Impressions and Photos of Singapore

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. […]

November 7th, 2014|1 Comment

Why I’m Going Back to Nepal

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. […]

October 25th, 2014|1 Comment

Scenes from a Cambodian Street

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.  […]

September 25th, 2014|0 Comments

On Falling Out of Love With a Place

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. […]

September 17th, 2014|2 Comments

10 Photos from Otres Beach Near Sihanoukville, Cambodia

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. […]

September 3rd, 2014|6 Comments

The Month I Spent Living on Koh Tao, a Tropical Thai Island

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. […]

August 21st, 2014|0 Comments

What It’s Like to Ride a $35 Bicycle Across Cambodia

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? […]

August 16th, 2014|9 Comments

A Look Back at 7 Months of Living in Thailand

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. […]

June 19th, 2014|2 Comments

Photos from Mandalay (Myanmar/Burma), One of My Favorite Cities in the World

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. […]

June 11th, 2014|4 Comments

Photos of U-Bein Bridge Near Mandalay, Myanmar (Burma)

Mike and I rented bikes and pedaled for 45 minutes in the 100+ degree heat out to U-Bein Bridge, arguably the most photographed thing in Myanmar. The bridge itself is .75-miles (1.2 km) long and is the oldest and longest teak (a type of wood) bridge in the world. The bridge is supported by 1,086 wooden pillars that stick up out of the water.

But mostly the bridge just looks really cool. It’s fun to walk across it and watch the locals enjoying themselves in the water. […]

June 4th, 2014|1 Comment