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
“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
A diving paradise, a delinquent MD, and a pushy 5-star resort… What could possibly go wrong?
With the dawn appeared the boat – a tiny white bark ready to skip us a mile across the channel to yawning Kaledupa: Twenty minutes of sunshine and crystal sea, sunscreen and smiles, a farewell video etched on a hard drive, a glimpse at a landscape seated in the subconscious of Paradise. The boatman… Continue reading Kaledupa: Crossing Over
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?
At the gateway to Wakatobi… But could we make it past?
When crazy islands came calling, we were crazy enough to answer.
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
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.
Chaos and calm, congestion and quiet, survival-of-the-fittest and radiant bliss—all this is just a microcosm of Siem Reap. If you want to know what this crazy little town is like, you’ve got to be ready for a duststorm of contradictions, a whirlwind of paradox.
It’s hot here in the dry season, and arid as Arizona in a drought. All the jungles I thought I’d find were browned and withered, reduced to scratchy shadows of their former selves, dried husks baking in the sun, snakeskins left to crinkle in the heat. The land waits rains. We, on the other hand,… Continue reading Cambodia: Buses to Siem Reap
An anniversary getaway to a much-hyped island inspires not only selfies, but also some reflections on the eco-resort phenomenon
“Where are you staying, Mister?” Our inquisitor sat serenely on his motorbike, sarong dancing in the breeze and cigarette smoldering in his lips. I’d been here twenty minutes, hiked one kilometer down a lonely road, and already he was the tenth person to ask me this. I paused for a moment to adjust… Continue reading Amed: Bali’s Next Honeypot?