The most precious travel moments of one’s journey – or rather, for the sake of alliteration: the most precious travel treasures of any trip – are those minutes frozen in time; the minutes etched into your memory.
My long-term filing cabinet memory is filled with 50% Asian minutes and 50% African minutes of beautiful poetic reminders of what I’ve experienced, the things I’ve seen, heard, smell, eaten and touched, the places I’ve walked and the people I’ve met.
But my filing cabinet is also filled with random minutes that turned into random moments…
Precious irreplaceable moments – often bizarre, usually random – frozen in time, etched into my memory.
Travel Treasures: 7 Random Memories in 7 Countries
Cambodia – Temple Napping
I took a nap on one of the steps of a temple in the Angkor Wat complex. I wish I could remember the name of the temple but during the third day of temple hopping I just couldn’t tell the difference between brick, Buddha, stone, ruin and my sanity anymore…so I took a nap.
It was a glorious nap with my cheek pressed up against the cool stone. Or brick. Or concrete.
I don’t know. It was hot. I was overheating.
Thailand – A Stolen Cup of Coffee
What? Do you pay for your coffee? What is wrong with you?
I am kidding.
But I am not kidding about the fact that I stole a cup of coffee (by accident) in Bangkok. I still have no idea how it happened. I ordered my coffee form a vendor on the street, took it and walked away. I only realised and rushed back to pay 30 minutes and one caffeine rush later.
Japan – Toilet
You’ve probably seen it before? The toilets with the fancy buttons?
This button will sing you a song, that button will spray your butt and another one will heat the seat.
When in Rome you eat Pizza, when in Korea you squat, but when in Japan, you sit back, relax (well, kind of) and let that damn toilet do its job and fulfill its life goal of heating your bum and spraying your butt.
I realise that I talk about toilets quite a lot – I’ve wrote about the Squatty side of Travel for Traveller24, I wrote about Modern Toilet in Taiwan and wrote about it again in Afrikaans for the Beeld. I might have a problem? Pass the Immodium!
Indonesia – High Tea
During my two-month cycle trip in Indonesia I stopped for a high tea mid-cycle.
No, the queen did not visit and there was nothing royal, like dainty treats, about it either, but I had tea with a police officer next to a highway.
He pulled me over (actually he waved me over), and questioned my sanity because I cycled in the midday-12pm-heat and ordered me (politely) to take a break and have tea with him.
Actually, I think it was coffee. Yes. High coffee.
Philippines – The Dry Cracker Challenge
Usually you will keep yourself busy with a book when a plane, train or boat is delayed, but every now and then you find yourself in the company of a good friend and a pack of extra dry crackers and before you know it you say, “See how many crackers you can put in your mouth without drinking water”.
It was a very dry boat ride from Bohol to Cebu…
Malaysia – Saya berbicara Bahasa Indonesia sedikit-sedikit
Tea plantations, high towers, street art, islands, good food, a vibrant mix of cultures and colonial architecture are all reasons why I would return to Malaysia, but there is one more reason.
I am slightly obsessed with the Indonesia language. It started after my second trip to Indonesia; I bought a book, got a teacher and studied. I had a dream to be fluent in Bahasa Indonesia, I still do…
So when I visited Malaysia (nearly three years after my last visit to Indonesia) I was quite delighted that I could practice my Bahasa Indonesia because it’s so similar to Malay (or Bahasa Malaysia).
Indeed. Yes. My highlight of Malaysia was that I could speak another language. Travel is not just about the sights…
Taiwan – Ice Cream Shop
I ate Sesame Oil Chicken Ice Cream in Taipei.
Now, before you judge and ask why I would do such a thing, rather ask why someone would whip up a bowl of death and make you pay for it?
Well, the taste of the ice cream was not exactly the random minute – it was just disgusting – but the lady behind the counter became a travel treasure minute when she solemnly promised, “Eat, it’s good for your health”.
The next day I felt like death.
Actually I was 63% dead; headaches, sore body, scratchy throat, stiff neck and a whole lot of wooziness happened in my head.
Laryngitis, the doctor said, but to this day I still wonder if that lick of death in the ice cream shop played a role.
Read more about the bizarre Asian ice cream moments, click here.
I don’t try to find the random travel treasure minutes while I travel, instead I let the random travel treasure minutes find their way to me.
It’s not that hard, I’m quite easy to impress.
Just look at my fascination with toilets…