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15 things that hit you when you leave South East Asia

15 things that hit you when you leave South East Asia

I don’t know about any of my fellow travellers, but getting on the plane at Bangkok to come home was the hardest part of the whole trip for me (and that’s including the moment I battled a wild dog with a stick…). Adjusting to life post-SE Asia is tricky. There are some huge jolts to the system, for instance…

1. Rice is no longer compulsory

There’s a whole host of carbs out there, from wholemeal brown bread, to gnocci pasta, to stodgy fried potatoey goodness. No longer will a menu have a fried rice list, followed by a fried noodles list. The world is your oyster (ooh oysters).

2. You are no longer an obvious tourist

Which means one glorious, magical thing – you are not bombarded by salesmen anymore. No one will shout ‘tuktuk’ at you across a road, no one will dangle elephant pants in your face, with a special discount, just for you, lady. In fact, if you return to a big city like mine, no one will speak to you on the street at all. Who knew I would start shouting ‘tuktuk’ at people for some good old conversation.

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3. Crossing the road is very dull

Cars will stop at the lights, as will the bikes, and no one will drive at you at 40 miles an hour with 10 bags of garbage attached to the back of their scooter. Life’s just not as exciting without that constant fear of death, you know?

4. Sunsets just aren’t the same

I don’t know where you live, but where I am, the only sunset I witness is at 4pm, when the sun sinks below the buildings and I can’t see it anymore. What sunset? Does it still happen, if nobody sees it?

5. Sunrises don’t exist

No one has time for sunrises outside of South East Asia. No one can get up early enough, and if they could, no buses would be running to take you to a suitable flat spot where the sun could be seen, rising. And let’s face it, once we leave that paradise, we’re all grumpy morning people again.

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6. Dogs are leashed and rabies-proof

No more wild dogs running at us, folks. No more gripping your friend’s arm until it bleeds because that huge Alsatian is running straight at you and it could have rabies. No such fun at home, I’m afraid.

7. Milk doesn’t taste so sweet

Back home, milk is… milk. It’s fresh, full of dairy goodness. But where did the gloopy sugary syrup of Vietnam go? Why doesn’t my coffee taste like dessert?

8. Red Bull has less… kick

Harmful chemicals are illegal again now, folks. No more getting messed up on energy drinks I’m afraid, you’ll just have to revert back to plain old alcohol.

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9. Welcome back the red tape, and put down the scissors

No more climbing rocky hills with ladders propped half-heartedly across them. No more solo cave exploring. No more license-less moped driving. Law is law again, folks. And health and safety is strong in this one.

10. Water is drinkable

It has to be said, drinking straight from the tap again? It’s lush. No more journeys to 7/11 at 3am to hydrate after boozing. The tap will sort me out.

11. Things are EXPENSIVE

More expensive than they ever were before, it feels like. Ten dollars for one cocktail. Five for a beer. You have got to be kidding me. I could rent a moped for a day at that price.

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12. Rain is permanent here

This isn’t South East Asia anymore because, here, the rain will not stop after 2 minutes. Here, the rain might stop, if we’re lucky, after 2 days. Or just never. Preferably in time for summer.

13. Beaches are rammed

Most of South East Asia has plenty of deserted beautiful beaches, golden sands, etcetera. But anywhere else, find a crappy stony beach anywhere, on a warmish sunny day in June, and there will be just about room for you to lay a towel next to the fat guy sweating into the sand next to you. But why…

14. Egg is not nearly so popular

Egg on a stick, egg fried rice, eggy bread, omelette, rice with fried egg randomly dolloped on top. It’s everywhere. It’s even in the coffee. And now? Where the hell is all the egg at?

15. You have left paradise behind

Rolling mountains, the longest of stunning exotic beaches, blue limestone waterfalls, crystal caves, shirtless Australian men… You didn’t quite appreciate it at the time (because no one ever does), but it was the bees’ knees, was it not?

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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