We met on a sweaty night in the middle of Hanoi, high up on a balcony full of backpackers. In the middle of the balcony was an old bathtub full of ice; staff members from the bar kept refilling it with bottles of beer, trying to keep up with the raucous crowd. For some inexplicable reason, everyone was wearing pink sombreros, and the place was filled with kids barely old enough to drink, sunburnt, be-hatted, throwing their heads back in drunken laughter. And then: I saw you.
I was on one of those three-day tours from Hanoi that guaranteed a true Hmong experience. It was my first time to Southeast Asia, and I had arrived from Japan on holiday for a few weeks. The trip was booked on a whim, a necessary break from the months teaching in classrooms, a chance for my skin to finally see the sun again. The taxi from the airport hurtled down the highway – I had never seen such chaos. Motorbikes were laden with whole families, their pigs strapped to the sides; bandana-covered faces stared at me through slats in trucks, men off to try to make a few dollars for a day’s work.
Popayan, Colombia That’s a photo of me and my new friend Pie, from Amsterdam. We met in Cali, although, after talking about our past travels, we realised we were also in Medellin and Salento at the same time. In fact, Pie and his friend Rutger are behind Kerri and I in a photo at a […]
Bangkok, Thailand I have never hidden the fact that one of my main motivations for travelling the world is food. Food is a major part of my life, and it is therefore a major part of my travels. I delight in sampling an array of local cuisine when I am in a new country; there […]
Koh Phi Phi, Thailand I am seriously addicted to cheap massages/spa treatments when I travel. When I was in Southeast Asia, I got spa treatments a few times a month (or even a week) if I could; the 60 baht foot massages in Chiang Mai, the 40 000 kip full body massages in Vientiane, the […]
…or Romania, or Bolivia, or Japan… When you ask a traveller what he or she loves most about being on the road, chances are he or she will, at some point, mention interacting with the local people and learning about new cultures. Most travellers are, after all, xenophiles at heart. But to the novice traveller, […]
On The Trans-Siberian Train, Russia Marrakech, Morocco Matinloc Island, The Philippines Osaka, Japan Sapa, Vietnam Varna, Bulgaria Oia, Greece Hanoi, Vietnam Brasov, Romania The Sahara, Morocco St. Petersburg, Russia Blue is the colour of my eyes, of my dream car, of open skies and open waters, of cotton candy at the fair, of fresh berries […]
Hoi An, Vietnam Here’s the thing – I’m actually on a beach in Thailand right now, most likely on the island of Koh Phi Phi. I’m scheduling this post for today just in case there isn’t any internet access (is it wrong that I kind of hope there isn’t?). But if my time on the […]
Hanoi, Vietnam Now that it’s 2011, it feels as though my flight to Asia is imminent. And it truly is; I leave on the 13th, only eleven days away. Maybe I’m crazy, but one of the things I’m looking forward to most is that smell of street food and beer, of humid, sweaty air, of […]
On the train in Mongolia On the train in Vietnam On the train in Russia Dear Santa, I’ve been very lucky and very happy this year, and I really don’t deserve any more great things thrown my way. However, if you have time…all I want for Christmas is travel stuff. Specifically: A Canon G12. A […]