Back in Bangkok for just one more night, we had just enough time to do the classiest thing you can do in the city: get fitted for a tailor-made suit, and the least classy thing you can do in the city: see a ping pong show. And like that it was over. Eleven months, three continents, a few bob, one pair of sneakers and a ticket home.
>>>Sound of trumpets blasting<<<
The time has come! Here are the first ever Vern & Andrea Travel Awards, awarded to the most memorable sleeping, eating and sightseeing experiences in South America, Australasia and South-East Asia.
Best Meal: Dinner or Lunch
1. STEAK (Popular Italian place, Buenos Aires, Argentina)
2. Coconut Curry (Last Bar, Railey, Thailand)
3. Marinated Kangaroo Steak (Andrea fried up supermarket meat, Noosa, Australia)
4. Menu del Dia (Riçon de Lucy, Salento, Columbia)
5. Ceviché (Seafood Restaurant, Huanchaco, Peru)
Best Meal: Breakfast
1. SANTA CLARAS & PAPAYA SHAKES (Central market, Sucre, Bolivia)
2. Everything you can imagine (The Westin, Nadi, Fiji)
3. Dim Sum (Wedding Baquet Hall, Hong Kong)
4. Tropical Fruit Salad, Muesli & Yoghurt (Fruit Market Stall, Chang Rai, Thailand)
5. Mini mangoes shaken from the trees (Tayrona National Park, Columbia)
1. FRUIT SHAKES (Throughout Thailand & Bolivia)
2. Bubble Tea (aka Pearl Tea) (Singapore & elsewhere in Asia)
3. Warm Quinoa Drink (Night stalls, Chachapoyas, Peru)
4. Coffee shakes (Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam)
5. 'Robuta' coffee (Throughout Vietnam)
1. AREQUIPAY BACKPACKERS DOWNTOWN (Arequipa, Peru): Brand new and deserted, with clean kitchen, fast Internet and new release DVDs.
2. Izhcayluma (Vilcabamba, Equador): a backpacker resort - dorm in stone cottage, breakfast with sweeping views.
3. HQ Villa (Lima, Peru): Grand mansion, with great breakfast spread featuring delicious porridge.
4. Freestyle (Ushaia, Argentina): Helpful staff. Free coffee, tea & hot chocolate all day!
5. Komune Surf Hostel (Coolangatta, Australia): Like a stylish hotel with dorms, killer muesli for breakfast.
1. INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU (Sacred Valley, Peru)
2. Pre-dawn hike to watch the rising sun light up the Torres del Paine peaks (El Chalten, Chile)
3. Climbing the Villarica Volcano (Puçon, Chile)
4. Jungle-whacking to 'El Pueblito' (Tayrona National Park, Columbia)
5. Abel Tasman Coastal Track (South Island, New Zealand).
1. USS LIBERTY WRECK & "DROP-OFF", diving (Tulamben, Bali)
2. Galapagos Islands, snorkelling (Ecuador)
3. Blue Lagoon Beach Resort house reef, snorkelling (Nacula Island, Fiji)
4. Pinnacle Rock, diving (near Ko Pha-Ngan, Thailand)
5. Great Barrier Reef, diving (Cairns, Australia)
Best Natural Phenomenon
1. PHOSPHORESCENCE GLOWING IN THE MIDNIGHT SEA (Railey, Thailand)
2. Iguazu Falls (the Argentina side)
3. Perito Moreno Glacier (El Calafate, Argentina)
4. Glow-worm caves (Waitomo, New Zealand)
5. Milford Sound (Fjordland, New Zealand)
Our Favourite Characters
1. DANNY (Host, Bay of Plenty Resort Fiji)
Our effeminate hotelier hugged us incessantly, taught us Fijian and fattened us up on mama's coconut cream pancakes.
2. Gino (Guide, Galapagos Adventures Boat)
We thought Gino was retarded when he showed up an hour late to collect us from the airport, but his knowledge and love for the islands won us over.
3. Brisbane B&B Trio (Riverside Hostel, Brisbane)
A threesome of headbangers run a hostel in their basement in between raising one of their offspring on violent video games.
4. Eddie (Groundsman/Singer, Bay of Plenty Resort, Fiji)
The elderly islander taught us to weave baskets from palm leaves, and serenaded Andrea.
5. Sebastian (Hostel Proprietor, El Chalten, Argentina)
Ozzy Osborne trapped in the mountains, Sebastian's hair-metal concert DVDs drowned out hiker's banter in this little lodge at the base of Mt Fitzroy.
And that's a wrap. Thanks for following us around the globe.
Vern & Andrea: 1
We'll call it a tie, just so that a rematch is a necessity.