected light to music)

 

BALI – Tegallalang (rice terraces)

 

PHILIPPINES – PALAWAN (indigenous people playing on rudimentary instruments)

 

KUALA LUMPUR – view from the KL Menara Tower.  (Did you catch a glimpse of the Petronas Towers?)

Recounting the holiday experience and selecting the footage from my collection has taken me down memory lane.  Indeed, a blast from the past.  If you are thinking about taking a break in 2019 and would like a customized itinerary, then look no further.  I am your gal – Itinerary Planner.  Go to the “Itinerary Request page and select the itinerary plan you need.  Submit it with your payment and an itinerary made just for you will be in your mailbox soon after.

Readers and Community Peeps, is there a favorite video you like?  Do you have similar footage?  Compare and share with me.  I want to hear from you.  Your comments are always appreciated.  I look forward to reading your thoughts on the footage.

As usual, I invite you to click follow to receive timely updates, select like to show your love and support.  Share this post on your social media site.  Write your comments in the box below.  Thanks for reading.

More times,

Itinerary Planner

Proof Positive


It is said a picture is worth a thousand words, therefore the long-awaited photos in the slide shows below are going to have to do all the talking for now. With more than 1000+ photos of my Southeast Asia tour (Philippines (Palawan, Cebu, Sagada, Manila), Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Bali) to sift through, it was near impossible not to go back down memory lane, and to choose the ones that would best tell the story.

Admittedly, it was difficult deciding which photos would make the cut, organizing them by occasion, and choosing the right medium to bring them to you.  Let me interject here, in some instances where I am not behind the lens, that photo credits are to be given to Sopiya, Nico, Greg, Danica, Nico, Edgar, Deisy, Clarence and Mary Ann.  I chose slide shows (labeled by location name & year and a last slide show called “Friends”) as the best mode for viewing all the pictures in this post (sorry for my inept media skill, any suggestions on how to do it better are welcomed).  The snapshots are proof positive of my adventures in each place, of my encounters with the natives and the rich cultural heritage they possess, but more importantly, of the friends I have made along the way.  It can be yours too.  Because of the volume of pics, videos will come in a later post.

After viewing all the slides, and you are inspired to travel to the far corners of Southeast Asia wanting a similar experience, I can help you plan the itinerary that’s right for you. Let me reassure you, you won’t make the same mistakes I did (read about my accounts in previous postings).

Now for the promised moment you have been waiting for:

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Community Peeps, et al, again it was simply a pleasure to share this experience with you.  I look forward to receiving your comments and questions.  Thank you for sticking with me throughout this journey.

As usual, my only request is that you choose to do one or more of the following:  select follow to receive timely updates, click like to show your love and support, comment in the box below your thoughts, suggestions, or smiley face, or share with your friends on your social media site.  Thanks for reading.

More times,

Itinerary Planner

Right On The Wrong Side Of Town


Manila is teeming with traffic.  The thriving metropolis in the Luzon Province of the Philippines has every mode of transport imaginable including: jeepneys, motorbikes, rickshaws, horse-drawn carriages, all jostling for the right of way.  However, the colorful jeepneys dominate the streets.  The drivers artfully maneuver in and out of traffic, vying to pick up passengers as they go to their respective destinations.  To travel a short distance, could take double the time due to the overwhelming amount of buses, cars, trucks, etc., on the road on any given day.  To be punctual it is advised to leave hours ahead of the expected arrival time.  As I mentioned in previous publications, there seems to be no respect for road laws especially in the densely populated areas where everyone is competing to get ahead of the other.  The only fiat obeyed is the traffic light, there, everyone stops and goes as directed.

