Thursday, January 1, 2009

Looking Back On 2008 And Another Eventful Year Of Waterfalling In 2008

We thought 2007 was a busy year of waterfalling, but then came 2008!

Indeed, after coming home on New Year's Eve hung over from our Patagonian Adventure, we had some down time before doing a pretty spontaneous Super Bowl Weekend trip to the Big Island of Hawaii. However, torrential rains on the Hilo side ruined the waterfalling plans and turned the trip into an expensive mistake.

Over a week later, we had a Valentine's Day and subsequent weekend visit to Julian, California. It was during this time that we saw San Diego county's most notable waterfalls Kitchen Creek Falls followed up by Cedar Creek Falls. Unfortunately, a romantic getaway turned into an unexpected adventure in the snow!

In early March, we sought redemption for our failed Big Island Super Bowl Weekend trip earlier and went for it again. This time, we were more successful though vog became more of a problem instead of the torrential rains on this trip.

Another few more weeks passed before we did a brief trip to Peru, where we saw the obligatory Machu Picchu as well as the prides of Northern Peru - Kuelap and Catarata Gocta! Although I didn't have fun enduring food poisoning and having my Canon EOS 20D die on me during the trip, experiencing this part of Andean South America was certainly worth the pain!

But the Peruvian trip was merely the precursor to big trip of the year - a two month journey to Australia and Africa! Indeed, the Australian portion of the trip focused on northern New South Wales and Queensland; the only main regions of the country we hadn't visited yet. It turned out to run pretty smoothly though our adventure to see Blencoe Falls (featured on Survivor II) resulted in some slight damage to the underside of the rental car. Plus, I learned that I can also get seasick snorkeling!

Then, we spent the next 6 weeks in Africa. Indeed, we saw Victoria Falls (both the Zambia and crisis-ridden Zimbabwe side), northern Zambia (including a safari vehicle breakdown), Tanzania, Uganda (enduring a malaria scare), Kenya (enduring another bout of food poisoning here), and Egypt (enduring a ripoff attempt before Julie would have none of it). This part alone could've constitute the trip of a lifetime, and indeed our visit here changed our perspective of the world - both in how the world works and in how thankful we should be for our parents as well as the life we live.

While still recovering from that epic African safari, we did a Labor Day weekend trip to Guyana. It was certainly a crazy trip since we probably spent more time in airports and on the plane combined than at Kaieteur Falls (the main reason for going there) and Orinduik Falls.

Then came Thanksgiving weekend where we went to St Lucia. Julie considers this place as a rival to Bora Bora in terms of natural beauty. I think the waterfalls on that island helped that perception!

Finally, we explored the bush in Thailand (though we certainly saw our share of beaches, temples and ruins, night markets, and local markets). Even though the country is in the midst of more political turmoil and a suffering economy, the trip wasn't cheap! Indeed, with all the fears of self-driving and the consequences of getting in an accident (even if it wasn't your fault), we did the guided private tour thing and the extra cost that goes with it as sort of an insurance policy on that trip. Plus, traveling during peak season didn't help our pockets either. It was our first trip together in Asia and perhaps a precursor for things to come on our upcoming (last hurrah) China and Japan trip!

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