April – May 2003
So this trip is not what it was originally supposed to be. I bought a “Circle Pacific” fare, which allows you a certain maximum number of miles to cover during a certain time period, for a fixed price. So, I was supposed to go to all the countries of the Pacific Rim that were available using this fare: Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, China, South Korea and Japan. Well, with travel, things rarely go according to plan…
Especially when it’s 2003, and SARS decides to hit most of the countries on your itinerary. I held out until the final week, when Taiwan suddenly issued an edict that all travelers going through Taipei would be quarantined at the airport for 15 days. What?! That’s almost my whole trip! So, 3 days before leaving, with surgical masks purchased, packed and ready for use – I was forced to change my plans, cutting out all SARS-affected countries, and leaving me with a trip to SARS-free Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Japan.
The crazy part was changing everything literally three days before my trip – cancelling flights, rebooking flights, cancelling hotels, rebooking hotels, etc. I was on the phone for hours every night after work getting it all settled. The good part was that I was able to spend more time in those four countries, and looking back on it, I’m glad that I did.
Some of my favorite memories came out of this ‘revised’ trip! The most important thing though, I still got to visit my “final continent” – Australia.
In Sydney, I met up with another travel-junkie friend (I met him in Antarctica last year!), and he convinced me to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge – even though I’m afraid of heights. It was an exhilarating experience, and one I’d probably do again given the chance. There is no better view of Sydney and that amazing harbour! In Melbourne, while sketching the iconic new Federation Square, I met the architect who designed it – he just happened to be walking right past me! In Tokyo, I learned that slurping ramen loudly isn’t rude, it means you like it.
And in Seoul – I was asked to have my picture taken with some Japanese girls who thought that… I looked like Ricky Martin. (???)
|1||Auckland, New Zealand||April 30, 2003||May 1, 2003|
|2||Hamilton, New Zealand||May 1, 2003||May 1, 2003|
|3||Auckland, New Zealand||May 1, 2003||May 2, 2003|
|4||Sydney, Australia||May 2, 2003||May 5, 2003|
|5||Parramatta, Australia||May 5, 2003||May 5, 2003|
|6||Katoomba, Australia||May 5, 2003||May 5, 2003|
|7||Bathurst, Australia||May 5, 2003||May 5, 2003|
|8||Canberra, Australia||May 5, 2003||May 5, 2003|
|9||Albury, Australia||May 5, 2003||May 6, 2003|
|10||Wodonga, Australia||May 6, 2003||May 6, 2003|
|11||Melbourne, Australia||May 6, 2003||May 8, 2003|
|12||Alice Springs, Australia||May 8, 2003||May 8, 2003|
|13||Uluṟu, Australia||May 8, 2003||May 10, 2003|
|14||Perth, Australia||May 10, 2003||May 11, 2003|
|15||Fremantle, Australia||May 11, 2003||May 11, 2003|
|16||Perth, Australia||May 11, 2003||May 11, 2003|
|17||Sydney, Australia||May 11, 2003||May 12, 2003|
|18||Auckland, New Zealand||May 12, 2003||May 13, 2003|
|19||Osaka, Japan||May 13, 2003||May 14, 2003|
|20||Kobe, Japan||May 14, 2003||May 14, 2003|
|21||Himeji, Japan||May 14, 2003||May 14, 2003|
|22||Osaka, Japan||May 14, 2003||May 15, 2003|
|23||Seoul, South Korea||May 15, 2003||May 17, 2003|
|24||Tokyo, Japan||May 17, 2003||May 18, 2003|
|25||Yokohama, Japan||May 18, 2003||May 18, 2003|
|26||Tokyo, Japan||May 18, 2003||May 20, 2003|