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Trip 20 -- Asia, Cold and Hot
29 January to 26 February 2019
This is my twentieth travelogue, and I've come to terms with the fact that at the rate of roughly one a year I'm not going to get everywhere. I probably won't even travel all the world's miles of passenger train track. Generally my strategy has been to fly in to one place, fly out from another, and figure out how to get between them by land and sea. By now I'm content to hop around a bit, revisiting places I like and seeking out special events and people.
For this trip, that meant a hodgepodge of new places and old, a combination of pleasure and work, a roundabout routing, and a determination to enter Russia one more time before my three-year visa expired in June. My joining a theatre program in Indonesia in mid-February meant that the timing was good for a visit to Hong Kong for the Chinese new year, followed by a few days on Sakhalin Island and an exploration of the ice sculptures in Harbin, before I met the team in Jakarta. My backpack was more laden than usual: I packed for a potential 130-degree temperature spread, and I had recently purchased some discounted cash -- more than 1300 coins from the relevant countries offered by a friend who had acquired them as part of a much larger set of hundreds of pounds of unwanted coins dropped into New York City's transit fareboxes over the years.