Happy Belated New Year!
And thus begins my year o' travel.
As my last post indicated, I needed a new camera and I needed one fast. For those wanting a quick update: I couldn't find the 700IS in stores anywhere in time, so I tried out the Canon 630. Fell in love with the 3inch display but really wanted to hold out for IS, so I returned that and borrowed my parents' Sony for my trip. As lovely as it was, it just reminded me how much I enjoy Canons. Now that I'm back in the States, I found a good deal on a the Canon 800IS and am eagerly awaiting its arrival to my apartment. :)
Which begs the question, where did I just return from and why did I need a camera so fast? Well, I've just returned from three weeks spent in Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia. Similar to my Argentina and Brazil trip from last year, I visited these countries with a trip from school, part vacation part education. The trip was fantastic, save for the painful leg injury I got on the 2nd day of the trip (Thailand gutter system - not the most sophisticated) (healing nicely now, thanks). Visiting the three countries at once was pretty eye opening, to see how different the three were in terms of technological advancements, cultures, and governments.
I've gotten a lot of questions about which was my favorite. It's a tough quesiton to answer, because each one stands out for a different reason:
Malaysia was probably the one I was least prepared for. This being my first time in an Islamic nation, I wasn't expecting the religion and culture to pervade the everyday life as much as it did. My American beliefs kept doing belly flops as I realized that the separation of church and state was not a popular concept here.
Singapore is an extremely westernized (everyone speaks perfect English), nearly utopian place. Utopian in every sense of the word. The streets are beautifully clean, every last detail is managed efficiently by technology, it seems an idyllic land. And then there's things like the fact that it's unlawful to sell or even chew gum. Yup.
Thailand was the country that I had the most fun in. I felt completely comfortable, and yet there were so many cultural aspects that reminded me that I was in a locale far far away from home.
I've come home with lots of good memories, photographs, trinkets, an unwanted tan, and hopefully no long term diseases. I'll be uploading some of my better non-people pictures on Flickr. The people shots will likely end up on Shutterfly, and the link to that will be posted on my Facebook profile. Email me if you don't do Facebook but still want to see pictures.
Meanwhile, I'll leave you with a picture I took out of the plane in mid-Dec on the way to San Francisco.
It's good to be back!