Asia in Retrospect – Final Post (Beijing, China)

And now, it is my last day in Beijing; I am finally ready to leave China, finally ready to go to Mongolia, to Siberia to Moscow on Trans-Siberian Railroad.  I have my tickets in my hand, my visas in my passport, and my plane tickets back to the US are already booked.  My journey across … Continue reading

To the Mekong! (Bangkok to Laos)

BKK – Simplicity – To the Mekong! One day before my 23rd birthday, I returned to my home away from home: Bangkok’s Khao San Road. When I first came to Bangkok I swore I would never return. The chaos overwhelmed me and convinced me it was a place I could only visit once. But Bangkok is the major … Continue reading

Thoughts on Burma, Retrospective

My visa would expire in a little over a week, so it was time to think about getting back to Thailand. The country is hermetically sealed from its neighbors, the only way in or out is via airplane from Yangon to Bangkok. March 27th was National Armed Forces Day, so the government shut down the … Continue reading

“You Are the Monkey”

Arrival in Hsipaw – Riding Motorbikes – Tea plantations and stupas in the sky – Namsam – You Are the Monkey – Thoughts on Tourism – Return to Hsipaw I walked to the outskirts of town and caught a ride with a guy carrying a load of grapes up to Lashio.  I was going halfway, … Continue reading

Warning From Mt. Olympus (Pyin U Lwin, Burma)

Bad news bears – Illness – Hermes appears – Oops, sorry Ares – What to do? – Onwards! After yanking off that palmister’s good luck bracelet, I was beginning to feel tired and queasy. I needed a reprieve from the noxious smog of Mandalay, I needed to escape the low valleys of Burma and take a … Continue reading

Mustachio Bashio (Mandalay, Burma)

Secret Police – Fu Manchu – The performance – Sobering facts – American Democracy There was only one thing I wanted to see in Mandalay – the Mustache Brothers Comedy Troupe.  On my second night in town I went to go see their famous nightly performance, and I am still not sure what to think … Continue reading

Great Expectations (The Journey to Mandalay, Burma)

Mandalay – The Janky Bus – Ford the River! – My Fear of Monks – Suffering – