Monday, December 05, 2005

From pickled herring to pad thai...

Greetings from Copenhagen!

We were bemoaning the icy, rainy, blustery 30ish degrees here until we were not so gently reminded by our Minnesota brethren that it was -10 to 2 degrees there. Yeah....this'll work. And 80-90 degrees in Bangkok next week will work even better!

That's right, we finally have a plan and more importantly, a plane ticket! I have to admit it was a strange conversation at the travel agency:

-- Hej. Hvordan kan jeg hjælp dig?

-- Hej. Jeg vil gerne ha et ..... Um, we'd like to buy a ticket please.

-- <seamlessly switching into flawless English...I hate the Danes> Yes, where would you like to go?

-- Well, we were thinking Bangkok.

-- No problem....

-- And then maybe Hong Kong....and then Sydney....a side trip to Auckland....maybe to Indonesia...back to Australia....then towards the States?

-- No problem, I have just the ticket program for you here. <and gosh darn if he didn't have exactly the type of routing and overland trip options we were looking for>

-- Yeah, that would be great. We'll take it.

-- And when would you like to leave?

-- In two weeks. <which is high season to go to Thailand, btw...>

-- <masterfully manages not to blink> I think we can make that work. There. <and upping the ante...> And as you get one more stop for this price, why don't you break up the trip home with a stop in Fiji....

-- Um. Yeah. Ok. <Brian and I are wondering if this question is in the dictionary under 'No-Brainer Decisions'>

And then some paperwork later we walked out of the office, considerably lighter in the checking account (though not really considering all the places the ticket is going to) but holding tickets to get us all the way back home again at the end of next summer. I must admit it's not everyday that I just make that kind of major purchasing, life-affecting decision so casually, but the planning process for a trip like this really warps your brain.

The Eurorail pass in Europe starts the change in thinking. As you have the ability to get on any train going anywhere, you begin to relax your itinerary and be open to more spontaneous decisions about destinations. The logical end to this train of thought occurred as we were planning the Asian leg of our adventure. There are many places we want to see and definitely not enough time to dive deep into them all. As we have decided that we don't want to rush around the area, that meant we needed to make some choices, leading to the following email conversation (paraphrased slightly).

Lincoln: so where are you going to be spending Christmas?
Brian: Well, we're not sure. We may go to Bangkok and be exploring Thailand, but we are also toying with being in India. But since we also want to visit China before hiking in New Zealand, and don't want to cut Laos and Vietnam short, we might skip India.
Lincoln: This has to be the all-time best sentence in an email I've ever received. You make it sound like India, China, and New Zealand are stores in a strip mall. Last night I toyed with hitting Target but I had to stop at Fred Meyers, the gas station, and the bank before the kids' bedtime
It's great having friends to remind you when you are off floating in rarefied air. But it's also kind of a cool transformation to watch happen to ourselves that we are actually starting to think that way.
More details as the departure date approaches. But just wanted to let everyone know that as of December 13th, it's a whole new ballgame! (sorry...was practicing my holiday movie taglines. Now we just need movie announcer guy to say it for us)
Happy December.

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