Farewell Hong Kong

So, like I foreshadowed, I slacked on blogging while in Hong Kong. But that’s the sign of a great trip. It was a jam packed whirlwind of fun. This city is so easy to get around – we rode the MTR practically everywhere.

Quick list of highlights:
Riding the tram to Victoria Peak to see the amazing skyline
Riding the Star Ferry over to Kowloon just in time to see the laser show
A 10-course Szechuan meal to drool over – best Ma Po Tofu ever
Lots of shopping in markets: Temple Street Night Market, Ladies Market, Jade Market
Browsing the flora and fauna at the flower market, goldfish market, and bird garden
Getting some new kitchen gear including a sweet vegetable slicer from the kitchen supply district
Lighting incense at Man Mo Temple
A food tour with amazing wonton soup and dim sum
Betting on some horses at the Happy Valley Racecourse
Getting HB some custom shirts tailored
Eating at the world’s cheapest Michelin starred restaurant

… and after all that, multiple foot massages.

I took an afternoon of rest by watching Skyfall at the movie theater while HB pounded the pavement exploring the computer stores. Now I’m rejuvenated and ready to explore Taipei!

A Bradley Babymoon

Some forewarning… Blogging this time around will not be nearly as comprehensive as last time. For one, Brad Beskin is not here, and we all know that his antics provided much motivation for blogging. Second, it turns out making a human being requires a lot of energy, so I’m going to pull the pregnancy brain card. The newest third Bradley has been distracting me with her fun kicks all day long, so just expect short posts about where we are, not the usual novel 🙂

Vacation got off on the right foot with a little layover in San Francisco, where we met up with our friend Dani at an amazing little Italian restaurant called Laconda. Followed up by some Bi-Rite Ice Cream, it was a great start.

14-hour flight while 5.5 months pregnant went better than expected. We were in Business Class, which helped tremendously. I got extra pillows and the hostesses refilled my water all night long. Upon arrival in Taipei, hot showers and dumplings awaited us in the lounge. Now for a quick flight to Hong Kong, where we’ll meet up with friends who arrived yesterday: Lee, Drew, Amber, and Britt.

Looking forward to another Asia adventure! Beskin, we miss you!

…And We’re Back. A Final Bit of Culture Shock

It’s been about 10 months since Thailand, and I miss it every day.  As most things backed by the best of intentions go, our travel narrative came to an untied end.  We have dozens of stories left to share, but I think at this point you’ll have to buy one of us a beer to hear them.  A few of said remaining tales may require a Manhattan with a Fernet back at Patterson House and a non-disclosure agreement, but they need to be told.  Perhaps you’ll get an email, an rss update, or a facebook post if the Muse strikes us again…

I confess that I miss Thailand.  I’m glad to be home, and it’s wonderful to be a contributing member of society again. But I miss Thailand.

And I would have paid out a lot of money on the bet that I’d never…ever…say that in my life.  I left with the expectation of seeing, experiencing, leaving, and checking off that box on the travel to-do list.  Never thought Asia would be my thing.  But I would go back tomorrow.  I might even stay…

Bangkok is a vile, filthy city and I adore it.  I don’t understand why…I have panic attacks on domestic public transit that border on chronic agoraphobia.  Perhaps it’s the food.  Culture.  Acceptance.   The friends we made.  Who knows?!  But I want to do it all over again.   And again.  Then…more!

I miss the language barrier.  It reduces my temper and relaxes me.  Logically, if I cannot communicate my expectations to you clearly, how can I expect you to provide thoroughly?  If I order bourbon and it smells like rum, that’s ok…you tried!   But here, everyone speaks my language, and no one does what *&*^%^*! I want them to do!  It’s infuriating!  It’s mind-numbing!!!  It makes me appreciate the intricacies of communicating with people who do not understand me, but want nothing more than to ensure the most pleasing visit to their country.  That’s not a part of western culture, and it is notably absent to me at home.

I miss the food.  That should be obvious.  Sure, I can find excellent Thai at home.  But it isn’t IN Thailand.  At while at least we have a  reason to go back, I miss my spicy white pepper soup.  I crave chili crab.  I want more Leo!

I want to thank my traveling companions, Hunter and Kavitha Bradley.  I adore you both, and would not have made this adventure with anyone else.  Thank you for tolerating, accepting, indulging, and entertaining the respective parts of me.  Let’s do it again sometime.

I want to thank each of you who followed us on our journey.  We enjoyed sharing it with you, and I hope that it motivated you to go exploring.  Maybe Thailand isn’t your thing, and that’s ok.  But go have an adventure.  Discover someplace new.  Rediscover a place you already love.  Whether it’s the sights, the sounds, the saveur…focus on what you love in life and see what other countries offer you for it.  If that’s too far, find that small place of home that you’ve never truly experienced, and make it yours.  Then write a blog about it.  I promise I’ll read it.

With that, I’m retiring from www.3Bradleys.com.  I’m being replaced, you see…by an infinitely cuter and more marketable little girl arriving in March.  Congratulations to you, my friends!  I’m excited to follow the 3Bradleys on your adventure to China next week and your adventures in parenthood next year!

Until next time, friends: Sawadee Krap!

The Mighty Elephant

I think elephants are basically the coolest animals ever.  I mean, did you know that they have 100,000 muscles in their trunk alone?  That’s freakin’ sweet.

They eat 100 kilos and drink 150 kilos per day.  If you’ve never seen an elephant pee, it’s like the Niagra Falls on legs.  (Seriously, they don’t even bother to stop walking).  

Did you know that elephants gestate for 22 months?  I once told a pregnant friend this, and she did not appreciate it.  Are you comparing me to an elephant?

Of course, I learned most of these facts when I did a report on elephants in the 5th grade, but they were reiterated to me when we went to the Siam Safari Elephant camp in the Chalong highlands of Phuket. 

We went on a little 45 minute elephant trek, to some beautiful viewpoints of the island.  It was completey silent and peaceful, and we had developed a bit of a rhythm trekking along on our elephant, when the silence was broken by the shrill voice of Taylor Swift.  Where did that come from, you may ask?  Why, it was the ringtone of our mahout (elephant trainer).  Seriously, I never thought I’d see someone on a cell phone riding an elephant:

Mahout on cell phone

Now, I could tell you more about our elephant trek in Thailand, but I’m going to pull the “I’m a bit of an elephant trekking snob card” here and tell you a better story.  To be honest, elephant trekking in a bus seat on top of the elephant is just not that exciting to me after the types of experiences I’ve had in India before.  So my elephant trekking trump card: 

When I was 9 years old, I was awakened one morning by my grandmother, who dragged me half-asleep to the front door of the house.  I had barely opened my eyes to see an elephant standing within the gates of the compounds of our house before it sprayed me with a bucket of water and I was left there standing soaking wet.  I was then hoisted onto the elephant.  Bareback.  Those things are prickly, by the way.  And then I went on a casual stroll around the neighborhood.  No rugs, no ropes, no bus seat, no elephant trainer;  just me, the elephant, my soaking wet clothes and the peaceful morning. 
I have ridden many an elephant since that day, but no experience has matched that one yet.  But every time I ride an elephant, I still am reminded that they are the coolest animals ever.  They are one of the few things in this world that can still make me feel like a wonderous little girl, and I appreciate that. 

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