One Golden Temple, please. To go.
They come from all continents, cameras dangling from their sun-screened necks, sunglasses flashing, and hat perched atop their sweated mop heads. Yes, we are hopeless victims of the Angkor maelstrom, a couple more tallies to the thousands for the day, two more pair of flip-flops on the trail, another couple bikes in the parking stall.
Most come here, though, just to see where Angelina Jolie’s breakout hit Tomb Raider was filmed.
The ancient city sleeps: an empty street, dark splintered by a naked streetlamp, windows clamped with rotting boards, and a rusty bike grinding through the dust. I am the sole waking thing in a feast of broken temples. Welcome to Bagan; welcome to my personal sunrise bike tour. Forgive me the melodrama, but rising at… Continue reading Bagan Nation
I’d never met a Burmese rapper before, so of course I didn’t know what to do. Shake hands? Fist bump? Get jiggy with it? What? People don’t say that anymore? You mean they never did? Are you sure? How about letting the dogs out—does that fit here? Anyway, I only had a… Continue reading Golden Yangon
The gamelan will ping and gently gong under a million piercing Java stars; the torchlight will flicker and glow on a thousand anxious faces; and, like a dew slowly soaking Papaya leaves in the still-shadowy dawn, a man draped in the crazy vines and tattoo lines of a royal batik will glide to the mic. … Continue reading Jogja Part 3: Planned Anthem
We were the walking undead—moaning, grunting, shuffling lifelessly off the panting train and onto Jogjakarta’s storied soil. “Uuuuggghhhhh.” It was 4 AM. This overnight train was not ideal for sleeping—too much clacking, too much sideways jerking around the curves, too much light in the aisles, and too cold, much too cold, air blasting from the… Continue reading Jogja Part 2: Zombie Zen