Asia and Pacific
Before moving to Tokyo in 1998, we'd been to only five countries in the
AsiaPacific region. Even so, we considered ourselves fortunate to have
seen that much so far from home. While living in Tokyo, we explored some
new places Asia and revisited others. Our experiences so far have given
us the desire to visit more places. We especially want to see the great
wall of China one day and the TajMahal in India!! However, for our World
Tour 2000, we decided to explore the Islands of the Pacific and leave China
and India for a package tour one day.
We spent the second week of our pre-honeymoon in Australia
during 1994. It was a busy week because we went to Sydney, Hamilton Island
and Cairns. Seth had to go to the Sydney
& Melbourne offices in early
1999. Tara was lucky enough to go along and we ended up taking an extra
week and going river rafting in Tasmania.
Then, we went back to Australia and visited Hayman
Island and Brisbane for what turned
out to be almost a five year anniversary trip in March 2000. We also stopped
in Sydney, Kooyong
and Melbourne on our World
The Cook Islands
Rarotonga, the main Cook
Island, was our favorite South Pacific Island during our World Tour 2000.
We hope to return one day with our friends Bob & Eileen to "their"
Even though Easter Island
is Chilean territory, and thus South American, we include it here since
it was a stop on islands tour during our World Tour in 2001. We really
enjoyed Easter Island! Not only was seeing the statues very kool, but we
were happily surprised at just how gorgeous the island is. We really liked
hiking up the exploded volcano craters and exploring the rugged coastline.
Our best days were when we took our guesthouse owner's jeep and drove around
We included Fiji as a stop on our World Tour 2000 in March 2001 since the
political coup of 2000 was now more than a year in the past. However, the
week before we were to fly to Fiji, we saw that the high court had ruled
the coup of 2000 as illegal and was placing the former Indian Fijian back
in power. We decided to go anyway since our tickets were non-refundable,
just to stay away from the capital of Suva and stay in a pre-booked resort.
We had an OK time on the coral coast
at Hideaway Resort and a nice last night near the airport at Beachside
Resort. It was only when we came back for two days after being in Tonga
that we found the Fiji we expected at Natadola
We included Tahiti and Bora Bora in our World Tour 2000 trip. We initially
spent a few days in Papeete on Tahiti
since we were waiting on a flight to Easter Island. The only aspect of
Papeete that we liked were the dinner trucks that pulled up and parked
by a waterfront park. Otherwise, Papeete was dirty, crowded and smelly.
We have awarded the Papeete Airport Tourist Information Center our "worst
tourist information center in the world" award. Our experience in Bora
Bora was better, but still it was not our idea of paradise. Bora Bora
did have gorgeous views and natural scenery - but from afar only. Up close,
a number of people we ran into rude, the natural beaches (not in front
of 5-star hotels) were dirty mud-flats and the buildings around the island
were run-down. Our best experiences were when we were in the water seeing
good snorkeling or diving.
Tara traveled to Hong Kong a few times for business. Then, on the weekend
of July 1, 1996, we visited Hong Kong for
the first time together. Walking around the open-air Chinese markets watching
women picking out a raw pig's liver as if they were picking out a piece
of fruit was truly a memorable experience as was being in Hong Kong exactly
one year before the handover from the UK to China. On July 1, 1997, we
were actually in Scotland
watching the handover ceremony in a store while we bought CD racks.
Hong Kong, China
After the handover from Britain to China, we moved to Tokyo and Hong Kong
is much closer to home. Because of Seth's Asian regional manager responsibilities,
we've been to Hong Kong alot. From June 1998 to Dec 1999, Seth has taken
five business trips to Hong Kong and Tara has been able to come along for
three of them. Our first trip to Hong Kong together was at the end of the
Cook & Immell Asian Tour 1999 from April
14 - 18, 1999. Then, we went back again over the summer from July
21 - 25, 1999. And most recently, we were in Hong Kong in October 1999.