I arrived in Manila safely after a terrifying drive from Sagada.  Inquiries on how to get to the hotel in Quiapo, a bustling commercial district in Quezon City was easy, and like a pro, I quickly boarded the back entrance of the Victor-Cruz jeepney, instructed the driver to stop at my hotel’s address, and sat back to enjoy the ride.  We headed down the wide boulevard, stopping intermittently to let passengers on and off.  When the driver gave the nod alerting me of my arrival, I hesitated for a moment.  I thought there must be a mistake and that he did not understand my initial request, but he insisted it was my stop.  I disembarked looking around in bewilderment.  A few seconds passed when a neatly dressed security guard approached me.  Seeing the puzzled look on my face and obvious travel bags, he ushered me to the entrance of a building which looked hardly like a hotel.  I noticed the hotel’s name on the door but was still skeptical when he told me to ride the elevator to the third floor.  Not wanting to be scammed, kidnapped, or robbed (it’s amazing what goes through your mind when you are suspicious of everyone and everything) I asked again, and he assured me I would enter reception on the third floor.  Strange that a hotel would begin on the third floor versus the lobby entrance of the building but who says it can’t begin at any level.  So, I rode the elevator to the third floor saying my prayers all the way.  Because I am a budget traveler, price sometimes override quality, comfort, location or room amenities.  Bracing myself to experience mediocre service and a lack-luster stay at this establishment ran counter to my low expectations.

Albeit surprised at the twist of location, I can only say good things about the hotel that began on the third floor.  From the moment I stepped off the elevator,  I was greeted by the manager and reception.  Check-in time was not for another six hours so my bags were taken, I was shown to a powder-room where I could freshen up, given a map of the attractions in the area, and a bottle of water.  Even though I was tired and very sleepy, I decided to walk around the neighborhood to pass the time.  On the map was the Intramuros, a must-see lodestone in the vicinity.  A rickshaw ride helped me cover the important points within the 166-acre walled-in city.  The Intramuros is a significant national heritage site and historically important.

On the way to Intramuros and mere steps from the hotel’s entrance, food and vegetable stalls, specialty vendors, sweat shops, and hustlers ply their ware.  Because of my curious nature, I wandered onto the side streets and into a sea of people buying and selling every conceivable thing you can imagine.  The labyrinth of makeshift setups was close and tight-knit as I meandered from street to street inspecting and gazing on things I did not recognize or that were unfamiliar to me until I realized I was lost.  Determined not to overreact or to ask for directions, I kept on walking, all the while, conscious of the curious onlookers who would smile, finger point, stare and sometimes even dare to ask a question.  I bumped, brushed, edged my way along the thronged streets seeking an exit.   I eventually stumbled upon the well-known Quiapo Church overflowing with worshipers, a customary practice every Friday.  It became a distinct landmark, and that day was the way out of the maze for me.  Back at the hotel, I checked into my room which was spacious, comfortable and clean.  Room service was efficient and attentive.  They went the extra mile to give me a daily dose of vitamin C (thanks to Nestor who brought limes along with my breakfast) when I felt ill the last two days of my stay.

As usual, it is my custom to find and fellowship among people of like faith wherever I go, and Manila was no exception.  I located my church, this time riding in an air-con jeepney to get there.  Even though I arrived late, I enjoyed the service and later socialized with a few folks who became fast friends.  They took me under their wing, invited me that same night out to dinner, and from there, itinerary plans were laid to give me a tour of the other side of Manila lest I should walk away thinking that Manila was a completely run-down, dilapidated, poverty-stricken city.

These recently acquired friends jokingly enlightened me to the fact that I was living right on the wrong side of town, in the heart of a non-descript location.  Up until that moment, I had indeed accepted that the city’s infrastructure was derelict, old, ugly and in need of serious repairs.  Thanks to friends:  Mary Ann, Edgar & Resa, Matt & Ellen, Ricky & Lisa for changing that perspective.  They treated me to an excursion (showing off the other side of Manila) I would not have witnessed or experienced where it not for their kindness, hospitality and love of country.  We drove to well-known points-of-interests nearby Quiapo like: Rizal Park, home of the Filipino Performing Arts, the picturesque boardwalk with arresting views of Manila Bay, and SM-Mall of Asia – a sprawling complex of stores and entertainment  galore, the largest of its kind in Asia.  Surrounded by casinos, hotels, million-dollar high-rise condos and affluent neighborhoods, the mall is a major destination for foreigners and locals evident by the huge number of shoppers on a daily basis.  The time spent with my new friends was sweet and relaxing.  We ate, laughed, talked, got to know each other and had an enjoyable day site-seeing in Manila.

