Like most, we didn’t come to stay. Unlike most, we certainly could have stayed. First though, we needed to find a place to stay.
Amritsar 3: The Kulchas In Britain’s strange medley of militarism and well-wishing and racism and white-man’s-burdening that it called its Empire, the story of Jallianwalla Bagh has to be one of the most head-shaking and tear-budding and somber. It’s the story of a subcontinent asking for freedom, and its wealthy Punjab province spearheading the… Continue reading Amritsar 3: The Kulchas
One Golden Temple, please. To go.
Don’t. Trust. Anyone. That was the motto of the ten-hour overnight train from Delhi to Amritsar. Well, at least it would have been if we had been awake enough to heed it. We were already exhausted from overnight travel to Delhi, from the fleecing at the hands of Lucifer’s travel agency, and from the whirlwind… Continue reading Amritsar I: The Cold
Our first taste of India, real India, came with the pre-paid taxi. “Do you know where this address is?” I asked as the young man in blue sweats chucked our backpacks into the rickety old minivan. “This van is black,” Andy muttered. “They told us the official taxis were black and yellow.” Good observation—my wife… Continue reading Delhi: Lucifer’s Lair
We felt its pull an ocean away. Several oceans, actually. India’s guttural tugs started way back—back in the days of our stint working with the international students at our hometown university. Those were the days of barbecues smoldering late into the nights, of the jangling languages clanging room to room, of the music… Continue reading India: Operation Pav Baji
“So this is where that miserable old hunchback seduced the widow over her murdered husband’s coffin?” I mused into the rainy morning. “Huh?” Andy muttered between her clattering teeth. “I said, ‘So this is where—‘” “I heard what you said,” she snapped, “but tell me said you said.” Don’t judge… Continue reading York: Tradition Running Amuck
I sighed, threw a rain jacket into the suitcase, and sighed again. I was heading back to the dankest capital I’ve known, and I wasn’t happy about it.
Shortly after my trip through colonial stardom with Penang, I took a speedboat ride north and sat down for a little chat with Langkawi. This fan favorite of Malaysia resides a languid skip away from the mainland, and just another hop from the Thai border. Everyone knows her, but she can be a bit hard… Continue reading Interview with Langkawi
He’s got a stripey sort of gray, overweight and friendly, and not too shy to sit on your lap. Or to follow you to bed for that matter – out through the café and atrium, out the barred door to the guest rooms, and inside the cozy-chic urban bungalow. She’ll snuggle and purr as… Continue reading Penang: Kent’s Cats
Midnight seeped down from sweating stars, and the streetlights twinkled dirty halos on the streets. Billy scowled his wrinkled eyes and flicked across his iPhone with battered fingers. “Look at it! Right ‘ere! Ya see he’s wearing a crown fulla skulls, and that part up over there, it’s just like a scythe! And if I… Continue reading Penang: Billy’s Ghosts
It didn’t take Andy long to decide. A boatload of Indomie and smoking Bapaks in Batiks, an unshakeable stench of diesel, and a ceiling so low that only passengers aged to single-digits could walk upright—it convinced her in an instant. “I’m riding on top.” We expected the public boat from Wangi-wangi to the… Continue reading Pulau Hoga: Alone?
A blip on the radar, another island lost in the Java Sea, a speck of Sumatra skipped over by guidebooks and travel agents, and the weekend haunt for a thousand tight-lipped Indonesians in on the secret—welcome to Belitung. There are only two chances you’ve heard of this place: if you watched a 2008… Continue reading Belitung: Put This on Your Map
All I wanted from the city was a chicken sandwich. I had spotted them before, our first time through here—a juicy bit of bird, well-marinated and sizzling off the grill, stuffed into a fresh baguette (thank you French colonists of bygone years), and topped with exotic salsas and herbs. It’s Cambodia’s answer to Vietnam’s… Continue reading Phnom Penh: Capital Punishment
They come in the muggy night and disappear before dawn. Muffled voices down the hall, a brief scuffle, boots on the stained stairs and a swaying electric light—and that is all. That is the last you will see of him. Your neighbor. The skinny guy with glasses and yellow teeth, the one… Continue reading Phnom Penh: S-21 and Killing Fields