I’ve had a passing interest in vegetarianism for many years now. I can remember attempting to actively pursue a vegetarian diet 4 or 5 years ago while in school. I went to Costco and bought granola bars, muesli, a bunch of beans, and organic Pop Tarts. I thought that would be enough to last me for a while. It wasn’t. I grew bored of the diet about a day and a half into the endeavor and abandoned it. Those cans of beans are still probably sitting uneaten on the shelf in that apartment. […]
The customs desk that I walked up to to get my passport stamped in Singapore’s Changi Airport had a little box of free candy on top of it. I took a few moments to choose the flavor I wanted before pocketing a piece. The lady that was inspecting my passport commented on how I had taken a long time to choose a piece of candy, and I replied that I take my candy seriously and that I didn’t want to make a choice that I would later regret. The woman smiled broadly and handed me my passport back. It was the first time that I’d ever been welcomed to a country with either a piece of candy or a smile.
That experience kind of sums up Singapore. I don’t think I saw or did anything that was without precedent anywhere else in the world, but the Singaporean version is just more better, nicer, more efficient, or more impressive in some way. […]
Going to Nepal the first time was something of an accident. India was my intended destination, but I had no Indian visa and no time to get one. I figured that I could fly to Nepal and get an Indian visa there. Instead, after a month in Nepal, I decided that what I really wanted was a good Internet connection so that I could get a lot of work done, so I bypassed India and flew to Bangkok. […]
It had been a long day of sitting in front of my computer, and I was hungry. I left the apartment and started walking down the street to a favorite Indian restaurant.
I passed a teenager pulling a wooden cart down the side of the road. Lying sprawled out on top of the cart was what appeared to be a slightly older young man. His brother, maybe? The older brother was bent and contorted in unnatural ways. His limbs stuck out at odd angles, and he was twitching, jerking. He looked like he was having a seizure. It was a scene out of a New Testament movie, pre-miracle. […]
Over the past two years, I’ve had more serious relationships with places than I have with people. When I first arrived in Cambodia, I fell in love with the place. I started studying the language. I read everything I could about the country. I even started a daily Cambodian-related email newsletter. The plan was to stay here for a while and make it my home. […]
Mike, Kristen, and I spent two days last week down at Otres Beach near Sihanoukville, Cambodia. It was nicer than I expected. We were literally the only guests at our little beachside resort. The beach was deserted and the water was warm. We passed our time relaxing in hammocks and lounge chairs, talking with the creepy-cool Dutch owner of the resort and his Cambodian wife, and generally enjoying our technology detox. […]
After spending four months in Bangkok, I was ready for some rest and relaxation. I wanted to spend some time at one of Thailand’s world-famous beaches, but I also wanted to do some rock climbing. That narrowed my search down to the Railay and Ton Sai areas near Krabi and a couple small islands. I was heading down there alone (i.e., sans climbing partner) so I chose the only place that had bouldering: a small island in the Gulf of Thailand called Koh Tao. […]
Mike and I each bought used Chinese bicycles in Phnom Penh for $35. The bikes themselves were the same except for a few minor differences. Mike’s bike looked cooler than mine. It sported a dark, silvery-gray paint job and a sweet orange Panasonic sticker. My bike was a much lighter gray. It was covered in City Walker stickers (was that a brand? the name of the bike? Who knows…) and small stickers of flowers. Both bikes had a few gears in theory but only one in practice. Neither bike shifted well, though I think mine was in moderately better shape than Mike’s, which made mildly disconcerting metal-on-metal clanking noises. Both bikes also had a rear rack, a front basket, a simple lock, and a bell.
What more do you need? […]
At about this time tomorrow, I’ll be on a bus heading for the Laotian border, and I’ll be in Laos by early evening. I’ve spent about 7 months in Thailand: 4 months in Bangkok, 1 month on Koh Tao, and 2 months in Chiang Mai. It ranks fifth on the list of countries I’ve spent the most amount of time in, behind the US, China, Ukraine, and Mexico. […]
Objectively speaking, Mandalay isn’t that great as far as cities go. It’s relatively new. It’s kind of ugly. It’s very dusty and dirty. But it’s one of my favorite cities in the world. Why? The people there are the nicest and most welcoming that I’ve met anywhere. We’d be walking down the street and literally every 30 seconds, someone would wave at us, smile, or say/yell “Hello!” I felt like a rock star. […]