We would like to go to Bali, but just haven't found the right time to plan
a trip yet. We almost went in October, 1999; but, with all the news in
the papers about peacekeeping troops in nearby East Timor and riots in
Jakarta - we decided to stay away and went to Mauritius instead. We have
one rule from when we canceled our plans for Israel - we don't go to any
countries where there are tanks mobilized! Instead of Bali, we could always
take an hours ferry ride from Singapore to Bintan, Indonesia - we just
In June of 1998, we moved from London to Tokyo. Since then, we've been
on many day trips including Hakano and Kamakura. Plus, in the summer of
1999, Tara climbed Mt. Fuji and for three weekends before, we went hiking
on nearly mountains. Our first overnight trip in Japan since moving here
was in November, 1999 when we went with Seth's parents to Kyoto.
Before moving to Tokyo, we'd both visited Japan before. 1994 - 1997,
Tara traveled to Japan once a year for work. In 1997, for a switch, it
was Seth who was working in Tokyo and Tara who was on vacation in Japan.
During that trip in 1997, we would have thought that one year later, we'd
be coming back to Japan to live! Since
moving to Japan, we've taken overnight trips to Kyoto and Sapporo, plus
had many adventures
in and around Tokyo.
We went back to Japan during our World Tour in 2001. Our timing was
perfect since we arrived at the heighth of hamani (cherry blossum) viewing
in Tokyo. After spending a while with our friends Tod and Kristen in Tokyo,
we had a whilrwind week on the Shinkansen and visited Matsushima,
Doraemon Town, Hirosaki,
We spent an afternoon in Macau together one time when Seth was working
in Hong Kong.
We finally made it to Malaysia during our World Tour because the cheapest
one-way flight from New Zealand to Singapore was via Kuala Lumpur. Finally
we got to see the Twin Towers. Overall, we were impressed with KL - especially
the hotel we stayed in for US$60/night.We haven't been to Malaysia yet
which is surprising considering how many times we've been less than an
hour away in Singapore. One day we'll decide to cross the border! We want
to see the twin towers in Kuala Lumpur and the water bungalows at Pangkor
Laut Island Resort look very nice.
We spent our first week of our pre-honeymoon in New
Zealand. We've done some of the most unique activities ever while there.
One of the best memories is of climbing up out a cave into the sunlight
with a waterfall splashing into our faces. We also visited New Zealand
during our World Tour in 2001. Twice, we connected through the airport
in Auckland - once we had an unexpected
trip to the hospital and the other time we went shopping at a cheap
Wharehouse store nearby the airport. We enjoyed our quick trips through
Auckland so much that we headed back to New Zeland for up to a month.
Singapore is HOT! From 1992 - 1998, Tara went to Singapore about once a
year on a buisiness trip. She always thought that it was a perfect place
for a vacation - great weather, very good tourist attractions, clean and
more! Finally, Seth was able to come along & we found Singapore
to be more like America in some ways than London. Since 1998, the tables
have turned & Seth travels to Singapore for business regularly. Singapore
was also a stop on the Cook & Immell Asian Tour 1999.
One night in Bangkok and the world's
your oyster... One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble...
Tara was insistent that we spend one night in Bangkok before heading
to the beaches of Krabi on the BEST Asian
We spent a week in Tonga while on our World Tour. Tara had hoped that we'd
stay in one place all week, but as it ended up - we slept FOUR different
places in seven days. It was only in the end, at Otuhaka
Beach Resort that we found a place we could have stayed at longer.
We were pretty miserable our first three nights at Fafa
Island. If we could have taken away the 100,000,000 mosquitos on Fafa,
it would have been OK - but as it was, it was the 2nd worst place we'd
stayed in in 260 days. Maybe the absolute worst since we couldn't leave
without losing money and the "camping" on Fafa was quiete expensive. Because
we had to move around, we did get to explore the main town of Nuku'alofa.