Our traveling recently continued from Asia to New Zealand but we still have loads of travel pics left from Asia. We saw this kind of post idea on some travel blog some time ago so we dug our archives and decided to share some random shots we have captured on the way.
We booked a room in a local homestay in Lombok. Soon Jarkko noticed that the room has only one socket that is high on the wall next to the fan. Well, you gotta charge the phone in some way or another so there was no choice than to stand next to the wall, phone on the shoulder while Johanna was laughing and taking pictures. A while after taking this photo, we did notice though that there actually was a normal socket in the room, it was just hidden behind Johanna’s yoga mat. The funniest thing is that you can even see the socket in this picture and still it took us so long to see it.
On our backpacking trip in Asia, we have seen all kinds of toilets from Japanese super toilets to dirty squat toilets. Anyhow, this toilet at Probolinggo bus station was definitely the record low. A small closest with a WC sign only had a water basin with a bucket and a floor drain. Johanna was wondering where the actual toilet is but the toilet guy just kept pointing toward the closet. She could do nothing but squat and rinse the floor with water after… And she even had to pay for this fun. After Jarkko came back from the toilet, he wondered what Johanna meant with “an interesting toilet experience”. It turned out that there were actually proper toilets just around the corner and Johanna was just unlucky to walk to a wrong place.
When you look at this picture, you have to ask yourself whether the shoe seller has got a stroke or if Jarkko has knocked him out with a sandal. Neither of these really happened but this is just a normal siesta that every Vietnamese has at some point throughout the day. Another salesperson was serving us and nobody dared to wake up this guy who slept in the middle of the floor. In Asia, you face quite often situations when you enter a stall or shop and notice that everyone is in a full sleep. You have to consider every time whether you should wake them up or just leave silently.
While traveling around Japan, we ended up going to Shikoku island where we moved around by hitchhiking. We got a ride to some small town that didn’t seem to have any affordable accommodation or even internet cafes so we had no choice but to continue traveling. The sun was already going down the horizon which maybe explains the desperate look in the picture, as hitchhiking in the dark at the roadside is quite hard. Luckily we caught another ride in a couple of minutes and eventually made it to our destination in the west as the sign says. When we hitchhiked in Japan, we draw many many kanjis on the paper even though they normally looked like child-made.
In Indonesia, all the ferries, as well as other vehicles, fill up with food vendors before departure. The journey from Lombok to Bali takes over four hours on a local ferry but luckily the padded floor offers a nice spot for a nap. We bought some snacks and before we even noticed, we were already close to Bali. We thought that wow, this trip went quickly and smoothly. But nope, the ferry stopped near the terminal and jammed there for two hours. So close but so far. The locals didn’t seem to care about this but we were already starving at this point as we hadn’t bought enough food. When we finally made it to the terminal, we ran to the closest food stall to eat. Note to self: buy more food next time.
When we volunteered in a Vietnamese language cafe, a free accommodation was provided in the back room of the cafe where there were mattresses on the floor. We slept there in a row with seven other people. Maybe not the most luxurious place to stay and probably many wouldn’t even step their foot there. We did have fun though and the nice atmosphere replaced all the discomfort. We did find a hand-sized spider a couple of times in the bathroom and couldn’t prevent thinking that what if one of them will come to the room among the people sleeping on the floor…
Already on our first day in Tokyo, we found some cheap food sources, which means ready-to-eat supermarket meals and cup noodles. Some evenings, we did great finds in the supermarkets for half-price. At this point, we didn’t know yet how stable part of our life noodles, especially cup noodles, would be during the next months.
In Saigon, we always went to buy fresh bamboo with our local host from this old lady. She always cut the bamboo into thin slices with a knife. Once Johanna had to stay and keep her eye on the granny so that she wouldn’t put worse quality stuff in the bag. Even though they didn’t change even one word because of the language barrier, the lady put Johanna sit on a bench next to the stall. With her toothless smile, she handed a bottle of some suspicious-looking drink that turned out to be sweet tea. So there they sat and smiled until all the bamboo was sliced.
We woke up at 4 AM and started to drive toward Angkor Wat temple with bikes we had rented at the hostel. To get the tickets paid, we needed to take some cash first. Johanna went to the ATM but a few minutes after, she somehow got a weird feeling. After digging through the wallet we got to notice that the bank card had disappeared. That meant she either forgot it in the ATM or it was stolen. It took a long while to deal with the issue so we wouldn’t have made it to the sunrise at the temples anymore and felt a bit down anyway. But as we were already up and the bank wouldn’t open in many hours, we decided to cycle to the opposite direction without any specific destination. We ended up seeing a beautiful sunrise outside the city center next to rice paddies and an abandoned temple. Eventually, we got the bank card back on the same day and also made it to Angkor Wat next morning.
While driving with a motorbike in Vietnam, we once missed one crossing and drove to a wrong direction for a while. We decided not to turn back but follow small roads to get back to the route. We arrived in a tiny village and saw a juice stall at the streetside. The faces of the vendors were worth seeing when two foreigners suddenly cruise a one-meter wide sandy road in the middle of rice paddies with their motorbike. Even though we couldn’t understand a word of their speech, it was not hard to notice how enthusiastically they gossiped about us, accompanied with long stares.
We were sitting on our hostel terrace with the laptop when a young boy selling bracelets on the street noticed it and wanted to play. We sat there a good while together until the boy’s mom shouted him to get back to work. Child vendors are sadly common in Southeast Asia, but hopefully a small gaming moment helped to make this dude’s day at least a bit better.