Half Way!

Time for a review!

Best food:
Wonton mee – the best ones I had were in Penang, Malaysia, and Saigon, Vietnam.  I didn’t see any wontons in China!
Pizza – pork meatball with a cheese sauce, at a place near the Forum, Rome
Burfi – a sweet made with condensed milk and pistachios in India
Borek – a cheese, meat and spinach pastry in Turkey – the best one I had was actually on a Turkish Airlines flight
Asian custard buns, in Malaysia, Thailand and China
Carrot cake in Hue, Vietnam
Quark- Germany
Bok chee – fried potatoes and fish in an omelette (potatoes are fried first then added to the egg)
Korean barbeque
Hazlenut flavoured milk – Germany
Cookies and cream frappe – Chatuchak market, Bangkok
Mongolian noodles – Beijing
Kirsch cheesecake – Munich, Germany
Offal soup – at 1am on the night train to Chiang Mai it was delicious
Souvlaki and doner kebap – Greece and Turkey – if the meat came from a proper wood-fired grill

Best toilet
Some random place in Seoul.  It was electronic.
FOUR ply toilet paper in Germany

Worst toilet
Near the bus station, Jinan.  No doors, no paper, squat toilets and some of them hadn’t been flushed.  And they charged for it!

Best country:
Close – Thailand was cheap, exotic and traveller-friendly
Turkey was cheap (for Europe), civilised, and had some good sites

But the winner is . . . Germany!  Maybe I’m biassed because I speak the lingo.
It’s cheaper than Italy and Greece, has some good historic sites, the people are nice, there aren’t any scams, the scenery is seriosly pretty, and the public transport is good.

Best indivdual site:
Delphi was extremely nice
The Giza pyramids are epic
Nuremburg’s Nazi remains are impressive
The Great Wall is worth a look
Chiang Mai was a nice place to hang out

Unexpectedly good finds:
Reunification Palace, Saigon – for the 60s architecture, perfectly preserved, including a War Room
The fitness park outside Country Club Castlefusano, Rome – it’s a free gym!
The DMZ tour, Seoul – see North Korea
Pergamum – a bit off the beaten track but definitely worth a visit for the Roman ruins
Military Museum, Beijing – worth queuing if you like anything military
Muay Thai lesson, Chiang Mai – 3 hours of proper instruction for $15
Agro Park, Langkawi, Malaysia – 2 hours of eating fruit!
The Imperial centre of Delhi
Alot of Thai cooking school, Chiang Mai

Most overrated things:
Everything in and around Cairo except the Giza pyramids
The Taj Mahal – everyone seemed to have a religious experience but I thought it was just ok.
The Forbidden City, Beijing – for how much it costs and how crowded it is
Vietnam battle sites –  There’s nothing to see except at the Vin Moc tunnels

Best Museum
DDR Museum, Berlin – you can touch everything!
Close runners up:
Singapore Museum – very modern set up that guides you through Singaporean history well
Military Museum, Beijing – GUNS.  LOTS of GUNS.
Deutsches Historiches Museen, Berlin – all-encompassing – a good mix of social, political, technological and cultural history
Baba Nyonya House, Malacca, Malaysia – mainly for the guide woman who was very entertaining
War Remnants Museum, Saigon – just for a different perspective

Best accommodation:
The Sen Hotel, Hue, Vietnam – a proper hotel room with air con, towels and satellite TV for $12/night twin share
Bibim House, Seoul – an amazingly hospitable owner who picks you up from the station and gives you lollies!
Close runners up: Athens House – but they shifted me out of my balcony room
Hababusch Hostel, Weimar – €10 a night isn’t bad!  If only it wasn’t so busy
Twin Peaks Hotel, Cameron Highlands – sleep in an attic!  But the walls are very thin

Worst accommodation:
The Inn Crowd, Singapore – Arctic air conditioning, dirty showers and bed bugs
Camping during Oktoberfest

Best shopping:
Orchard Road, Singapore
Monastiraki flea market, Athens
Chatuchak market, Bangkok – buy a map and allow a whole day
Shanghai, if you have a lot of money
For outdoors equipment – central Munich Globetrotters and Sports Scheck

Best night venue/drinks
Country Houses, Saigon – soft backgorund music so you can hear what people are saying, a drinks list 20 pages long with a whole page for milk drinks, and a nice garden setting

2 thoughts on “Half Way!

    • I come from NZ, so I’ve been to Te Papa a few times. I like that new 20th century exhibition but the interactives are all designed for children – they’re a bit more grown up in the DDR Museum. But what I liked more was actually being able to touch things, put on helmets, get in cars, etc. Surely they could put out an NZ-assembled BMC car or something?

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