Friday, January 29, 2010
We were excited to return home to see our family and friends, but also to retrieve our crate deliveries! Before setting off for 4-months there were some items we were hoping to find in Asia, such as a new set of dishes, some clothes and cultural items. We mailed boxes home from Tokyo and Osaka, Japan; Bangkok, Thailand; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Singapore, as well as shipping two crates home from Vietnam - one from Hoi An and one from Saigon. We may have missed Christmas with our families, but it was like Christmas morning coming home to 5 boxes, a pile of mail and 2 crates! In the end it was relatively easy and cost-effective to freight ship. With the average 3 month wait for ship containers to reach Long Beach, California then placed on rail and moved up to the Port of Portland, it was a well worth the effort. We couldn't imagine carrying ceramic dishes in our backpacks for 3 months! Ouch! The crate from Saigon was the first to arrive.Our Saigon crate contained our Vespa, 4 hammocks and several boxes of miscellanous stuff. Due to WTO (World Trade Organization) we were taxed $9, and mainly for the Vespa! The second crate from Hoi An had no duty taxes at all! The second crate arrived approximately 10 days after the first and was packaged completely different from the Vespa crate. 2x2s were basically nailed together around insulated boxes to create one package. Ingenious actually. Crammed inside the 2x2 wood pieces we could see 5 boxes.We were completely surprised by the thorough, well wrapped and sometimes expertly arranged items in the boxes. After realizing we paid maybe $20 for "shipping and handling" and basically dropped items to be shipped off daily to the shop owner in Hoi An without a care as to what condition they would be returned to us in 3 months was pretty amazing.It took us a few hours to take out and unwrap everything. And not one item showed up damaged, again amazing.And we have been enjoying meals on our new dishes ever since.Now maybe you're wondering what we've been doing since we returned and where Buddha Bellies is at. Well Buddha Bellies is still in the works, but we did come home to a major recession, bank and credit crisis. As the USA and the rest of the world is "recovering" that's what we're doing also. This trip has completely opened our eyes to the possibilities of what great food we could do and feel our original ideas to be too safe and not as bold as we think they should be. So in the meantime we're pushing ourselves to create something that will knock your socks off and have you begging for more, much like SE Asia did for us. For now here's some answers about how we're dealing with our homecoming. 1. What was the first thing you did when you got home? Anne: Stripped the bed, washed the sheets and remade the bed Mike: Sat down with a mix of exhaustion and inspiration and said "Damn, did we just do all that? 2.What was the first meal you ate? Anne: 5Q Salad and a C-Note Beer at 5th Quadrant Pub Mike: Large salad with beets and blue cheese and a pint of C-Note Imperial IPA 3. What was the first meal you cooked? Anne: Oh goodness, I have no idea! I wish I could remember. 4. Most difficult thing to adjust to upon return? Anne: The weather! It's so cold here! Mike: Not being in Asia! Everything is just so exciting over there...even walking around the block in the morning just to get bottled water 5. What did you miss the most about home? Anne: Our couch and not having to pay for water! Mike: My kitchen 6. What did you not miss at all? Anne: Cold rain! Mike: My job 7. Anything you do differently now verses before the trip? Anne: Don't complain about having to wear socks or run errands on my bike. Mike: I constantly find myself comparing everyday methods in Asia to how we do things here in the US and overall, things are done more efficiently in Asia. 8. What would you have done differently now that you're back? Anne: Would have saved more money and traveled longer! Mike: Shopped more in Tokyo! 9. What were you most looking forward to returning to? Anne: Sitting on the couch and having a Christopher's Gourmet Grill burger. Mike: Retrieving my imported '69 Vespa from the dock and getting it legalized. 10. Any observations you make now with a well-traveled eye? Anne: How stylish Portlanders are! Mike: I realize how blessed I am with all my friends and family still in good health and how fortunate I am to have had the opportunities I've had in life. Bonus Question: What do you miss doing the most from your trip? Anne: Listening to tropical rain storms - WARM RAIN! And listening to gamelan music while getting ready to go out for the day. Mike: Waking up everday not knowing what adventures will arise.