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Nepal (a sneak preview)

The Khalerias are back in Bangkok, and finally out of the internet-black-hole more commonly known as Laos.  Thanks for sticking with me.

More posts on our 3 week trek through the Himalayas coming soon… here’s a peek:

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Many, many more pictures and a few more posts coming before the new year. The Khalerias are spending a few days relaxing in Bangkok with a friend we met in Albania, before heading to Indonesia on Christmas day to meet up with The Parsonian.

Slackin on the job

I was going to start this post with:

‘Oh my gosh the internet is so slow in Laos that I havent been able to get a blog post up’

But really, I wouldnt have anything ready to post even if the internet moved faster than a snails pace here… as Im still working on editing all the Himalayan photos.

So here are the latest Khaleria happenings:

We’ve crossed the border from Thailand into Laos, and spent the last two days taking a slow boat down the Mekong River to a city called Luang Prabang. So far I love Laos: relaxed, friendly people, incredibly cheap food, and the beautiful Mekong are more my style than the big(ish) cities of northern Thailand.

About a week ago I was hit by a scooter in the town of Chang Rai, Thailand. I was crossing the street, and he came out of nowhere! Considering the situation, I came out relatively unscathed. Just some bumps/bruises and a busted leg have left me walking with a limp – but luckily Im not in a hurry to get anywhere 🙂

The Khalerias just bought tickets to Indonesia to spend the holiday season! We’ll be meeting friends in Bali throughout the month of January, and can’t wait to spend New Years (again!) with the good Dr. Grazier.

I pinky swear to get pics loaded up here in the next couple days. Until then, hope everyone is enjoying the hoildays!

(Happy happy birthday to all my early December babies and congrats to all the newly engaged couples! All the awesome events surrounding the holiday season makes me miss being stateside… cant wait to celebrate when we get back!)

At over 12 million people, Istanbul is not only the largest city in Turkey, but the 5th largest city in the world. The Khalerias got their fair share of exploring the sights – the city is an international hub; we ended up there three times over two months – and spent the equivalent of almost two weeks soaking up the morning call to prayer, friendly Turks, and tasty kebaps.

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Night skyline over the Galata Bridge

Two of the most famous mosques in the world tower over the old part of town, and their respective calls to prayer can be heard throughout the city.

IMG_2300 The Blue MosqueIMG_2304The Hagia Sofia

Street food is abound all over the city, and doner kebaps are readily available on every corner for about 2USD. Its easy to spend the day getting lost on the streets and eating your way through town.

IMG_0119Sweet Corn

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Fresh fish sandwiches and fruit smoothies

IMG_2269The infamous doner kebap, before and afterIMG_0168

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IMG_2342 Fishermen fish over the bridge, and then sell the fish to the restaurants below.IMG_2349 Afternoon entertainment

More to come on the worlds largest market, the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul…

Thats a wrap!

While I’ve been enjoying the sun and sipping on banana smoothies the last few days… Senor Khaleria has been hard at work – on the set of The Scorpion King 3! Say hello to your newest Royal Guard:

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Ryan was recruited to be an extra from the guest house we are staying at in Ayutthaya, Thailand. Besides a pretty good time, the pay here for an extra is enough to last us a few days, and a few extra beers! The movie is scheduled for release some time in the summer of 2011.

If Ryan’s career takes off from here (which I’m pretty sure it will… check out that royal guard stance), autographs go exclusively to The Khalerias readers.

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Being blessed (?) by a monk on set.

 

*Much to my dismay, The Scorpion King 3 is not starring The Rock. Lame.

Cappadocia, Turkey

Cappadocia is a region in central Turkey that draws millions of tourists each year because of its crazy geology and interesting culture. Riding the bus into town was one of the strangest experiences – something akin to exiting the 5 freeway to get a coke, and finding you landed on the moon instead.

IMG_1289 Overlooking the city of Urgup

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DSC03953 The infamous fairy chimneys (which im pretty sure are only famous because of what they resemble from a distance…)

The region is surrounded by volcanoes, resulting in soft volcanic rock formations of minarets and spires all over the city. The residents of Cappadocia carve their homes, businesses, and churches out of/into the tuft, making a landscape best described as other-worldly. You can imagine our resident geologists delight at all the rock-talk…

IMG_1302 The Flinstone residence

The picture below was at a monastery, which still had some amazing paintings murals inside – and some really, really old graffiti:

DSC03912 IMG_1328 Kids were even punks back then…

Besides just taking in the general scenery, most people come to town to take hot air balloon rides over the valley. They were a little too pricy for The Khalerias budget (starting at 150USD), but it was pretty amazing to wake up for sunrise and see hundreds of balloons over the city.

DSC03875 Sunrise from our hostel

DSC03995 Sunset over Love Valley

Next up: Turkey’s capital, Istanbul! Then The Khalerias are going to fast-forward to our trek in Nepal…

Garra Rufa

The Garra Rufa (doctor fish) is a species of fish that has historically been used for the treatment of psoriasis; ie the eating of dead skin off a human patient.

In Thailand,  it is popular for streetside massage parlors to set up tanks of these tiny fish to give tourists ‘pedicures’. Last night, the Khalerias, along with our friend Chris, checked out a spa for a fish treatment.

Click the link  here to see us being eaten alive by the garra.

Verdict: I hated it. Gross. Disgusting. Ew.

(Thanks to Chris for letting me link to his website for pictures. Im currently having technical difficulties with my photos, but will be back up and running in a day or two…)

Thai Time

(India vs. Pakistan, round two)

I was officially denied my Indian Visa this morning… which puts to end The Khalerias week long ordeal with the Indian Embassy. Straight from the embassy, we headed to an internet cafe, and started researching where to head from here. About an hour later we booked a flight to Bangkok for tomorrow afternoon.

I’m really upset/sad/frustrated with the whole Visa situation – but on the bright side, I’ll be having Pad Thai for dinner tomorrow night. I know many of you have been to Southeast Asia before, so please send us any recommendations! Neither of us were planning on heading there until 2011, so we’re going in blind.

One giant thank you for all the messages and words of encouragement I’ve gotten over the past few days. The ordeal has really shed light on how lucky we are to be Americans – almost everyone else in the world has to deal with ethnic-based discriminations trying to travel anywhere abroad. Like I told a good friend Zoey this morning – we’ve got it easy, so I quit my whining right now!

And one more special thank you to The Khalerias travel companion for the past two months – we are really going to miss you Parsons! Please stay tuned on The Parsonians Blog to follow ATP’s travels through India (and the Camel Fair in Pushkar)… sadly without us.

Talk to you all from Thailand tomorrow night!

(And, I promise, more blog posts coming soon – including pictures from our Himalayan trek)