Dec 31 - New Years Eve
Tell us your travel plans
Chris from Australia who has been emailing us since October with On The Road Reports from Europe, is now an ITIS researcher - he volunteered silly boy and we unashamedly took advantage of him. He is currently in Singapore, recovering from Bali Belly - chronic stomach problems caused by a visit to McDonald's in Kuta - he swears that's where he contracted the bug. This rendered him incapable of sitting for any length of time at a computer terminal and as a consequence we received 3 On The Roads in one session from Singapore. On The Road - Kuta is now ready for your perusal, please check out Chris's impression of this tourism mecca - no doubt coloured by his tummy troubles.
Ivo (On The
Road - Thailand) is back in the Netherlands. A few days after
returning he wrote us begging us for a job in Thailand, or anywhere
else - a major dose of post travel blues. Unfortunately we were
unable to offer him anything, anyone know of any kind of work
paid or not (his words) in Thailand well, let us know and we'll
Taka will stay in Tokyo until the end of February then the
base will be re-located to Kyoto. In March he will fly to Taiwan,
Hong Kong and Bangkok to research for the 1999 update of South
East Asia he will meet up with Rares from Romania who we got
acquainted with via email and Taka met up and travelled with
in Romania during the Summer. Rares will be helping with the
Thai research. As yet no plans have been made for the 1999 research
for Central Europe. Speaking of which, unfortunately we STILL
haven't finished updating Summer 1998 for that region. Poland
is half finished, Slovakia and Czech are finished so hopefully
we will be updating the other half of Poland, Hungary and Romania
We have been published, well a Guidebook - Travel Journals European Cultural Guide, Central Europe including our modest contribution (20 pages), has. We will receive 20yen, about US 15cents for every book sold.
New Site Section - Travellers
So... this is all I have time for as we're frantically finishing off everything before we head off ....
Hope you had a great 98 and all the best for 99.
This is the first of what we hope will be a regular muttering,
ranting, raving. Basically, what we want to do is let you know
what ITIS Travelers is getting up to here at home in Tokyo and
on our travels. It will include a review of our activities, future
So here we go (this first muttering is long, promise to keep the following ones shorter, much, much shorter):
ITIS Travelers - What we did in 1998
This year we went on research trips to South East Asia
and Central Europe. Taka
went to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Burma & Thailand, Kyoko went to Vietnam, Andrea went to Laos, Cambodia
and Thailand. In Central Europe Taka
& Andrea went to Vienna & the Czech Republic,
Hungary then Andrea went
north to Slovakia and Poland whilst Taka
headed East to Romania and South down to Greece.
The South East Asian destinations have been updated, we are still
finishing off updating Central Europe, hopefully it will all
be on before Christmas (We are trying).
Highlights of our trips - the good the bad and the downright ugly.
Andrea: The good: so many. It was my first visit to Laos and Cambodia and, like everyone who goes there, I fell in love with these countries and people. Superlatives don't do them justice so I won't try. Wonderful, magical places, the friendliest people, I'll stop there. I got to sample for the first time one of those insect on a stick delicacies - the young women I was sitting with on the truck between Pakxe and Don Khone were so keen for me to try that I couldn't decline. Actually, it was quite delicious - it tasted like gourmet pate, at least the insects insides did, can't say I enjoyed the crunchy outer body parts much though - photo coming soon.
In Central Europe it was the first time that we visited friends
who we've made through ITIS Travelers - Csaba, Mali, Szuszi,
Tomas & Dani in Budapest. I also met up with Szarbolcs -
a guy I met on the overnight train from KL to Penang in Malaysia
Last year. He was so shocked when I phoned. He took a few days
off from work and he and Taka drove around Hungary together researching
(still in the process of being updated). Taka found out a lot
about Hungarian history from Szarbolcs. Came in useful as we've
been writing a section of an (upmarket) Japanese travel guide
to Central Europe - more about that below, maybe.
The bad: Not everything went as smoothly as one could hope, but sometimes (only when you get to look back on it not when it's actually happening) those turn out to be highlights too. I've described one of those experiences below.
This is an email I sent to Taka from Chiang Mai, Thailand
- the morning after a bus trip from hell, attempted during Phi
Mai -Thai New Year
I got to Phitsanalouk which was packed
with Thais wanting to do
Why did this experience turn out to be a highlight - for the usual reason in this kind of situation, the helpfullness and friendliness of the locals - the vomiting boy, me and his mum, became best of friends for the duration of the journey, a bonding experience.
The downright Ugly: Both Taka and I were almost victims of train robbers - Taka on an overnight train between Praha and Breclev-Bratislava, me on a Praha-Warsaw overnight train. Fortunately neither of us lost anything as we awoke and surprised the thieves who fled, we were very lucky Taka even acquired a souvenir - a watch of f one of the thieves. That was the worst experience on this trip.
I'm almost afraid to ask but I will - WHAT IS YOUR JOURNEY FROM HELL?
ITIS Travelers members:
Currently Chris from Australia is travelling in Europe sending emails on the way - check out his On The Road Reports. He's contemplating heading off to South East Asia, the weather in Central Europe may decide it for him - he saw snow at the German/Czech border.
from Japan got a little off his original route, not sure where
he is at the moment but hope he'll be in touch soon, we're beginning
to worry about him.
Sudo sent us an update from his summer trip to Laos - in the
SE Asia network section,
he is heading to Cambodia for New Year, we're looking forward
to hearing about that trip.
ITIS Travelers Finances
We also received a research commission from a Corporate Client.
An upmarket travel guide asked us to write a small section of
it's shortly to be published guide to Central Europe (in Japanese).
We're quite excited because this work was PAID, the first money
ITIS Travelers has seen since it started, well if you discount
the 5 pounds we got from TNT magazine for a travellers tip that
is. Not that we intend to be a commercial site but we need some
money to keep it ticking over. Taka is going to start seriously
looking for sponsorship from tomorrow (he's been saying that
for about 3 months). Anyone has any ideas about how we can finance
ITIS Travelers, other than from our rapidly emptying pockets,
tell us now.
ITIS Travelers activities - the future
We are looking to do:
Future travel/research. Unfortunately we haven't been unable
to update Indonesia this year so we are making that a priority
for next year. Certainly, we will be researching in South East
Asia early next year and Central Europe in the Summer in order
to keep IT IS Travelers information the most up-to-date information
on the web.
If you would like to get more involved well, here are a few ideas...
Happy Travels - send us a postcard/email we LOVE to hear from you -
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