I LOVE TRAVELING !!!!!!

So I am back in the good ole USA and it feel really good to be back but I have to say that I could travel half the year no problem if I could figure out a way to afford it and still make money along the way.  Hmmm I am going to have to work that into my 2010 goals and plans. Well the trip was really really awesome.  We started on the 26th leaving for a whirl wind tour of Asia that started with a flight from Chicago to Newark and a direct flight to New Delhi.  Uh oh lots of big snow flakes and things were not looking great for smooth Chicago travel and my gut was right,  our flight to Newark was delayed like 3 hours and that pretty much screws us for our connection.  We started off our travels running for our connection and after almost dying from the bags and the run we got to the gate and watched our flight backing up.  Oh well next flight to Delhi was 24 hours later so looks like a day in NYC.   I decided we should make the best of it so I checked online for show tickets and we decided to see Phantom,  I have not seen since in like 15 years and they had some really good seats available.  We woke up Sunday morning and went took a car to the city and tried to grab lunch at Carnagie but the line was down the street and we ended up getting a pastrami across the street at Lindey's and it was not very good.  Saw Phantom and grabbed a slice of Ray's and headed back to Newark to catch our flight to Delhi. Flight to Delhi is 14 hours and I really don't think I could ever fly that in coach,  yes I am spoiled but screw coach for anything over 5 hours.   We landed in Delhi and my friend had a car waiting for us and we went straight to the ITC Maurya in Delhi,  I have stayed here many times and it is really really nice.  We had an early day planned for our 1st day in Delhi and we were picked up around 7am the following morning to go take the 4 hour drive to see the Taj Mahal.   On the way we stopped at a little rest area and stopped for a pee break and while inside we looked at some stuff and bought some water and pringles.    Guess who was at the counter in the middle of no where buying some stuff also?  Russell Brand from  Forgetting Sarah Marshall,  he was easy to recognize but we didn't know his name so Lindsay asked the girl he was with very "excuse me,  what is the guys name you are with"  she told us Russell and I asked him if we can get a quick picture since it was crazy to bump into him on the way to the Taj in the middle of nowhere,  he said no problem and when they came outside we took a quick picture and we got in the car and googled him and guess who the girl he was traveling with was?  Katy Perry and we had no idea.  Crazy crazy
What are the chances`

What are the chances

We continued on the road to the Taj and got there and took tons of pictures and walked around, the weather was perfect and we enjoyed our time there. After the Taj we went to a late lunch and back on the road to Delhi. We got back to Delhi and went to dinner with Nav for some really good Southern Indian and then back to the hotel. The next day we woke up and went with Navneet to Central Market to visit his other office and his brother and then walked around and I got to eat one of my favorite things in Delhi, street fried dough balls with some spicy green sauce. We ended our short trip that was shorter because of of our missed conncection in Delhi and heading to the airport to fly to Mumbai. We flew to Mumbai which is around 2 1/2 hours and is way warmer than Delhi in the winter and got there late afternoon and heading to the ITC Mumbai. I usually stay at the Taj hotel but thought after the bombing last year that I should pick another place this trip. We walked around the hotel for a few hours and then called it a night and hung at the hotel Irish pub and had some dinner.  The main reason to come to Mumbai was to visit my family I take care of and we planned on seeing them in the morning,  we woke up and worked out and had breakfast and took a taxi to Gate of India right by the Taj hotel to meet the girls.  It was great to see them and I was sad that two of the main ones were not able to be there due to a grandma being sick and they had to take a train like 2 days away.  We spent the day with Kanti and Sumeeta and the two youngest Rohni and Ashwani and Nisha's sister tagged along with her baby.  We had a nice day with them and went to beach and around the area and also took them to lunch and then we went shopping with the for a Sari for Lindsay and traditional Indian outfit for me.  We were going to get all dressed up for New Years Eve but we actually were sick from something we ate in Delhi and stayed in and pretty much did nothing . We spend a little more time in Mumbai and shopped and went around and then it was off to the airport to spend some time in Thailand. We decided to skip our 1st night in Bangkok to get ourselves to the beach and see Phuket and I am glad we did since I am not a huge fan of Bangkok.  We flew from Bangkok to Phuket which is a very short flight and we headed to Sheraton Grande Laguna.  The hotel was really nice and they have a pool the goes through the whole place and our room was on the 1st floor literally on the pool,  you could hop in the pool from our balcony.  The hotel was really nice and on the beach with lots of dining and lagoon access some other places near by.  We relaxed most of our 1st day at the hotel and picked up a car back at the airport, it was a little car and I had to  get used to driving on the wrong side of the car and road and shift gears with my other hand.  While in Thailand we had a great time heading to the main beach area called Patong and did lots of shopping and I actually got 4 suits custom made and 5 shirts.  We spent time at a quieter beach call Surin and also took a couple really fun island day trips.  We got to see of the most beautiful beaches in the world and some of the clearest prettiest water I have ever seen.  We went to the island from the movie the Beach and a bunch of cool islands like Coral Island and Phi Phil islands and a few others I don't remember.  The entire phuket trip was awesome and I ate so much Thai food and street food and soups and snacks,  it was a blast.  We had a small issue with the rental car when the clutch went out during a rain storm in the middle of nowhere but it all worked out after Avis sent a new car to swap out. After about 7 nights in Phuket we flew back to Bangkok to catch our flight to Vietnam and when we checked it the lady at the counter asked us where our Visa's were and I explained to her that Amex told me I didnt need a visa and they would issue upon arrival.  Well that was not the case and for the 1st time in all my travels I had bad Visa info and we had to run to the Vietnamese consulate to try to get one on the snap.  Well that did not work and after going around and getting some passport pics taken and filling out the form, we were told we would have to wait till Monday.  Very big pain in the ass but it could have all been worse.  We headed to small beach town about 2 1/2 hour from Bangkok called Hua Hin and found a really nice quiet hotel and stayed there for 3 nights.  We had a nice time and enjoyed more nice weather and good food and fun markets and shopping.  Monday we drove back to Bangkok and picked up our Visas and flew to ho chi man city in Vietnam. WOW is Vietnam crazy,  I think 8 or 9 million people live in Saigon and there are 4 million scooters and the roads are nuts.  They dont really have or follow street lights so crossing the streets is like a crazy game of human frogger.  We went to hotel and checked in and we spent 5 very cool days in Vietnam.  We did a tour of the Mekong Delta and also did the Cu Chi tunnels.  The Vietnam trip was very cool and enjoyed eating Pho and learning more about the war I had seen so much about in movies.  The city was really built up with lots of big building and lots of high end shopping between all the small shops.  We went to the Markets and shopped a bunch of times and had plenty of coffee.  Saigon is full of tons of nice Coffee shops and lots of ice cream shops.  We did a lot of walking and sight seeing and even took a couple hour tour that we were pushed around on Cyclo bikes with a guy peddling us around.   Very glad we got to spend time in Vietnam and I look forward to going back and seeing hanoi and Laos and Cambodia. Well since our whole trip got pushed back and extended 3 days,  we had changed our flight and instead of going back home through India,  we flew from Saigon through Tokyo and back to Chicago.  I was very excited since we got a 11 hour layover in Tokyo and I was going to make sure we made the most of it.   We landed at the Narita airport at 7:30am and rushed through customs and hopped on the train to Ginza,  Ginza is pretty much the Time Square of Tokyo.  We spent about 5 hours walking around and checking out Japan.  It was so clean and very cool,  we ate some of the best sushi of my life and walked around the fish market and I even got to play Pachinko which is something I always wanted to do.  I have always wanted to go visit Japan and this quick visit has me excited to come back in the warmer months and spend some time and travel around.    We raced back to the airport and caught our flight to Chicago. Not quite done yet since our direct flight to O'hare didn't make it all the way there and the nice pilots alerted us that the plane was having issues and we were landing in San Francisco in 90 minutes.  Hey guys thanks for freaking us out while flying over the ocean.  Well since I am writing this you can figure it out that we made it safe and the put us on a new plane and we continued our way to Chicago. WOW Wow Wow!!!!!   great trip and loved every second of it and the food all over was really amazing.  I turned 38 on the trip and had a great great time.  I will be posting some pics soon and trying to write more without so much time going by.

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