Final, final thoughts (until next time…)

Sadly, PigFish version 1 has drawn to a close.  That is right, we said version 1.  You know what that means?  It means that someday there will be a PigFish version 2.  That is right, when we retire for good, we plan to hit the road again.  So, we will leave this blog up so it is ready and waiting when we retire.  And, we will likely post every now and then when we take a vacation so our friends and family can see some of our photos.

For the foreseeable future, we leave you with these random thoughts.

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  • There is nothing quite like a J&J Q-tip.  Generic cotton swabs just aren’t the same.  You can bet on PigFish version 2 we will have a large supply of Q-tips in our bags!
  • I made it through the entire year without ever using a squat toilet.  Success!
  • When in doubt, Robert gets to test the bathroom at bars and restaurants.  If he says it is disgusting, you can guarantee I will be holding it awhile longer.
  • Speaking of bathrooms, we learned far too much about each other’s bathroom habits this year.  We never want to live in a one bathroom apartment…

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  • You know that horrible song “Africa” by Toto?  We are pretty sure we heard it played in every single country we visited.  Except, oddly enough, South Africa.  People outside the U.S. must love that song.  We don’t get it…
  • There is no better drink than the ginger ale in Sri Lanka.  It was heavenly.  Not too sweet with plenty of ginger flavor.  I will crave that ginger ale for the rest of my life.

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  • Why is it that when traditional clothes are worn, it is always by women?  We rarely saw men in archaic outfits….
  • Cell phones are destroying the world.  We saw far too many cell phone zombies stumbling around with their eyes glued to their phones and not paying any attention to the wonderful things happening right in front of them.
  • The income disparity in the world is heartbreaking.
  • Please, please, please, where ever you travel, learn a few phrases in the local language. We lost count of the number of times people were thrilled that we tried to speak their language.

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  • The mullet hair cut is strong in Central America….
  • We were shocked at how many different types of rice exist around the world and how different they taste.  If we ever buy Uncle Ben’s (or, even worse, Rice-A-Roni) again, just shoot us.
  • Jimmy Buffet is ruining the world.  If we never hear another Jimmy Buffet song, it will be too soon.

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  • Nearly every foreign air line we flew is more comfortable than the U.S. airlines.  And cheaper.  And luggage arrives faster.  And they serve meals for free in coach.  What gives with that?
  • The dumbest thing we saw this year was some stupid business school students from Philly throwing gang signs in the slums of Bogota.  Seriously?  In what world is that a good idea?

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  • Query whether police having machine guns is a good or a bad thing….We never saw them use the machine guns, but can you even imagine if the U.S. cops carried around machine guns?
  • The U.S. does one thing better than anywhere else we visited:  Sunday brunch.  Boy, did we miss Sunday brunch this year.  That said, the eggs outside the U.S. are far better than any egg we have ever had in the U.S.

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  • All hotels should come equipped with empty mini fridges.  They make all the difference in the world, especially in hot climates.
  • There is nothing quite as funny looking as a pelican fishing.
  • We will never understand why people feed pigeons.  Or why squares full of pigeons are a tourist attraction.  Filthy disgusting creatures.

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  • I need to learn to like beer.  Not only is it the cheapest alcohol around, it is even cheaper than soda in some countries.  And, not liking beer means I didn’t get to partake in bia hoi (fresh beer) in Vietnam or street beers in Colombia.  Robert partook plenty for the two of us…
  • We want to know how come in the U.S. everyone says “gin and tonic” but pretty much everywhere else it is “gin tonic”?
  • Our palates really changed this year.  We consumed far less sugar than we would have in the U.S.  In fact, we even find Jif peanut butter too sweet now.

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  • Interestingly, although we traveled to places with very diverse religions, the only people who ever inquired about our religious beliefs (or lack thereof) were Christians.  And the only people who proselytized were Christians.  And the only people who made us feel uncomfortable were Christians.
  • Selfie sticks are evil.

