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Planning it - part 1


So, off I go - but where?

I have been fortunate in having traveled quite a bit in the past. England, Ireland, Germany, France, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, Australia, Samoa, Tonga and New Zealand spring to mind. I decided on a mix of old and new. My son Robin and I traveled to Japan and had a great time about 6 years ago, so I'd like to explore Tokyo further. I only had one day in Seoul on a trip to visit biotech outfits in Daejeon, and I had a great time there. I loved the three older women sitting in a park who beckoned me over and gave me a nice dried whole fish to chew on while we sat there and smiled at each other, or the other lady who whipped a suitcase out of my hand as I was climbing out of the subway and deposited it for me at the top of the stairs - I now understand that this is a customary courtesy but I was a bit surprised at that particuar time.

So, I decided that Japan and Korea would be two destinations. Extra good news is that my Robin will be able to go with me to Japan - even better is that he is going to give a short talk to the robotics group at the University of Tokyo, one of the best robot spots in the world. Robin is a grad student at CSAIL (Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory) at MIT working on the DARPA Robotics Challenge . I hope to be able to pet the robots while I tag along with him!

I really enjoyed Australia. Sydney is a great city. As a former Seattleite, another city I love, I have to say Sydney's weather tips the balance just a bit (sorry, cousin Ann! :) . I have also visited the Great Barrier Reef (Giant Clams Ruuuule!) for the best reefs I have ever seen, so this trip I decided on the West coast; wait, does that even make sense? Well, logic aside, that's the deal. I kind of wanted to go to Darwin for the truly out-of-the-way experience, but that's not a spot I could reach on this fare - next time.. so this time it's Perth.

Next, Thailand. I decided to visit SE Asia, which I have never done - thanks to a high lottery number. Fortunately, I have a friend there, Julie, who runs a Tai Chi studio in Chiang Mai, so I would have a touchstone locally. I will fly into Bangkok and then buy a local airfare to Chiang Mai (again, not accessible on my airlines). I considered taking the train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai as it is reportedly an interesting trip and a chance to meet people, but apparently the line is in such terrible shape that there have been 10 derailments in the past year! (Thanks for the heads-up, Julie!)

Second half of the plan in the next installment!

Posted by tdeits 06:42

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