A Travellerspoint blog

Long Way Gone (8 hours in HK)

And so the journey began. We all managed to pack our lives into a backpack for 6 weeks. Shockingly enough, my bag is the heaviest. We'll see how much of it I don't use.
We had a pleasant surprise at the airport to find out our bags would be checked all the way to Kathmandu- and seeming as we would be stopping in not one but 3 different cities on our journey to Nepal, we were understandingly pumped (Westjet is aligned with Cathay Pacific, who is aligned with Dragonair).

After a lot of tossing and turning (and scolding from the flight attendant), we made it to Hong Kong. Both B and I obligingly called our Father's when we landed (Skype'd, free wifi at HK airport and some Skype credit is a gem). Both of them had been tracking our flight and gave each of us a rundown of the flight pattern and the arrival time (details which we had been privy too, being passengers and all). All joking aside, being in our late 20's and both having travelled a little, our Dad's are more worried than either B or I expected... Too cute.

Ok so- with an 8 hour layover we had enough time to head into town... So we grabbed our first java of the day and hopped the train to Hong Kong Station (return fare is HKD$100, and a 24 minute 1 way trip). Not much is open at 8am Sunday in HK, however it was nice to get out of the airport. We headed from HK Station to Soho and The Levels for a nice brisk uphill walk- After a bit more wandering we ended up landing down by the Cathedral where we made the group decision to head up to the Peak to check out the view.

Second coffee of the day. Its cold (ok like 16 and overcast). We are making minimal efforts at communicating. Kitten is getting a little warm-up culture shock being in HK (she has just learned about the squat toilet... And is terrified of splash back). We decide to eat Pho up at the Peak (fairly priced but nothing special) deciding we haven't eaten in a while... Turns out we're much more lively with some food in us!!

We end up back at the airport aimlessly wandering wasting more time. HK airport is a massive structure. Well over 100 gates in terminal 1 alone... We walk 1/2 of it (in silence), grab (our third) coffee of the day, and nest up at the gate waiting to hit the next leg... HK to Dhaka and then Dhaka to Kat.... Wish us luck.

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All caffeinated up,
L

Posted by ellie nicole 03:36 Archived in Hong Kong Tagged hong kong layover Comments (0)

Function over Fashion? Blasphemy.

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Anxiety in its purest form

Tonight the packing began. Now I will admit that I have an abnormal phobia of packing. Although I wouldn't classify myself as being high maintenance, I like to match. I like my shoes and my handbags. I like my dangly earrings and big thick bangles. But now not only do I have to pack for 6 weeks in a backpack... I need to pack for conservative India, trekking Nepal, outrageous Thailand, and lethargic Lombok. How on earth am I going to manage this?

The picture clearly shows the disaster that ensued. I think it is likely that this post is a rant and I will give an official "definitely don't forget this" list sometime in mid March.... There needs to be a post from someone as shallow as me worrying about fashion and meds in India and Nepal (it's not like it's the Moon, right??)

So to start I think I've got the personal hygiene and emergency medical supplies all covered off. Everything from extra strength Tylenol to melatonin and pepto tabs. I've got it covered. To keep things simple, B, Kitten and I are dividing up these items for the trip. No sense in bringing three of everything. I however have a complete inability to estimate the volume of product I will require for 6 weeks (other than hair spray of course). So we're either going to run out of everything or it will weigh us all down for the entire trip.

On a fashion/function perspective: I have not even thought about accessories. Ok, I'll take some earrings and I'll likely wear my LNL pendant. But that's all (for now). I am reasonably certain I have narrowed my footwear down to 4 pairs: hikers, thongs, nikes, flats, metallic sandals (oops... that's 5!!). I have managed to find two chiffon dresses which should be light and conservative enough for India and Nepal... Also included, several more fun (and less length) numbers for Phuket... Conserving some fashion here.

There are piles of lululemon in my pack however. Tights, jackets, tanks, sports bras, scarves, long sleeves.... Now I love lulu. I own way too much of it. I don't however consider it to be "fashion". Lulu is stylish, but it's function. At home, unless I am at the rink or gym, you will not see me in lululemon on a Thursday night at Una. So this has been my compromise... An expensive one, but I am willing to take this one for the team.

Last... My anxiety cooled when I realized- I get to cherry pick from the packs of two very savy fashionista's... Blondey and Ging and I have swapped a tank or three in our time, so I will say that my number one accessory for my fashion sanity for this trip, is going to be their backpacks.