Community Peeps, the Southeast Asia exposé was long.  This is the final account.  As I recounted each episode, it was like reliving the moments over again.  The best and most memorable experiences have been those I’ve had interacting with the natives of each country and fellow travelers.  They are priceless.  I have not eaten rice nor plan to for a few more months.  Jet-lag has confused my internal body-clock in that when I should be sleeping I’m awake and vice versa.  Hope you enjoyed the reading and are eagerly expecting to view the photos.  The selection is extensive, but I will do my best to bring you the most interesting ones.

All, thanks for reading this post.  Remember to select follow to receive timely updates, click like to show your love and support, share on your social media page, or comment in the box below.  Did I tell you where I am planning to go next? Take a guess and tell me in the comment section.  I will let you know if you are warm, hot or way out in the Antarctic.

More times,

Itinerary Planner

Eye Candy


Singapore is a fine city.  I mean it.  There is a fine for just about everything, or at least that’s the way it seems.  This is not to be taken lightly.  Singapore means business in administering fines to those who willfully break their laws.  The first law that drove fear into my heart was written in clear signage on the bridge crossing over from Kuala Lumpur.  It said, “Punishment for drug traffickers is death”.  That would be a permanently fatal fine.  Thank God, the few pills in my bag didn’t qualify.  Also, on my last day there, while on the metro going to Changi International Airport, the man sitting next to me was drinking a bottle of Coca-cola.  He thought nothing of it.  Just as we were about to get off at the last stop a woman approached him, and pointed out the no eating and drinking sign just above our heads.  She was an undercover cop.  He quickly apologized and got away with a stern warning before we all disembarked the train.  I’m sure he is still thanking God all now that she didn’t issue him a ticket.  My best guess as to her reasons why not maybe it’s because she saw his suitcases and didn’t want him to miss his flight.

From the first day I got to Singapore it was hectic for me.  What this small country lacks in size, it makes up for in things to do, places to go and things to experience.   Walking is the best method to enjoy the eye candy that’s everywhere.  I don’t know if this is the norm since my time there included the weekend until the middle of the next week, or if there were having a practice run for the impending Presidential visit.  In any case, it was exhausting keeping up with all the happenings.  Just to give you an idea:  I went dragon-boat racing, strolled Clarke’s Quay – the hub of entertainment for tourist and enjoyed the entire river promenade scene, went to Merlion Park, Haji Lane with it’s Afro-centric vibes and interesting street art, visited Little India, Arab Street, traversed China Town, spent a day on Sentosa Island, watched a cricket match, and so much more.

Though many attractions in every direction abound and bombard the five senses, the one I wanted to see and experience the most was Gardens by the Bay.  I spent more than half a day trying to cover it, and words fail at this point to tell you the beauty of it all.  The nightly show when the towers light up is amazing (the show was done to the music – Rhapsody).   It was spectacular.  Singaporeans  know all about impressions and how to attract vacationers with the WOW effect.  They execute the free light shows like how Las Vegas does it with water in front of the Bellagio hotel.  For now you’ll have to use your imagination of my words until after I return to organize a post of photos.

Singapore is very hip and modern.  Here are my observations:  Like it’s Asian neighbors this country loves rice, however, eating choices are more prolific because of its heavy Chinese influence.  The place is as clean as a whistle and people do wait at the lights before crossing.  I confess, I went to fellowship and I couldn’t cross the street (no crossing at the point where I was standing) The woman who was helping me to find the church, grabbed my hand and said, “We are jaywalking for Jesus.”  I laughed and ran across the street with her interrupting the flow of traffic.  If caught it would’ve been two of us facing a hefty fine (misery loves company).  The people are helpful especially the younger generation.  The older folks who cannot speak English often ignore or turn away from you if approached.  English and mandarin are the spoken languages.  The USD is stronger than the SGD, but everything is expensive there.  Shopping malls are many, crowded and busy.  This is a favorite destination for Australians, Japanese, and Indians seeing it is not as far away in flight time as it is to the USA.

