I'm currently surrounded by kids (including a baby who definitely is not a fan of flying) at 32,000 feet somewhere above east Africa. The destination: Nairobi, Kenya, where I will start Part Two of my around-the-world marathon adventure. It has been a long haul from Beijing-- I left around 2am and have been flying for sixteen hours at this point. But enough about that. The last few days have been full of some incredible - and amazingly challenging - adventures:
My last post left off at Cambodia and the ruins of Angkor Wat. Cambodia taught me many things, the first of which is to not underestimate monsoons. After trying to catch a break from a sudden storm in a thickly-wooded forest, Brett and I emerged soaking wet - as did our phones and passports - and were forced to bike back to our hostel in a downpour. Oops. Lesson learned. However, exploring the temples for two days with some new friends we met on the flight was an awe-inspiring experience that left me with goosebumps more than once.
After exploring the ancient temples in Cambodia, We were excited to top off our introduction to Asia with some time in Beijing, China. Unfortunately, China was not quite as excited to see us. After being deported from Shanghai due to a flight and visa mix-up (okay, deported is a strong word...let's say 'politely but forcefully asked to leave the country'), we got a two-hour taste of Hong Kong (I'll be back!) and then took a direct flight to Beijing. The excitement continued as we were rerouted due to weather and arrived in Beijing just in time to miss the operating hours of most public transportation.
Once we were finally able to make it into the city proper, Beijing grew on me. Sure, it wasn't the most friendly city, and many people saw us as dollar signs instead of friendly tourists. However, we also met some great people (one who even bought us tickets for the subway) and experienced the heart of China and its deep history. Hiking the Great Wall is something I will remember for a long time; its grandeur and sheer massiveness were amazingly powerful.
And that pretty much brings things up to speed. The last day has been difficult, with losing my travel buddy and adjusting to traveling alone during some long flights. On the bright side, I am healthy and have a couple days to rest and rejuvenate in Nairobi. The next two weeks hold a lot of firsts for me: a safari in Masai Mara (Kenya), climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, and running the Mt. Kilimanjaro marathon. God-willing, I will see the wildebeest migration, summit Mt. Kili without too much altitude sickness, and complete a marathon just two days after descent from Africa's highest peak. I hope to send out another update from Tanzania just before beginning the climb. Until then, take care!