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Planning it part 2

After Thailand I decided to head to Istanbul; about as close to a Middle East destination as you can get without complications these days. Here, I planned an extra leg to get an additional city into the trip. The rules of the program permit only 6 stops along the way, but if you choose to find your own way from one stop to the next, reembarking there, that only counts as one stop. My plan was to visit Istanbul and then fly on a separate ticket to Paris; this way I get both cities and I can choose how to divide about 2 weeks between the two cities.

I've never spent time in Paris and it strikes me that visiting in early December should be an extremely nice and quiet time to see what needs to be seen. There is a new Frank Gehry designed museum in Paris that is said to be quite amazing, so I'm looking forward to that in particular (yeah, yeah, the Mona Lisa will get a look too....). I have a French friend, Evelyne, who has given me detailed instructions that, should I fulfill them all, would take me a month if I ran the whole time... just kidding. Thanks, Evelyne!

More nevers. I have never visited South America so one more southward swing is called for. I decided on Santiago Chile. I have always been interested in Chile, in part because as a native Californian, I have always heard how similar Chile and Californian are in climate and geography. Of course, Chile has the edge in really tall pointy mountains and really dry deserts (sorry, Death Valley, you are positively damp compared to the Atacama). I hope to get out to the coast somehow; Michigan has it's charms, but coasts on freshwater lakes, no matter how huge, just don't smell right. It will be summer again in Chile so back to warmth after about 2 weeks in winter.

Of course, inevitably it's back to winter again and home after a week in Chile. Two months on the road! Winter/Summer/Winter/Summer/Winter! Nature, culture, urbanity, vistas! Food!! Many many many pictures! Pressure to do blog posts!!!!! - nah, sorry folks, fun takes priority. I have promised myself I won't obsess over the blog - if friends want to see more they can invite me to dinner when I get home and ply me with beer and I might reveal additional travel adventures.

With plan in hand I went to the Sky Team RTW planner and roughed out the trip, then called the Sky Team RTW desk. They were most patient and accommodating and although they couldn't get me to Darwin (or to Sri Lanka, another place that intrigues me - if Arthur C Clarke says it is paradise, I reckon it would be worth a look; maybe next time) we did the deed and booked the ticket.

One kind of cool thing is that I will be flying business class on 7 or 8 airlines, mostly long haul, so it will be great fun to rate them along the way. I did some looking around and found that the contents of the amenity bags (bags with toiletries etc. given for the flight- eat your heart out coach passengers!) are a subgenre of collectables (here's a link to a collection of retro amenity kits. Of course, food and wine will get my critical attention as I lounge luxuriously in the front of the plane. (Am I laying this on a bit thick? Hey- you'd do the same; admit it!

Posted by tdeits 06:43

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Reading Michael Crichton's "Travel", I learned that there are 4 things that you must not do in Thailand: a) touch someone, particularly not on the head, (b) point your feet at someone as you sit cross-legged on the floor, (c) be taller than a buddha, (d) say the polite greeting in Thai (forgot the words) that you use on adults to a child as it is thought to shorten the life of the child.

by Birgitz

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