Welcome to Madness -=Round’aWorld 2017=- pt.1: Introduction

It is crazy to circumnavigate the world once. It is a different kind of crazy to think to oneself: “hey, maybe I should do it again, but in the other direction” just one year after the last time around the world. But hey, if I am gonna be clinically insane, I gotta be more insane than anyone else!

In this journal

I give a brief reason for my trip around the world in 2017;
I struggle to eat a carton of noodles;
I declare myself clinically insane.

Introduction

In June, 2017, I successfully graduated from university, finally becoming a real member of my Asian household. However, previous travels have completely destroyed my ability to live normally ever again, turning me into a nihilistic piece of garbage to society. I was lost, so I did the only thing I could: getting lost even more in this world.

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the routing

What is yet to come in this series…

This is similar to my Round’aWorld 2016, where it began as a few simple cheap tickets. AeroMexico had some extremely good tickets from Europe to South and Central America, so I grabbed one from Madrid to Ecuador’s capital Quito, returning to Amsterdam, then immediately head towards Managua, the biggest city of Nicaragua.

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Cotopaxi volcano, Ecuador

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looking into a crater, Nicaragua

However, I had to get from Shanghai to Madrid, so I figured I should try visiting Kazakhstan on my way there, as what normal people would do. I bought a ticket departing from Beijing, where it would be a simple flight from Dalian, where I had to attend a friend’s wedding.

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Hazrat Sultan Mosque, Astana

I luckily caught the last day of Expo Astana, and explored Almaty on the way. However, Air Astana only flies to Paris, so I used some of my miles earned in previous trips like Panambia and Qatari Hop to get me to Madrid. It gave me an opportunity to spend some quality time with my bestie Frenchie, Sophie, as well as a few days to explore Madrid, a city I had never been to before.

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Catedral de la Almudena, Madrid

I was supposed to fly back to Amsterdam after Managua, but an irresistible deal popped up with LATAM that goes from Mexico City to Easter Island in Business Class. I would have to transit through Mexico City anyway, so why not just hop off there? My dear friend Christine, who was a shipmate from my Antarctica adventures, joined me on this trip to the most remote place in the world.

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communicating with a Moai, Easter Island

After returning to Mexico from Easter Island, I had to get back to Asia, so I decided to hop on another deal from San Diego, California to Hong Kong, then to Hangzhou, where a simple train ride whisked me back to Shanghai. To connect the last missing piece of the puzzle, I booked a flight from Mexico City to Tijuana, and then walked across the border.

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Anthropology Museum, Mexico City

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USS Midway, San Diego

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Tim Ho Wen dim sum, Hong Kong

And here you have it, a journey that pieces together 4 deals that I can’t refuse, reuniting with 12 friends scattered across 4 continents, covering 10 countries and 70000km. You have ancient island cultures, erupting volcanoes, global expos, gothic churches, and an aircraft carrier, so I can’t really think of much else one might want to see in a travel journal. I don’t know how I planned this out, or why I decided to do it; the only thing I know is that I need to be institutionalized for this kind of madness.

If you want to see the full picture,  click here for my current travel map, shown below. You can find the explanation to the map here, along with a full list of every journey I have undertaken.

interactive travel map, for full screen click here

Directory

Part 1: Dalian & Introduction (this journal)

Part 2: Kazakhstan

Part 3: Paris & Madrid (I have already covered Paris multiple times, so this time I will not cover Paris in detail)

Part 4: Ecuador

Part 5: Nicaragua

Part 6: Easter Island

Part 7: Mexico City, San Diego & Hong Kong (I have covered Mexico City before, so this time I will not cover it in detail)

Are you ready to start this journey to madness with me? (warning: the effects may be irreversible.) If you are, let’s delve right in!

Here it begins: Dalian

I spent a few weeks preparing myself in Shanghai, then I flew to Dalian, a coastal city in northern China, right across from North Korea, to attend a wedding. Since I went for the cheapest option on Juneyao Airlines, (only $20 for a flight!) I knew what I was in for. However, to my surprise, they still served a snack box, a bottle of water, and, prepare yourself, a hot dish! Yes, a hot dish on a 20-dollar flight that includes a checked bag! In US, just the bottle of water would cost 5 dollars. BUT

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Juneyao’s meal service

But, the vermicelli is bad. Like, very bad. Like, my flirting skill that kind of bad. I choked on it multiple times, which made me think the airline was betting on one of us dying so they can get the insurance money. The few days in Dalian was mostly spent in hotels preparing for the wedding, and occasional outings to places like the ocean park for photo shoots.

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“grim horrifying price”

While I am no stranger to the hilarious translations in China, but I have to give this sign I saw in the ocean park a big props. Where do I even begin with the explanation? Okay, so the 20 Yuan item is supposed to be “groundbreaking sale for cold noodles” and for god knows how it is translated to “grim horrifying price”. (It does not even make sense if it is plugged into google translate. If you translate “groundbreaking” literally it turns into something else: “scary explosion”.) The “Iron fried rice” is supposed to be “fried rice on a steel pan”. The “oil spilt surface” is supposed to be a kind of noodle that is drenched in oil. China, everyone.

Beijing

I eventually boarded my red-eye to Beijing on China Eastern, and as almost all flights in China it was delayed for a good 2 hours. After a sleepless night sitting outside the security because it wouldn’t let me in, I was finally able to board my flight to Almaty. The 5 hours on the plane was very pleasant, since Air Astana provided a full meal and a few amenities.

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over Gobi desert

Here marks the end of the introduction, and the westbound trip around the globe is officially starting. First stop: Kazakhstan! I have always been fond of the steppes, as well as the incredible development the country has seen in recent years. Being the first time for me in Central Asia, I could barely contain the excitement and anticipation. As the slightly worn A320 approached the ancient city, I murmured to myself: “finally, show time.”

-=ForeverYoung|Round’aWorld 2017=-

—> continue to next part: Kazakhstan

If you are new here, please consider subscribing via email on the bar to the right, so whenever a new post is updated, you will be among the first to know! Meanwhile, maybe you can check out the last time I traveled around the world counter-clockwise, or went to Antarctica, or went to Haiti simply because I can. Oh wait, it is time for my medication!

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