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Trip 2 -- Southeast Asia
24 September 1998 to 26 October 1998
This trip was largely prompted by the All-Asia Pass - a splendid offer by Cathay Pacific Airlines that allowed me to travel round-trip to all of the above countries, and then within southeast Asia, for only $899. I'd had a desire to visit Indonesia for a long time, ever since I studied Indonesian gamelan music. Hong Kong was on the itinerary because it's a huge city with a fascinating Chinese-English culture (and of course there is the wonderful dim sum). Though I didn't know that much about the other countries, I knew enough to know that I wanted to go there, and they were easily accessible on this trip.
As the trip progressed, this seemingly unrelated mishmash of countries did develop a theme: colonization. Indonesia was Dutch for centuries, the Philippines were Spanish, and Malaysia and Singapore were British (though all of those countries were colonized by others at some point). Hong Kong had recently been handed back over from Britain to China, and Macau had just a year left of being Portuguese before it would become Chinese again. And Thailand was the only country of the seven that had never been colonized.