Asia Cheap Travel, Screw the Research & Planning!

One of the biggest problems that I face when planning Asia cheap travel is trying to set the main things that I want to do and then to come up with a reasonable time frame and importantly for me a cheap travel budget that is realistic to the goals that I have identified. Research is the key to having a great vacation or an OK holiday, screw this part up and regret it you will. Time and money always being the major influences for me as a professional Cheap Charley, I want the best chance of having a great time so I work it hard before I go on the road.

I go to the travel blogs for my main research once I have an idea where I want to go to, one that I lean on is Travel Blog.org. The people that write on that particular blog have no financial reason to give you slued information and they tend to be more seasoned travelers than the great majority of new guys on Thorn Tree. I look to see what they did and see if it interests me, always keeping in mind that I do not want to follow exactly the hobbit trail, otherwise why bother, just read about it. Now it is safer to follow exactly what other people have done but the surprises that you encounter sometime good, sometimes bad are the stuff that stick in the old cranium.  

For instance the clock tower in Mandalay in Burma Myanmar, why bother unless you need to set the time on your watch, for me it was a waste of time, we did however have a great time at a restaurant that had duck and goose hanging in the window which was not a tourist place as it was not listed anywhere just down the street, just a regular local restaurant that we stumbled into just because the stomach said a stop was in order.  I did really dig sitting in the Savoy hotel having tea which is listed and the time in Bagon was priceless. I tell everyone that they need to make Bagon a priority if they are going to be in that part of the world. Had I did proper research, I would have know that the boat only runs on certain days between Mandalay and Bagon, Major Bummer! The boat was really cool looking when we checked it out on the dock after taking the boring flight because the planner in the research phase missed that one.

Time is always a nuisance, so I recommend that you plan so that there be flex days when you can get the cheap travel on demand, usually bus or train segments, and then if you find a place that really interest you, you can hang longer and really dig into a place. Quiananmen South of Tiananmensquare in Beijing was one of those places for me that created a dilemma as I had a really cheap flight to Bangkok on Air Asia out of Xiamen , which was a very cool place worthy of more time, but I was having such a great time in the Quiananmen Market section to the south of Tiananmen square that I wanted to stay in that area longer, which I did, and was rewarded late at night just before the cheap noodle place closed, to watch a local family restaurant dynamics at the end of the day. The bus boy dishwasher was worked about something and he was letting everyone know in a voice that would not be out of place between me and my precious pussy cat “Mangler”  when I am standing on her tail as she is shredding my leg with her razor sharp mouse killers between the bathroom and my morning coffee, anyway, the fur was flying and the  back and forth was hilarious as they kept at each other with about 6 staff all interacting for about 5 minutes and at the end of the day they all started laughing, now I don’t speak any Chinese but have been involved in that kind of tit for tat and for me that was the highlight of the trip, as I connected with that family group intimately as the fly on the wall contentedly slurping my excellent late night local noodles.

Money is the other thing that I spend a lot of time researching. I ran a small business and the rule of thumb that I learned is that you should have 2.5 times the budget that you think you need and for cheap travelers this is a bit higher than you want to hear I am sure but I would suggest that you have 1.5 available and that you have a reserve of at least 1 times more should something unplanned for happen, nothing worse than being a stranger in strange land making the universal rabbit ears distress signal with your pockets. 

Credit cards are good but bless that little Murphy’s impish soul, in times like these they can shut off for no readily apparent reason and if that is all that you are counting on life can get really interesting. I suggest that you have lined up in advance some back up like a rich uncle or other family member that you know will step up should the need arise. Major tip: People that owe you money are not good bets! Have your checking, saving, debit, Visa, MasterCard card information ready so that they can either do a bank to bank transfer or make a payment direct to your credit card. . American Express works great, but if you qualify you wouldn’t be reading this now would you! The safest bet is having a debit card with a easy pin as you can have someone make a direct cash deposit to your bank and then you get immediate access via a cash point or ATM.   Today banks have real people hours so the longest possible time would be 48 hours.   They can also make a Visa or MasterCard payment but they still might not sort you out and turn you back on if they know you are broke and playing in Asia instead of working hard to pay their legal loan sharking rates, and it usually has at least a 3 day wait.

I send all that banking information to a email account that I can get to from anywhere label it baby pictures or something else totally boring and send it to a Gmail my preference or Hotmail or Yahoo email account so that you can get at it. I also scan a copy of my passport and visas that are in it that you will need on your travels and my drivers license or ID card this makes a for an easy ID if you should lose your passport at the embassy or a bank.

Hey if I see you in Asia with the old look at the rabbits in my pants trick I know that you skipped the planning and I will gladly help you out with some good advice like put a bell on your precious pussy cat!

Asia’s Most Exotic Landscape, Cambodia!

