Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try! Dr. Seuss
To ponder why we travel and from where the passion to explore is derived is a complex question; often not determined by one quick answer. For me, and I would guess for many, it would be easy to give all credit in the direction of one or both parents however just as often influences can be found in a multitude of experiences occupied by our youth.
In primary school I had a teacher, Mr. Tooze, who introduced me to the life and culture of Hong Kong’s Junk Boat citizenry. For a couple of weeks Mr. Tooze worked our imaginations into a frenzy as we drew pictures, crafted stories, encouraged our study, and read about life in the harbor of Hong Kong.
I was mesmerized. I still have vivid memories of my romantic and innocent imagination as I envisioned my own life on board a junk boat. Never setting foot on land and living in tune with the ebb and flow of the ocean tide. Walking with buoyancy to allow my knees the ability to bend and flex along with the rolling of the sea. Continue reading July 1969
At 11:15 am one of the last remaining trains in Brazil pulls out of Luz Station in Sao Paulo. Its destination, which will take over 39 hours to reach, is the small swamp town of Corumba on the Brazil Bolivia border.
I had first read about this train in a newspaper while traveling down the coast. Everything about it captured my imagination and sense of adventure. Going deep inland to the furthermost corners of the Brazilian jungle, experiencing what few had experienced; this is the kind of travel I had yearned for and opportunity was knocking.
The journey spans almost the entire width of Brazil and is known throughout the country as the Death Train. It was this name that made me veer west in my travel plans. At first I had thought the name had been earned for the fact that by the time the destination is reached you would probably feel, look, and smell like a corpse. Even though this assumption was not far off the mark the real reason was far more sinister. Continue reading Brazilian Death Train
My big plan was to keep the excitement of traveling in Cambodia alive as long as possible. Since I had a 12 hour layover in Beijing to not take advantage of this seemed foolish and an incredible waste of opportunity.
My intention therefore was to arrive in China, obtain a day visa, leave the airport, grab a taxi, and head to the Great Wall.
I knew that this optimistic plan was fraught with issues all of which were out of my control. Even if I could exit in a timely fashion I would then have to communicate to a Mandarin speaking taxi driver my exact destination. The fact that this destination was one of the worlds icons gave me little confidence in my success.
My next issue would be traffic. Not so much getting to the wall, as I would be heading out around 6am so figured traffic would not be so heavy, but heading back. This leg of the adventure I wondered about. Getting stuck in a jam on the way back to the airport with a non-English speaking driver to a plane that would depart Continue reading Wonders of the World
Traveling by sea between islands in any developing country carries with it a certain amount of risk. Whether it be the fast boats on the Mekong, the island hoppers in Indonesia, or the Koh Rong Sihanoukville double decker, overloaded, elevated center of gravity, ferry.
The trip across to Koh Rong had been an adventure even though uneventful. Two older obnoxious Americans, the stereo-typical kind, had very loudly pointed out the sub-standard safety of the vessel.
The high seas and accompanying large waves caused our ship to bobble in the water like an apple in a cask. Tipping did not seem like an unreasonable outcome.
But with that said it was still not something you needed to vocalized the entire two hour journey.
That however was on the way over; not the way back.
The way back started out fine. Continue reading Stranded At Sea
First impressions aren’t always accurate. My first impression of Battambang was pretty much the complete opposite of what I was expecting. I had read about all the French era colonial buildings that adorn the river. I had read of the towns charm. I equated both of these to a more genuine Cambodian river town experience. Coming off of my love affair with Siem Reap I was expecting a lot.
I was expecting a town with a tree-lined river skirted by a promenade of colonial buildings. The town center would have a dining and drinking area that was well maintained.
I guess I was expecting Siem Reap. I know better than to expect a duplicate of something I have already experienced.
Travel is for new experiences.
As I walked around Battambang I couldn’t believe how wrong my expectations were. Equating it to a ghost town caught in the dust bowl of the 1920’s would not be inaccurate. Cars and tuk-tuks kick up a layer of dust that hangs in the air engulfing everything. Visibility is affected and everywhere Continue reading Battambang and the Bamboo Train