My plans for the next month or so of this trip have always been a little vague, as they depend largely on the weather.
I fly down to Mexico on Thursday morning for a few days to see the Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead festivities, and then in November my travels take me to Southeast Asia, where I hope to see the Elephant Round Up, and hopefully actually ride an elephant too.
One of my other goals in that area is to see the migration of the red crabs on Christmas Island, which happens each year around November, but could occur at any time over a period of four months. The migration is dependent on two things. Firstly the beginning of the rainy season is what starts the crabs moving from the inland areas towards the coast. But mating and spawning are dictated by the phase of the moon, and are timed so that the females can spawn (drop their eggs into the water) at high tide on the new moon.
This year the two most likely dates for spawning are around 12th November, or 11th December. And my plans have had to remain flexible enough to be able to get to Christmas Island for either of these periods.
My rough plan has either been to go to Christmas Island first, then Thailand to see the elephants, then on to Australia, or if the crabs migrate later, see the elephants first, which is around the 20th November, then go to Christmas Island, and then from there direct to Perth.
I have been keeping in contact with Katrina at the Christmas Island Tourism Association, and just yesterday received from her an email update from the Christmas Island National Park.
Apparently there has been some rain in the last day or two, and crabs have started moving in large numbers, but there is now not enough time for them to spawn on the 12th November, and December is looking much more likely now.
So I think I can now start putting some plans into place. I have already booked my flight from Los Angeles to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, and arrive there on Friday 6th November. This was booked so that if necessary, I could have caught the flight from KL to Christmas Island on Saturday 7th, as there is only one flight per week to the island.
But now I have a fairly large hole on the calendar, from 6th November to around the 15th, when I have to be in Bangkok, in time to get to Surin for the Elaphant Round Up. What to do, I have been wondering?
And then, idly looking on the AirAsia website, I found that they do pretty cheap flights from KL to Beijing in China. A quick check of November temperature in Beijing revealed that it will be cold, as low as freezing overnight, but not too bad during the days.
And so I made a decision, flexible as always, to go and spend a week or so up in China, and visit the Great Wall. It’s currently less than US$300 to get to Beijing and then back to KL, and I get to achieve a goal that I suspected might be a lot more expensive to achieve.
Will I need a visa, I wonder? Better get on to that right away!! Down to the Chinese Embassy tomorrow!