The exotic look of the land is one of the things that people always comment on, that spend anytime inside the Kingdom of Cambodia traveling. The look is derived mostly from their Khmer heritage where Cambodia was the largest and most powerful culture in South East Asia for many centuries. A large number of Buddhists temples called “wats” are the largest and the highest of the building in the rural Cambodia. These magnificent sparkling temples stand watch over the countryside, very similar in location on hill tops, but larger for the most part, than most of the rural churches in west.

The Cambodian countryside has millions of sugar palms trees interspersed in their vast rice paddies that provide a uniquely Cambodian look. The planting of sugar palms were initiated by decree of the monarchy, which created dominance of the landscape by this particular tree. The sugar palm has a distinct circular crown, and is a prodigious producer of coconuts, a staple in the Khmer diet.

The other thing that you cannot miss is the smiles and the endless hello’s that you receive when you travel around from all of the kids. It is easy to see that many of the kids live in poverty, but fortunately for them they are unaware of this, and they laugh and play all day long. Even as adults, Khmers are some of the happiest people that you will meet in your travels. One sense’s that their expectations of the world are in line with their reality and all is well right here, right now, so why not be happy? A wonderful thing to behold in this exotic Asian country of Cambodia!

The Missing Years of Jesus – Resolved

Shrouded in mystery, fable and legend, nevertheless the Bible recorded the birth of Jesus Christ and follows His life up to about 12 years old.

To this day Jewish male children undergo Bar Mitzvah at the age of 13. This was not recorded by the Evangelists. Indeed, the life of Jesus is not considered again till the age of 30.

To accept that Jesus was just at home with His family is a plausible explanation, but not in keeping with the Gospels that say at the age of 12, Jesus was at the Temple, and the people marveled to hear Him.

Certainly, after His Bar Mitzvah, He would have been technically a “man” and no longer a boy, and would naturally continue to marvel the people. It would have been His right to speak in the Temple. There is no such record.

There is much speculation, but a lot of recorded incidents and connections. One very important one is Joseph (Saint) of Arimathea. Certain he was a rich man, and certainly he was able to speak (in Greek and /or Latin) to the Roman governor at a very sensitive moment, so he was certainly influential.

He gave his own tomb for the burial of Jesus, and paid for all the necessary burial formalities. There is no question he was close to Jesus, and as a member of the Sanhedrin, would have defended him in that assembly. There were more connections, and many very plausible.

Joseph of Arimathea was certainly wealthy, but how did he amass his wealth? Arimathea, is not a town or district at all, but a Greek compound word meaning Harima Theo (by the Grace of God).

He most likely came from Ramle or another town. He was said to be in the trade of metals; tin precisely. This would have theoretically put him in contact with England, where tin was mined and sent throughout the Roman Empire.

More speculation has Joseph related to Jesus directly. It is been written by early Church fathers that Joseph was the uncle of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Certainly the Gospel has them familiar as when Joseph was burying Jesus in his tomb, he was accompanied by Mary (the mother of Jesus), and Mary Magdalena.

Jesus Himself was familiar with Alexandria in Egypt (where He grew up) and as a major center of learning (the Library was there), Jesus would have also spoken Egyptian.

Since where there is so much smoke there must be fire, the story of the young Jesus being accompanied by Joseph, his uncle, on a journey to England is certainly possible.

The legend records the journey home, but with a diversion to Greece, and then into Asia Minor. There it is said that Jesus and Joseph departed, with Jesus joining another wealthy traveler with his son.

At the time, there were Buddhist missionaries all over Asia Minor, and indeed as far as Rome and Egypt. It is plausible Jesus had encountered one or more, and thus found His interest and way to India.

There are many records from early travelers to India having been shown or heard about Jesus’ time there.

The famous James Churchward in his major work Mu the Lost Continent describes such an encounter. There have been many others including Notovitch in 1888.

Aside from the fantastic speculation, many of the diversions from classic Judaism appear to be oriental in nature, and very specifically Vedic in nature.

Where the Jews were waiting for a Messiah, the Hindus have their belief in Avatars which are human incarnations of God.

So the missing years perhaps saw a journey from the Holy Land to Egypt, to England, passing central Europe into Greece, Asia Minor, and the Hindu Kush all the way to the Himalayas.

There, Jesus would have found the perfect environment to slowly become the world Avatar that He has indeed become.

There is no Hindu which does not accept Him as a divine incarnation.

Here is William Blake’s poem Jerusalem which alludes to such a visit…

And did those feet in ancient time

Walk upon England’s mountains green?

And was the holy Lamb of God

On England’s pleasant pastures seen?

And did the Countenance Divine

Shine forth upon our clouded hills?

And was Jerusalem builded here

Among these dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my Bow of burning gold;

Bring me my Arrows of Desire;

Bring me my Spear; O clouds unfold!

Bring me my Chariot of Fire!

I will not cease from Mental Fight,

Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand,

Till we have built Jerusalem

In England’s green and pleasant Land.

There have been many theories on Jesus the missing years and we hope you find our view thought provoking.