I have to cut this short my Community Peeps, I could go on and on of all that I experienced there.  As of writing, I’m on my penultimate lap in the Philippines in the mountain region of Sagada, before heading back to Manila.  I’ll give you the highlights of Bali in the next post before I leave this Southeast region.

As customary, I want to remind you that you can select follow to receive timely postings, click like to show your love and support, share on your social media sites and keep the comments coming.  Write in the box below.  If you have a question or comment on any of the countries I’ve covered so far, let me know and I’ll be happy to address it.  It has been real folks.  It is a real joy sharing.  Thanks for reading.

More times,

Itinerary Planner

 

 

 

 

High Rises and Affordable Shopping


Kuala Lumpur, to me, is the land of high rise buildings and affordable shopping.  The architecture is modern and pleasantly pleasing to the eyes, but one can easily get a strain from craning their necks looking up at all the tall buildings.  Plus, they are so very close in proximity to each other.  In contrast to the modern structures, there are some buildings that are very old, like their Central Market, dating back to 1888 when it was first opened.

Travel by metro, bus, taxi, or motorbike is very easy.  The metro is clean and comfortable.  KL Sentral is the main hub for commuter trains and buses traveling to varios parts of the county, including connecting to the country of Singapore to the south, where I am currently.  There transport system offers a free bus service only in the city area called GOKL (purple, blue, green and red lines).

Streets like Bukit Bintang, Jalan Alor, Petauling Street are major attractions and must-sees for the curious tourist.  Most persons are interested in seeing the Petronas Towers.  It is amazing and the view from the deck is worth the 87 ringgits you pay to get there.   It is not a disappointment.  Also the Menara Tower, a free standing structure ranking the seventh tallest in the world is worth visiting.  At this time of the year its sky deck is subject to closings because of the inclement weather, which comes like clockwork in the afternoons.  Heavy downpours lasting for more than a hour to an hour and a half limits visibility and causes some activities to close.  The observation deck is still an option though.  Word to the wise, if going to either tourist attraction, go in the morning.  You will stand a better chance of seeing a 360 degree birds eye view of the beautiful city of Kuala Lumpur.

Ringgits is the currency in KL and I’ve come to believe it is every sellers job to relieve me of it.  The USD goes a long way here too.  Haggling is a norm, even in some stores.  Places like Petaling Street in the Chinatown district, Jalan Alor, and other areas, everything you can think of is sold.  It is tempting and I can tell you I’ve spent some money on bad purchases already.  I bought a selfie rod and I’m ready to throw that thing in the garbage.  It still works but the handle is already broken.  All that glitters is not gold.  Another purchase that I should’ve known better not to do, this time not a fault of the seller, but my own curiosity, I decided to get a pedicure using the Garry Rufa fish.  I paid my ringgits and was allowed to soak my feet for 15 minutes in the tub with the dead-skin eating fish.  I could not handle the tickling nibbles and did not keep my feet in for one whole minute.  No matter how I tried, I could not get comfortable to the slippery fish nibbling around and under my feet.  I chalk that up to experience and something I will not do again 😀.

Overall, my experience in KL as it is affectionately called, was pleasant.  The people are friendly and helpful, willing to give directions to clueless tourists.  Some, usually the older store owners will engage you in conversation once they realize you are a foreigner and coming from the western world.  These are my observations:  Food is not served steamy hot.  Rice is a staple here too and served with every meal.  Fast foods, street foods and fruit or juice bars are abundant, salad bars less apparent.  Milo is a popular breakfast and anytime drink, it is even served at KFC and McDonalds.  Every where in terms of distance is far if you ask a local for directions, but could turn out to be a short walk if you love to walk like I do.

