by Nina Sabin - Travel
Before we get to the end of our Infamous Asian Tour, let me update you to what we are currently doing. For those who have been following us, we just finished a three week work-stay in Penol, Colombia. Our newest way to travel is doing work-stay opportunities all over the world. To see more about these experiences, follow us on What’s Next with John & Nina.
Now back to our tour…
Well, after over four weeks of traveling on our first repat, it finally comes to an end. It only took us eight blogs to write about our 30-day adventure through Asia. We hope you enjoyed reading about our trip as much as we have sharing our experiences. However, it is not quite over. We have to share where we went after Asia.
Once again, were at an airport, boarding a plane. This time we were on United Air. This was the first time we were back on an American based airline since we moved to Saudi. American airlines, such as American Air and United, co-share with other airlines. This took us time to learn and understand this process. Sometimes, we weren’t sure which airline we should check in with. Over many trips now, it is easier to understand.
This was the longest flight we had ever experienced. It was 13 hours in flight. It was one of our only direct flights and we even flew over the International Dateline. Usually, eight hours is the most we can handle on a flight at one time and with a four and a five and a half year old child it was even a bit more challenging. For those of you have children, you know how difficult it can be to keep children entertained on flights and in their seats for 13 hours. Thank goodness for online movies; however, with United Airlines at that time (2002) they only had one movie to watch and they weren’t the individual screens in the seats.
After a year and a half of living in Saudi Arabia, we took our first family trip back to the USA. We flew from Hong Kong to San Francisco. It was my first time to visit California. Traveling such distances always leads to jet lag. In Hong Kong, we were 15 hours ahead of Pacific Time. Therefore, our bodies were very confused and we were up at 4am ready to explore. However, the rest of the city was still sleeping.
It was great to be back in the US. Everyone spoke English and we could understand all the signs. We also looked like everyone else. Very different than our travels around Asia. However, using US money took a bit getting used to. After a year and a half of using Saudi Riyals and then the different currencies through Asia, dollars were actually foreign looking to us.
San Francisco is so hilly. The roads are so steep. Being from Florida and then living in Saudi where all the roads are flat, we found this an unusual and fascinating experience. We were so out of breath going up the streets as we journeyed through the city.
The highlight for our daughters and myself was seeing the sea lions on the peers. If you have never seen a sea lion up close, they are very noisy animals and also self-centered. We watched as the sea lions would climb over each other to dry off on the docks. We even saw one intentionally knock another sea lion off the dock, just to steal his spot. This was something that could have entertained us for hours, but we only had two days to explore.
John was looking so forward to visiting Alcatraz. This was second time he was able to visit an old prison with his father. The first was actually in the Florida Keys as he took his first plane ride ever on a sea plane to the Dry Tortugas. He has always loved adventures.
We had two more plane rides before arriving back home to Saudi. After two days in San Francisco, we flew to Florida to meet up with Nina’s family and we had our one and only Christmas back in the US while we lived in Saudi. Nothing is as special as having Christmas together with your family. Our jet lag was pretty bad still, so Christmas morning was spent at 4:30 am eating Dunkin Donuts at the beach in the rain. A memory that will always be with us.
Going back to Saudi, was pretty difficult. Remember this was our first repat. Any expat will tell you coming back to a foreign country after their first time traveling back to their home country can take some time to adjust. It usually takes two weeks to get over the jet lag and missing the familiarity of home. Getting in a routine and melatonin helps with the adjustment.
Now the Infamous Asian Tour is over, we can move on to the next excursion. In one repat we visited six countries and we still have sixteen repats to share plus our Eid trips. Get ready to join us to our next adventure as we explore the world by visiting 90 plus countries.