We got back to Chicago a few days ago, and within the first 48 hours, I thought I was going to have a heart attack. It’s like people knew to wait the whole month, and then hit me with loads of problems as soon as I got back. Yup, that’s great, thanks. It’s starting to sink in that we actually took 33 days and flew around the world, although some other bloggers did point out to me that if it was truly around the world, we would’ve hit every continent (we hit 4). To each their own I guess.

Each country and/or city we went to had it’s own charm, or showed it’s true colors to us and we grew a dislike towards it. For example, Tokyo, a place that neither of us ever thought we’d go, but loved, and will definitely go back. I miss the vending machines already. Convenient, price controlled, and always there when you need it. We miss the sushi, that was so fresh it was almost talking to you. The flying noodle soup, which I had about 6 times while in Japan, and could eat it everyday if I had to. The cleanliness of the city, the great public transportation, and the friendliness of the people all stick out in my memory. Japan was a great choice for a stop on our trip.

On the flip side, Cairo! Safe to say we will never venture back to Cairo again. I would love to see other parts of Egypt like Abu Simdel or Sharm El Sheikh down on the Red Sea, but you’d be hard pressed to get me to ever step foot in Cairo again. If it weren’t for the Pyramids and the fact that I ate pigeon for the first time, I don’t think we would’ve enjoyed our time in Egypt at all. Not every city is for every person, and Cairo was not for us. It’s definitely an acquired taste, and just a tad too bitter for us. We felt the same way about Beijing. I was kind of disappointed that the city was not great, and the fact the Olympics made it look like a great destination, made it that much harder to accept that we didn’t like Beijing. I’m glad we saw the Great Wall, it was incredible. I’m glad we saw Tianamen Square, the Forbidden City, Lama Temple, and the Temple of Heaven. But I won’t miss the beggars, the yelling, or the women pulling at you on the streets to feed their baby. I won’t miss the cab drivers who rip you off every chance they get, or the smog that clouds the city. We will miss the Peking Duck, the fruit on a stick, and our crazy tour guide who got us to Mutianyu in the half the time it should have.  I gave China a second chance, and it will be the last.

There are some cities that you build up so much in your mind that you are bound to be disappointed once you get there. For us, I think that city was Dubai. While it is the “Sim City” of the world, I’m now glad I didn’t take the job over there I was offered a few years back. There is no character to Dubai, and until all of the construction gets done, if it ever gets done, the city looks like an unfinished Lego project. Then again, Copenhagen was a city where I didn’t expect much and it was awesome. Right on the water, everyone outside, very walkable, clean and friendly people. Although the city is expensive, I could see myself spending a lot of time there.

We also were blown away by Vancouver, and could see us living there at some time in the future. It would be a great time to live there now, especially with the city gearing up for the 2010 Winter Olympics, so you never know. It feels just like a big American city, but it’s Canadian colors show all the time. From the currency to the accents, Canada is unique. I never thought that there would be a time where we would live in Canada, but Vancouver won us over.

I thought the blurry effect made it look cool

I thought the blurry effect made it look cool

We are looking forward to getting some of our pictures blown up and framed, and displaying our unique trinkets we bought on the trip to remind us of the travels we’ve done thus far. We have now been to 32 countries in about 4.5 years, and want to see much more. After a month or so, we just want to plan something else and go see something else. I promised Annemarie that we would make it to Sicily in the near future, so she can see her family roots, and enjoy some more time in the atmosphere which she loves. The food, the wine, and the people made us both love Italy, so going back will be great. I’m already looking at another trip, possibly in July, schedules permitting. Maybe a quick jaunt over to Iceland (they need all the tourism they can get right now) or trip down to South America to knock off a couple of countries. We also have a trip planned to South Africa next year, and hopefully have some time to see Zimbabwe, Botswana, and possibly Mauritius. I always wanted to see at least 100 countries before I slowed down, so I have to keep moving.

Month long trips can definitely knock out quite a few countries at a time, but how often we will be able to do that? Probably never again, but 4-5 day trips over to Europe, or down to Latin America are very possible, and I’m sure we’ll do our fair share if we can.

Out for now.

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