Community Peeps, readers, friends and family this Southeast Asia tour has been truly wonderful so far.  The cultural experience alone and interaction with natives have been priceless.  As mentioned earlier, I am currently in Singapore and will leave mid-week for Bali.

Remember to write your comments in the box below, select follow to receive timely updates, click like to show your love and support, and you may share or reblog my post on your social media site.  It’s been real the whole time and simply a pleasure sharing this trip with you.  I will upload my photos in a separate posting on my return home.  Thanks for reading.

More times,

Itinerary Planner

 

 

Two Weddings, A Funeral And More


It is funny how the unexpected happens to you even while enjoying a bespoke vacation. In all my planning and preparation, I did not expect that I would be in attendance at two weddings and a funeral. All this took place on the beautiful island of Cebu, Philippines.

Let me back up a bit to give you a total picture of my travels thus far. My Southeast Asia trip began in Manila. From there I flew to the overcrowded tourist destination of Palawan. The city’s main transport – tuk tuks crowd the streets. I missed the opportunity to go on tour of the subterranean river because of a flight delay. Guess I’ll have to return again someday 🙂. Instead I toured the city of Puerto Princesa, went zip lining, site seeing via my very own tuk-tuk driver to places like Baker’s Hill, crocodile farm, butterfly farm, etc.

Moved on to Cebu, the second largest city in the Philippines. I like it here. Less crowded, people are friendly, sites are spectacular and lots to see and do. I visited the Kawasan Falls to the south, passing through the town of Moalboal where divers go to experience the sardine run and Tabogon to the north passing by the Temple of Leia. Both were long rides, but along the way the sites and views were breathtaking.

I rode the bus to Kawasan Falls. While riding along I heard a commotion on the bus. I turned to see what was going on. The bus stopped. The conductor of the bus held a limp little boy and proceeded to drop the boy on the side of the road. I thought the lad was sick but when the bus started up again and the conductor got back on barking out in a dialect I did not understand what obviously were some stern words to the lad, that I realized the child was a stowaway. I could tell from his looks that he was a street kid. I turned to my seat neighbor and asked if he was and she confirmed it. Sad 😞 situation.

Now about the two weddings and funeral. I peregrinated the city of Cebu and while cooling off, resting my weary legs, and observing the beauty of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Cebu, back to back weddings occurred. I sat quietly as the uninvited visitor to observe the proceedings. The flowers and decorations were pretty. The music was sweet and the bridal parties were dressed to the nines even though the temperature was in the high 90s. My presence was not a disturbance because other visitors and locals were there too. The cathedral is actually a historical site.

The funeral, on the other hand, was that of a fellow believer of my faith. Though I did not know the deceased, I was invited to attend by one of the officiating ministers who I met at church the previous day. Morbid thought, I know, but I wanted to experience a Filipino funeral. The grieving family members welcomed my attendance. First there was a feast at the home, which I was told is customary to host for days or even weeks. While at the home, the mood was very respectful, encouraging and comforting to the family. After eating we proceeded to the church for the last rites, ceremonies and interment.

Overall, my time in the Philippines has been very interesting, and exciting. These are my observations: Rice is a staple and eaten at every meal. I’ve eaten rice seven different ways already and counting (bud-bud, rice cake, puso, champorado, to name a few), durian, halo-halo, mangosteen, and other fruits I can’t remember the names. My favorite is still the mango which I eat every day. The traffic is horrendous in Manila and Cebu. Driving there is not for the faint hearted. The weather temperature is hot, hot, hot, but the rainy season is about to start. Every day there is something to see, enjoy, and taste. It is affordable and the USD goes a long way here. My weary body can’t wait to get to rest at night, I fall out the minute my head touches the pillow.

