Turkey

The reason Istanbul is on my list is because visiting here last year was the moment I decided I would quit my job to go travelling. So I felt like I needed to visit it whilst I was on my travels. I also neglected having a Turkish Bath the first time (because I’m stingy with money even when I have a job apparently) and I thought that that needed rectifying!

Luckily, a friend who I met in Edinburgh for Hogmanay has managed to hook me up with a friend she has in Turkey so that there’s a couch I can crash on for the time I’m there.

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Hong Kong

5-9th June 2016

I arrive in Hong Kong with big expectations. Everyone I have met has told me that they love the British here. Particularly because Hong Kong was ruled by Britain for a total of 156 years and until a lease ran out on Kowloon (next door to Hong Kong Island) and Britain agreed to give it back. However, Hong Kong isn’t quite part of China. They still need visa’s and Hong Kong is still allowed to practice capitalism, at least until 2047 when the next World War will probably kick off just prior to this.

History lesson over.

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India: Jaipur

8-10th July 2016

Myself and my Karl Pilkington companion, Jonathan, arrive in Jaipur to another barrage of tuk tuk drivers. We hop on one, agree a price of 150 (very reasonable for the distance) and hope for the best. The driver was the nicest I’ve ever had, he was very smiley, told a lot of jokes and was in good spirits. He showed us his book which had comments in from past travellers. Jonathan kept trying to find holes in his story but it was a thoroughly enjoyable ride.

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India: Agra

6-8th July 2016

Arriving in Agra I’m once again accosted by a magnitude of tuk tuks. I ask a local Indian chap from the bus, who speaks good English, to help me figure out where I need to go and ask him to negotiate with the tuk tuk driver. He kindly obliges and we agree 250 rupees but I sense trouble when I realise I only have 500 rupee notes.

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India: Delhi

Delhi 4-5th July 2016

On arriving at the airport I felt a lot of anxiety, presumably given to me by horror stories which travellers who have been to India have shared with me. Part of me assumed, almost knew, that these stories were, no doubt, exaggerated beyond belief and weren’t going to be reflective of such a spiritual, peaceful country that’s about as big and diverse as they come.

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China: Beijing and Shanghai

25-28th May 2016

 

After a fantastic time in Japan, my visit to China is off to a bad start when I peruse through the on-flight magazines to find an article that feels less-than-slightly propagandize. To make it more poignant, it’s an interview with someone who supposed emigrated from Japan to China. He just can’t understand why anyone would ever want to leave China if they were born there. This place is just amazing.

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Cambodia

17th – 20th June 2016

Cambodia. Not a destination I planned to come to. Yet here I am. A kind gentleman has agreed to host me for a couple of nights and, wanting to do SE Asia overland, I need to pass through Cambodia anyway. As soon as I mention this to people I start hearing things about “Pol Pot” and “The Killing Fields”. It all sounds like some history lesson I wouldn’t be that interested in. Boy, am I proved wrong!

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Japan: Tokyo and Nikko

11-18th May 2016

Japan was the first place I was expecting to really experience some culture shock. I didn’t know anything about the place other than their love of manga and anime and all things cute and techy. I’ve since learnt about some of the interesting history following the World Wars, including the fact that Japan wasn’t allowed an official army! As I did my final checks on the place I read how clean and safe the country is and that put me at ease.

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Malacca

 28th June – 1st July 2016

Malacca, often see “Maleka” too though I’m not sure what that refers to(?), was off to a strange start. I had arranged to stay with a couch surfer host which always makes me slightly anxious. As Edwin showed me, there’s usually nothing to worry about and it’s generally filled with lovely, trustworthy people. There’s always the nervousness that it only takes one to spoil the experience for the rest of your life though.

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