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  • We saw far more sunsets than sunrises this year.  And we liked it.
  • In nearly every country we visited, it was a constant battle to have a sufficient supply of small bills.  You can’t believe the number of countries where most stores and restaurants can’t break a bill that is the equivalent of $20 or so.
  • One of the things we missed while traveling was building standards.  Who knew how important building standards could be.  For example, who would think places would be built where the steps were not all the same height/width?

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  • We want to live somewhere where flip-flops are the only shoes we need.  Or better yet, we don’t need shoes.
  • We really don’t like most people.  Thankfully, we like each other …
  • The fact that so many people can’t afford to travel in their own country is shameful.

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  • Turns out we like B&B’s.  Who knew?
  • It turns out that, in most parts of the world, the free breakfast included with your hotel is actually a pretty good perk.  We had some great breakfasts and, in many cases, they carried us right through to dinner.
  • I’m amazed at the different ways I had to ask for water.  In some countries, they only understand “sparkling water.”  In others, “soda” works.  In others, you have to ask for “club soda” because that is what is says on the bottle.  And, in still others, you have to ask for “water with gas.”

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  • In all of our travels, we only spotted one famous person.  That was Rick Steves.  In Cardiff.
  • The worst American travelers have to be Texans.  Sorry about the stereotype but, seriously, we so did not enjoy sitting in Scotland listening to people bitch about how Obama clearly wasn’t born in the U.S.

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  • We really shouldn’t have spent so much time in the UK and South Africa.  Not only were those among the most expensive places we went, but they are also the only places we gained weight.
  • Seeing American brands in regular grocery stores all over the world is really disheartening.
  • We really want to know who buys all the hammocks that are for sale.
  • We also really want to know who gives money to the people that paint themselves and stand on street corners.

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  • We should have learned Spanish before we got to Central America.  Robert picked it up quickly, but it really was necessary.
  • Oddly, it bothered me when the red string bracelet I received from the Buddhist nun in Cambodia finally fell off.
  • The thing people from outside the U.S. seem to have the biggest problem understanding is the American health care system.  And the appeal of Donald Trump.  Nobody understands the appeal of Donald Trump….

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  • Oddly, it is always the children of ex pats that are the biggest brats anywhere we go.  And not just American ex pats.
  • Four Non Blonds must be reeling in a ton of royalties.  We heard their music everywhere.
  • I so should have packed the bikini that I took out of my bag at the last possible minute to save space.  If the obese, elderly Russian ladies can wear one, so can I…I did manage to pick up a bikini on one of our flights through Chicago and I actually wore it and, to the best of my knowledge, nobody who saw me got sick.
  • We really miss Asian peanuts.  We don’t know why they taste so different, but Asian peanuts are one of the best things we have ever eaten.

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  • Central America was not nearly as cheap as we expected.
  • American banks really need to improve their game.  One bank thought every airport ATM withdrawal was fraudulent even though we had notified them in advance of our travel plans.  I’m sorry, if you know we are landing in London on X date and you see we make a withdrawal at the airport on X date, why on earth would you assume that was fraudulent????  And, another bank refused to take travel notices for about half the countries we visited because of the high rate of fraud in those countries.  I’m sorry, but wouldn’t you rather know we are in that country and that the charges might be legit???

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  • I’m pretty sure we saw The Simpsons on tv in every single country except Myanmar.  Generally in English, but in Central and South America it was in Spanish.
  • We really wish tipping culture was consistent throughout the world.  (Note:  And not like it is in the U.S., where tipping is an extreme sport).  We spent far too much time researching the tipping protocol in the various countries we visited.  And, yet, we never felt like we entirely understood who and how much to tip.
  • This was the absolute best year of our lives.  We simply couldn’t have asked for a better year.  If anyone has any doubts about whether PigFish was the right decision for us, we will leave you with the before (fat, pasty, stressed out) and after (tan, happy, 30 pounds lighter) pictures.
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One Response to Final, final thoughts (until next time…)

  1. Deanna says:

    Those before and after photos. Wow.

    Like

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