Community Peeps, readers, friends and family, it was wonderful in the Philippines. As of date, I’m already in Kuala Lumpur. Please forgive any errors in spelling, expressions and verbiage. I’m writing on the fly and access to Wi-Fi is not always available. I’ll have to save the photos for another time also.

Remember to comment in the box below, select follow to receive timely updates and postings, click like to show your support and love, and you may share this post on your social media. Here’s to keeping you in the loop. It’s been real.

More times,

Itinerary Planner

Growing Too Old For This? Naaah!


In less than 24 hours my journey to four countries in the Southeast Asia region will begin.  Last minute to-do’s have put me into a tailspin and I am feeling a bit overwhelmed.  The reasons being:  it is either a case of putting off what I could have done yesterday for today, or I am growing too old to be still considering myself a backpacker and all that it entails.  I think I’ll go with the former because my wanderlust is unabated and my curiosity unquench.  However, I believe my energy and tolerance levels for backpacking/trekking to distant lands with flight or travel time more than 16 hours are waning to some degree.  This may be my last long-haul trip, at least for a while.  Don’t get me wrong, the world is still my oyster.  I’m excited to see what lies beyond the bend, and the only way to do that is to travel.

Bespoke itineraries do not always go as planned.  Even a well prepared, extensive itinerary can fall prey to the unexpected.  It is just a part of life with all its curve balls.  Things happen that even the best planner may not foresee.   Flexibility must be a key component to the plan when it begins to go south and the unexpected happens.  Change at a moment’s notice is never ideal considering the circumstances.

What kind of circumstances could hijack vacation plans, one might ask.  Well, to begin: flight cancellation, delays in traffic, inclement weather, and sickness/death for starters.  Of course, there are many other reasons one can add to this list.  Whenever these circumstances arise they may preempt or curtail your travel plans entirely.  Obviously, you have no say in the matter, and its completely out of your control.  Any of these anomalies if presented can cause your vacation to take a turn for the worse, no pun intended, and disrupt your well thought out holiday plans.  Knowing Murphy’s law only too well, I take the utmost care and caution in handling all the arrangements, but I have to admit I have experienced a few of these regrettable incidences myself.

My impending travels to the Philippines, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bali are ambitious an eagerly anticipated.  However, I am prepared to change plans on a dime’s notice.   The research on cost, best tours, most interesting historical sites and culture of each country has consumed most of my time from the day I decided to visit them.  It will be an eventful trip as I navigate solo each country barring any unexpected circumstance that may prevent me from doing so.

Community Peeps, do you have any unique tips you’d like to share on any of the countries I am visiting?  I would be happy to include and let you know what I think of the experience or savor.  I hope to check in and give you timely updates on where in the world I am.  Moreover, if travel plans change abruptly I’d want to keep you in the loop.

Remember to write your advice in the comment box below, select follow to receive timely postings, click like to show your love and support (I like it when you do), and share my post on your social media site (I’m okay with that).   There you have it folks, its been wonderful keeping it real and sharing with you.  Thanks for reading.

More times,

Itinerary Planner

**Photo credits attached to photos.  

Fleeting and Enduring Friendships


Making friends when you travel is not a hard thing to do, at least not for me.  It can begin with a smile, a casual comment or shared humor.  Neither party may intend to become lifelong friends, but, as the saying goes, one thing may lead to another and before you know it a beautiful friendship starts.  Names are exchanged, and contact information given.

Not all friendships are created equal though.  Some bonds are lasting, while others only endure for the duration of the excursion/group tour.  On short itineraries, the acquaintances begin by sharing in minor pleasantries – sitting together at meal times, buddying-up on a hike trail, taking each other’s photos, etc.  It is an unspoken understanding that at the end of the day, you will part company and go your separate ways, never to see or hear from each other again, but for the interim, you become friends and look out for each other.

