Dawn of 2013 I foresaw myself filling a more domestic role in an American redneck town while the hubby turns into some NASA rockstar around this time of the year. The scheme fell apart and here we are, the same ol' wildling mum and dad, still raising a daughter in her Terrible Twos 'on the road'.
Here's what happened with Plan B, in chronological order. May contain random shiznit as ush.
Had to cut our Laos trip short for a flight back to the Philippines for my Turkey tourist visa application (which by the way was a royal pain in the arse). Sister flew from Singapore to Philippines the day after to surprise my mom with a quickie family reunion.
Hubby chose a nomadic life over the possibility of NASA stardom. Because he stayed in his current company, he was sent to California for business conferences and a baseball match (an annual outing of geeks) while Luna and I did some catching up with relatives in Tarlac. Hubby also visited Japan as a sidetrip on the way to the U.S.
Attended Choose Philippines' relaunch at MNL Boutique Hostel which turned into one helluva Pinoy Travel Bloggers' block party! Joined an ice cream eating contest which numbed my gums for days. My guwapo partner from Island Media Asia and I lost.
Celebrated Mother's Day with my mom and the rest of the fam over a somewhat simple lunch out.
Was in Manila for the Aerosmith concert! Snagged the last free ticket worth almost $500 off ze cousin.
After countless Singapore stopovers, we were able to finally see the Supertrees up close. And see the Merlion for the first time.
In Istanbul we managed to see the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern and Topkapi Palace before flying to Denizli.
Panic at Pamukkale when hubby and I lost each other for a couple of hours in the ancient Byzantine city of Hierapolis. Hubby actually assumed I was kidnapped to the point that he was already collecting a group of suspects (at least in his mind). I, on the other hand, climbed the travertines the second time (not a walk in the park, I tell you) in my frantic search of my husband and child. I also requested the ticket officer to radio all park rangers — the same park rangers under the hubby's list of suspects — to look for them.
Entered the house which is believed to be Virgin Mary's last residence. A structure that the Apostle John had built for her.
Walked around one of the twelve cities of the Ionian League, ancient Greek city (and later a Roman city) Ephesus. I gawked at the Library of Ephesus.
Hired a manual transmission car (Qué horror!) for a DIY tour in and around Capadoccia. It turned out cheaper than joining a group, plus we were able to see the sights that piqued our interests at an unhurried pace. We forgot to refuel the Renault before leaving it (due to an early flight) at the parking space across our cave hostel for the owner to pick up, but didn't get into trouble.
In Şanlıurfa, a province of Turkey that shares a border with Syria, we visited the following sites: The oldest temple in the world Göbekli Tepe (built before the invention of writing and the wheel), traditional mud brick "beehive" houses, and the cave where Prophet Abraham is believed to have been born.
On our last day in Istanbul we met up with Sabrina of Just One Way Ticket and found out that she indeed buys only one way tickets! It was the third day since the Turkish police attacked peaceful protesters at Gezi Park with tear gas and water cannons. Tsk.
Luna constructed her longest sentence to date, "Put that sugar in the tea!". Referring to a sugar cube (widely used in Turkey) which she wanted to put in her bubba's apple tea.
Flew about six times in two weeks just within Turkey because we were pressed with time.
In the country Georgia (yes it exists), a driver who barely spoke English and played/s 70s rock music in his cab took us to Jvari Monastery (6th century) and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (11th century). Two of the most important structures that showcase Georgian Christian architecture.
The same driver took us to Joseph Stalin's (former de facto leader of the Soviet Union) old house that's now surrounded by a park, then to rock-carved town Uplistsikhe (a name I can't pronounce until now) which is one of the oldest urban settlements in Georgia.
Hiked a mountain to get to the other part of Georgia's Davit Gareji Monastery's cave complex that physically sits on Azerbaijan. Yes, we crossed the border without having our passports stamped! Luna hiked by herself almost halfway.
Rode on Tbilisi's newly rehabilitated funicular and chanced upon a Georgian folk dances presentation by kids at Mtatsminda Amusement Park. We felt like we were on the set of Game Of Thrones.
Hopped aboard a marshrutka that took us from Tbilisi, Georgia to Yerevan, Armenia. Immigration formalities at the border took an hour.
Booked accommodation for the first time through AirBnB. Stayed in a Yerevan apartment for a week. Cheaper than in any of the city's hostels and guesthouses.
Visited Armenia's Etchmiadzin Cathedral, the oldest state-built church in the world. On the same day we spent some quiet time at Khor Virap Monastery where hubby descended to the dungeon where
Saint Gregory the Illuminator was imprisoned for thirteen years. Thirteen!
Was left with a harrowing feeling when we left the Armenian Genocide Museum. And we were even more distraught when a cabbie charged us 3,000 dram (about $7) for a short ride back to town instead of 700 dram.
I was never able to pronounce Shnorhakalut’yun correctly (hubby never bothered trying). It means 'thank you' in Armenian. Even Armenians don't use it, instead they say merci.
Flew to Nepal for it was the cheapest route out of Armenia and toward our home region. Checked in a hostel named End Of The Universe, and we were given a suite with a sweeping view of a Himalayan range. One out of the two mornings that we woke up to such vista, the clouds parted and gave us a peek at the peaks!
Spent four days just eating and watching videos in a guesthouse at Bhaktapur's UNESCO World Heritage Site Durbar Square. We also let Luna sit in a Nepalese pre-school class for two days. Oh how she loved it.
Where we are now...
Just arrived in Phuket yesterday and it looks like we'll be here for four weeks since my sister and hubby's bro and his wife will be flying in also on different dates this month. Currently on a pad thai and Thai pancake diet.
Who's going to be on the island the coming weeks? Raise your hand, and I'll pass you a Chang or Singha.
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