Thursday, April 07, 2005

I would ask myself what o’clock it could be; I could hear the whistling of trains, which, now nearer and now farther off, punctuating the distance like the note of a bird in a forest, shewed me in perspective the deserted countryside through which a traveller would be hurrying towards the nearest station: the path that he followed being fixed for ever in his memory by the general excitement due to being in a strange place, to doing unusual things, to the last words of conversation, to farewells exchanged beneath an unfamiliar lamp which echoed still in his ears amid the silence of the night; and to the delightful prospect of being once again at home... Marcel Proust, Swann's Way.

That's right, I'm back... Three hundred and fifty five days after leaving London on a jet plane, I walked into my parents' offices unannounced to be met with blank, then confused, then tearful regards as their brains registered the thin, tanned curly head in front of them. SURPRISESES!!! They make coming home even more exhilarating than Proust's description.

It's been an amazing year that I would highly recommend to anybody with an ounce of curiosity and even a smidgin of adventure to their name. Everybody asks which country was best, and I'd have to say that the way I saw New Zealand made it stand out from the rest. However, I will never forget the energy of the Thais, the serenity of the Lao, the character of the Vietnamese, the mental strength of the Cambodians, the smiles of the Malaysians and Indonesians, the diversity of the people of Singapore, the lunacy of the Australians, candidness of the Kiwis, and the hospitality of the people of India.

Get out there, have a look... Mark

PS: My new email address is mvmysurnameNOSPAM@gmail.com (remove NOSPAM and follow the other instructions)

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