A Brief Intermission (Guest Post)

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Belmont, California, United States
Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Anyone who followed this blog, even if intermittently, will be familiar with Ramesh, our most vocal and enthusiastic cheerleader right from the start of this trip. We always looked forward to his insightful and funny comments to our posts, so much so that sometimes when we were lagging behind on the entries, we would motivate ourselves to catch up so we would not lose our committed readers. So when he requested that he be allowed a guest post at the end of the trip, it was an offer we could not refuse. So here it is...

“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page”, said Saint Augustine some 2000 years ago. If that is so, then the 175 odd posts in this blog is proof that M&V have literally and figuratively traversed the world. And thanks to their “book” so have we, dear readers. How privileged are we that we have journeyed the world without leaving our armchair, or should I say, our computer chair.
There have been many before them who have gone around the world. And doubtless, many after them who will. But what is very special is that while they saw the world, they wrote such a lovely blog in their inimitable style. Full of great pictures and evocative prose, that sometimes bordered on sheer poetry,they brought the world to us. And for that we owe them a debt of gratitude.
For, consider what it takes to do this. They travelled rough – not in the lap of luxury. They walked and walked even with V running a constant battle with his shoes. They hitch hiked on bone rattling rides.They lugged their backpacks on their backs (where else !). At the end of a long and tiring day, often in lodgings merely spartan, in places where the internet is still a novelty, the temptation to hit the sack must have been immense. But they didn’t. They gamely kept updating this blog. Not just updating, but waxing lyrical. Just so that, we readers – you and me – could savour their wanderings. That is such anoble thing to do.
And what of their journeys ? When they started on 4th of June last year, Romney had still not won his primaries. Pope Benedict was still firmly in Holy See. Sarkozy had just lost the Elysses. Could anybody point to Cyprus on the map ? And nobody knew if the Mayan “prophecy” was true or not and if the end of the world was imminent.
When they stood at the DMZ between the two Koreas and gazed at beyond the blue sheds, we could see North Korea with them. When they took the sleeper bus to Jian Shui, we couldn’t sleep too. When they became millionaires, paying a million kip in Laos, we cheered. Same Same, when they stood with a solemn face before Ho Chi Minh. How could we not take an intake of breath when they went down the road to Mandalay. And we did flinch when they were offered “the inner organs of beasts and fowls”.
Tell me truthfully, have any of you heard of Arslanbob before ? Would we have imagined ourselves in a yurt at Song Kul lake ? Would any of us have dared to attempt the Chernyaevka crossing ? And waaaaa – standing in Samarkand or Bukhara, and touching the ghosts of Genghiz and Timur …… For that, we could pardon them for propagating the image of Mithun Chakravarti ! And even forgive V for longingly missing Windows.
Then they crossed through the Caucasus , through Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and then into Turkey. Marco Polo himself would have dreamt of Constantinople – But no, our adventurous travelers criss crossed Turkey before approaching Europe. A gentle swipe at Europe before crossing the Mediterranean into Africa. Skirting the Sahara and going as far west and south as would be possible in an area full of conflicts. Enough time though to commiserate with them for not finding Rick’s in Casablanca. The big flight down towards the south of Africa, proving that the shortest way to go south is to go due north.
The Kalahari, the Zambezi, the Namib, and I could go on and on …. Finally savouring a bit of nostalgia in South Africa, before wending their way back home.
M&V are addicted travelers. This is just an intermission. They will take to the road again. And I hope, nay demand, that they keep this blog alive whenever they do that. For you see, we have got thoroughly spoilt savouring the world through their eyes. If they could make even a jaded traveler like me, sit up and start to dream again, then they have the power of magic in their hands .

I can say this with all conviction. For you see, for one day, just one day, on a wet and misty day in Seville, I was part of their Odyssey. And I partook of the magic.
As they go back home and open the doors of their house, I have no doubt they will have a swirl of emotion. Joy at having done what they had always wanted to do. Satisfaction at having done it so well. Nostalgia, perhaps, for the wide open spaces they had had for so many months. Relief, maybe, at not having to scrounge around for vegetarian food. Comfort, possibly, of a warm bed and the predictability of the daily routine. Trepidation, certainly, at having to go back to working for a living. Lightness, surely, for the backpack is off their backs. Even bliss, I dare say, for a toilet with a flush.

To that cauldron of emotions, shall I add pride and satisfaction, for, I raise a toast, along with all you readers,

To two wonderful people who bring adventure, joy and knowledge to us all.
And three cheers for M & V

Hip Hip Hooray
Hip Hip Hooray
Hip Hip Hooray


Thanks, Ramesh, for the thoughtful contribution. We are delighted with this post. Not just because we are glad that someone else put in the effort! Which, by the way, we are.


Many thanks to M&V for keeping us spellbound with stories experienced first-hand during their 10-month RTW trip. I had their blog pinned to the browser to catch up as soon as a new post comes online. Thought M&V will continue to Mexico from South Africa as V had mentioned earlier to his PSHS Group and was indeed looking forward to it! From TSB, on Apr 18, 2013 at 09:44AM
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