8 more sleeps...
xo L

Posted by ellie nicole 19:56 Archived in Canada Tagged india fashion packing Comments (1)

I'd rather be poked on Facebook

travel vaccines are just part of the package

Pincushion

Pincushion


And so it starts. I am not entirely sure if travel blogging will be a strength of mine, or if it will just be a way for the few of you who are worried that I am not going to make it home alive, to know that I really will be home in one piece. So it starts. Itchy feet and great shades... the World won't know what hit them.

We're just shy of 4 weeks until our trip. Maybe the best way to start is to introduce the main characters...
Blondey: My beautiful best friend who will be finishing her internship to become a Registered Dietician in a few short weeks. Hence the timing of the trip- she's done February 10 and we will be running off on February 17. She's blonde, bold, honest and loves to experience new things, new people and of course- great food.
The GingCat (aka Kitten): Ging is our little junior traveller. She's 6 years younger than Blondey and I. She's wildly naive and carefree. Ging is also a Dietician and has no idea what she has gotten her self into by agreeing to travel with the Blonde one and I.

The plan: India-Nepal-Thailand. I shouldn't really include Thailand because it's sole purpose is to be an easy break at the end of what I expect to be a challenging (but rewarding) trip through India and Nepal. We peace out of here on February 17...

The planning is pretty much complete. We have our flights. We have our visas (well kind of... a story I will explain later). Packing duties have been delegated to Blondey. Blogging duties delegated to me. The Kitten has not yet been given a task as we're not sure what is the most appropriate for her yet... her inability to properly fill out her Indian Visa forms with both a first AND last name tipped us off that she might be more suitable for being the photogenic one for the trip (love you Ging!)

Now that there is a tid bit of background... today was vaccination day.
Blondey is actually in charge of two things- Packing and Vaccines. Working in a hospital means she was (is) the best candidate to figure out what vaccines are needed for this excursion. Me being completely Type A, I have sent out countless emails requesting these two to get their act together for visas and flights and dates... but I completely ignore B's instructions to go get vaccinated in December. Whoops... sorry buddy.

Vaccines are tricky because it is really up to you what you decide to get. India and Nepal do not currently require Canadians to have proof of any vaccinations (good), however when I got to my appointment at the Travel Clinic (I went to Preventous in Calgary- Jamie is great and super helpful) I received a 50 page book on all of the travel health precautions! Long story longer- go see a travel nurse. One of three things will happen: 1. You realize you're a hypochondriac and due to that, your trip to the travel clinic will cost you in excess of $500; 2. You turn anti-establishment and decide that sterile baby syndrome is the root cause of all of this disease and you walk away with a $60 booklet on things you think can be cured with penicillin; or 3. You elect to forego Rabies (even though you are terrified of monkey's and have had several close encounters which could have required a rabies shot), you skip out on anything that has 5 syllables in the name, partially because its expensive and partially because it is uncommon where you're going, and you pick the run-of-the-mill standards: Hep A, Typhoid, Polio and Influenza. You don't need Infulenza or Polio... and India even announced last week that they are officially polio free (hooray!), but as Jamie so sweetly said, "you're getting two needles any way, might as well get a few more". (side note: even tho polio is covered in your childhood vaccines, they are recommending a booster for anyone over 18. And the flu shot... to each their own... but it was free... who doesn't like free stuff?). Jamie also hooked me up with a prescription for Azithromycin. Its an "emergency" prescription in the event I end up super sick on the trip. Really just an insurance measure as she called it. I have also elected to skip out on the malaria pills, as we aren't going to be in regions where the risk is anything other than an insect transmission risk. I expect a little bit of DEET will be necessary... a terrible replacement to my amazing Fredric Malle Musc Ravageur, however I suppose that DEET could be known by a similar name.

For all the travelling I have done- this is the first trip I have taken as an adult that I have gotten any type of vaccines for. I have been to Asia (countless times) and Central America in the past three years and haven't bothered to get anything. India and Nepal make me slightly more concerned about getting ill... and even tho it seems a bit pricey, it is worth the investment. There... my sales pitch for the day has been completed.

Needless to say- my arm was a pincushion this afternoon. My suggestion- get them in the arm you use the most. It hurts to use my right arm- but it shouldn't be stiff for too long as I am using it all the time. However atm, I can't put my hair in a pony tail.

Hope you enjoy my ranting updates. I am reasonably confident that the posts will be sporadic and likely emotional. Over the course of the next few months you can expect lots of touchy feely and probably a lot of fml ranting. Either way- enjoy.

be good or be good at it,
L

Posted by ellie nicole 21:16 Archived in Canada Tagged vaccines_clinics_calgary Comments (0)

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