It isn’t by preconceived design or because of an ulterior intent that this camaraderie is formed.  After all, you did not know the other existed before the inevitable meeting.  It would seem as if unseen hands guided you along so that your paths would cross.  Then, when your worlds collide, a friendship blossoms into something special, for the moment, or for the long haul.  Whether the relationship is fleeting or enduring depends on the chemistry and interaction of the individuals.  If you hit it off like a house on fire, you may probably remain in contact and communicate impromptu from time to time.

I have experienced both types of friendships in my travels over the years.  Neither kind is founded on protracted months of nurturing, or on a filial background.  Yet, it takes each participant a certain level of commitment and interest to follow-up.  Unrealistic expectations are not a part of the formation of the alliance.  Frequent contact is not a do-or-die priority to either person.  Rather, whenever contact is made, it is a refreshing opportunity to catch-up and ruminate familiar bonds that drew you together in the first place.  I must interject, that it is hard to maintain a long distant friendship.  Vacationers who return from whence they came, back to normalcy and business as usual, soon realize that life gets in the way.  Time passes, memories begin to fade and so too does regular contact with the new friend, who up until a few weeks or months ago were a very real part of your world while enjoying a stupendous holiday.

In 2005, in New Delhi, I met a tall, lanky man who became a friend to me.  He was a student studying in India and our common bond was our faith.  I met him after rambling around the city of New Delhi (a story I would have to tell another time), before finally finding my house of worship.  He loves to sing and was an active youth leader at the time I met him. He befriended me when I needed a friend in a strange land.  Hi Samuel!

Again, in 2009, while traveling on a long-distant bus from Cape Town to Durban, I observed a tall, svelte young woman who sat across the aisle from me.  From my peripheral vision I could see her every movement and I am sure it was the same for her. We did not approach or make any attempt to speak to each other during the ride.  Throughout a few rest stops, and including a mechanical brake-down, we remained at a distant, but began to laugh at the puerile jokes by the bus attendant and other passengers as we rode along.  When our bus finally arrived at the terminal in Durban, this same woman came to my rescue.  The transfer to my hotel did not show up.  She took me in her sister’s car to the hotel and in Afrikaans sternly scolded the desk attendants for the no-show.  We have been good friends ever since.  Hi Neliswa!

Four years ago, in Israel, I was at the ticket/entrance booth, about to walk the “Jesus Trail” in Capernaum when I heard a voice behind me saying, “Your accent sounds familiar.”  No, it was not the voice of God.  I turned to see a short blond woman smiling at me.  I smiled back.  We headed into the historical site together.  We walked and talked exchanging names and pleasantries.  By the time we finished peregrinating the historical site, we agreed to finish the rest of the trail together.  She was driving a rental car and I was on foot.  I was very glad for the invitation to ride with her and that was the beginning of a great friendship.  We spent the rest of our vacation hanging out and sightseeing places together.  Hi Danelle!

Last year, on my most recent trip to Peru, I met a senior lady.  My sister and I were onlookers at a rally in light of the anticipated visit of the Pope in early 2018.  The Plaza Mayor in Lima was filled with people, singing, chanting and dancing.  I stood a distance from the stage and this older lady was standing next to me.  We began to talk.  I in my halting Spanish and she in her halting English.  It was a combination that worked for both of us because we managed to exchange information and become fast friends.  She told me she was a grandmother, and introduced me to her daughter and grand-daughter who later joined us.  After sharing with each other for a while the family encouraged my sister and I to leave the plaza for our safety.  They feared there would be violence and that it would be too dangerous for us as foreigners to be there in the midst.  Suffice to say, we heeded their warnings.  Hi Katya!

In 15 days I will be journeying to Southeast Asia.  God willing, my trip will begin in the Philippines with intended escapes to Bali, Kaula Lumpur, and Singapore.  I wonder who I will meet as I move from place to place.  I expect I will form new friendships – fleeting and enduring.  It will be interesting.

Community peeps what is your experience in making friends as you travel?  Do tell.  I would be glad to hear your thoughts on this.  Share in the comment box below, click follow to join my blog community or like to show your love.  You may also share my blog with your community.  That’s all for now and thanks for reading.

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