Hello from sunny, warm and peaceful Venice, Florida,
Well here we are home some 30+ days sooner than expected and what we paid for. While we are extremely disappointed that we are not getting what we paid for, we are glad to be home. There is something to be said about sleeping in the same bed for more than one night, eating when you feel like it, riding when the mood strikes, wearing a clean T shirt on a daily basis without giving it the nose test and lining up for things when the mood strikes you and not when forced to do so in order to survive.
Our stay in Singapore was a great way to wind down the trip if winding down was in the cards. The evening of our arrival was to be TK&A's farewell dinner to those of us not willing to be held up for ransom. While the evening was a great one with the choir singing and the riders participating in a fashion show, including "The whole Monty", it was not the closure we had all envisioned. When we returned to our room we felt that we had been cheated out of a farewell dinner that would have been the mother of all farewell dinners, namely one that was held in Burbank, CA. December 31st. Tim showed up just before we wrapped up, while his significant other was nowhere to be seen (not that she was missed).
The following evening we celebrated Thanksgiving Dinner and a farewell dinner with 23 of the group who we had got to know during the past year's adventure. When some of them had suggested such a dinner a few weeks before, we contacted a friend in Singapore who if anyone could arrange she could and arrange she did. We arrived at Gloria and Gerry's house, all 23 of us to feast on a dinner from the gods: turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, beef, fish, vegetable lasagna, yams, corn on the cob, potatoes, vegetables, pumpkin pie, apple pie, ice cream, coffee and all drinks, we were convinced we had died and gone to heaven.
No dinner in Asia would be complete without karaoke and true to form Gerry Wee had the machine cranked up and we all had a great time making complete fools out of ourselves.
Regrettably all good things must come to an end and the tears were flowing and the embraces long as we said our farewells to some of those that we had become close to during the year. This was what we had envisioned for December 31st, but with a larger group. Our heartfelt thanks to Gerry and Gloria for providing the venue for us to have a great final evening together.
The next morning it was time to check out of the hotel and move to stay a couple of nights with Gerry and Gloria before heading out to the USA. The remainder the whole group were scheduled to leave on various days to points many and varied. Those continuing with TK&A were scheduled out on flights stretching over three days and on various carriers. We have received an e-mail from a rider who went to New Zealand on their own and it sounds like the fun continues, TK&A never bought outbound tickets from NZ to Hawaii and could not depart from Sydney, also Tim and Karen Ann (who by the way were supposed to be bankrupt) flew business class while the people paying to go on flew coach. This is no surprise since they are true to form doing what they and the staff have done all year.
After a pleasant stay in Singapore it was off for an early morning wakeup to catch an 8:30AM flight to Los Angeles via, Hong Kong and Taipei Taiwan. The flight was uneventful albeit long, long, long. Nothing like leaving Singapore at 8:30AM and arriving in Los Angeles some 3 hours later, before you think we flew Concorde it was really 17 hours flying, 4 hours layovers and one dateline thrown in to effect this miracle. If one wants to screw up ones body clock try one of these trans Pacific flights.
Our arrival in Tampa was a few days after arriving Los Angeles, as the price of the flights dictated we spend two nights in LA. We were met by our good friends from Fort Myers, Dennis and Lindsey. Arrival home was uneventful and it did feel great to turn the key in the door and to be officially home.
We would like to express our sincere and heartfelt thank you to all of you who have followed our yearlong adventure, without your support, prayers and best wishes we are not sure we would have endured. We would also like to say thank you for those of you who opened up your home to us and made us feel like family, you will perhaps never know how much we appreciated this opening of your home and hearts to us. We would like to thank those people we met around the world who regrettably do not have an e-mail let alone a mailing address to which we can send a note, these are those in small towns and large, wealthy countries as well as third world nations who greeted us and wished us well. While many could not speak a word of English except for "hello" we were able to communicate and connect. We would like to thank our family members who supported us even though they may have questioned our sanity; their love and support helped us through any a rough spot. Yes Mom we are really home!! We would also like to express our thanks to those on the trip who have become our friends, thanks for being sincere, thanks for excusing our differences and thank you for being there when needed.
The world is small, our differences while seemingly monumental are in fact minor, we want to be successful, be loved, be well fed, and have a loving family, enjoy good health and in general lead a comfortable life. We would all do well to travel more and be willing to lower our defenses and to approach others with an open mind a mind willing to accept differences for what they are simply difference, do not be judgmental. Mary and I feel we have grown through this experience and trust we have touched the lives of those we know and in some cases unknown.
Thank you for being part of this experience.
Dave & Mary
PS. Does anyone want to hire a couple of world travelers?