circled the globe a little over twelve years ago as a college student, and now I am home after finishing a fantastic job in Asia. Traveling internationally for work, I have seen the world’s different cultures and various tourist destinations that people always seem to pass by. Having been to five continents, and having an interest in many different areas, I have seen many interesting things and experienced many different things. This will be my story, a personal account of my around the world trip.

Starting my trip with the May 2000 Asian games in Da Nang, Vietnam, my first eight days were spent mainly in Bangkok. The city is beautiful and even though there is overcrowding it is very family friendly and the new city infrastructure is constantly being improved. The temples, palaces, and houses in Bangkok are extremely old and in some cases thousands of feet old. They are breathtaking in appearance, architecturally designed, and they towering above the streets giving you the feeling that you are visiting the top of the land.

When I first arrived in Bangkok I was taken aback by the lack of porters and shoppers for the eight days that I was there. It was very strange to be in a place where almost everything is so normal. Walk down the street and you could be mistaken for a Mennonite. Everyone has a shop, everyone wants to buy a coconut (how does that become the national food?), and everyone has a place to sit around and watch the people go about their businesses. I have to give Bangtan city their due, they are exceptional people. congratulate yourselves on being such excellent human beings,gentle and warm.

All theallahas (American tourists) were being friendly, and the non-allahas were talking amongst one another and laughing at all theellowhats walking past them. I felt comfortable in this Crowd. After awhile one of the women I talked to, a good-looking British type woman, sat down on my own. After I had given her a wave goodbye, and she had gone inside her family, my own group stood together and chatted.

We arrived in Thailand late Friday evening, just before 6:00 PM. We had a brief meeting in the lobby of the hotel, then crowded into a small cab to go to the center of the city. About 20 minutes later we hopped off the taxi, and were taken straight to the museum. We stopped anytime we wanted to look at the artifacts that they had for sale. My wife, being the tourist that she was, wanted to look at all of them. So, we stopped at a few of the most interesting ones, like the Emerald Buddha that was featured in one of the adverts, and we found ourselves staring at a Buddha sitting on a lotus flower. My German friend wanted to have a look at the king and queen of Thailand, theurenQueen and her consort. Unfortunately, since he was not a Thai native speaker, he could get no confirmation that the Emerald Buddha was the same one that is featured in the adverts, and was therefore not able to make an educated guess.

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We had no expectations of finding a good museum in Bangkok, so we walked around a little and took a few of the recommendations from our guide. We found a little shop that sold maps, and a little temple, but nothing else that quite drew our interest.

We came back to the hotel early Saturday morning to go to the Gai Yang Bridge, the second pagoda that is located above the oldest and most famous Wat Phra Kaew. TheGai Yang Bridge is listed as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. According to the opening ceremony, the bridge was completed in 1782 and dedicated to the gracious breezes that blow across the river in Southeast Asia during the rainy season.

TheCardiff-by-the-Sea New Year’s Day 2006 took place on January 1. It was a gorgeous day and the weather was cooperative, providing a benign sail-like environment that included convenient humidity levels in the range of 70-80% and clear blue skies.

We strolled along the Cardiff along the waterfront of the New Year’s Day. What a bustling place! The fight was about a foot’s width over the river. People were milling up and down the lower level promenade vistas. We stopped for a drink at one of my favorite pubs:The Tannery. My friends and I were the only customers. One wall of the pub features a carving of Buddha. Upon entering the pub, the carefree atmosphere swiftly gives way to the knowledgeable and serious business of the staff and locals. A nice lady with a smile-to-see-that made us feel at home. After a good chat with her, we returned to our seats on the upper level facing the moat. We watch an informative video about the flood Plain underneath the bridge.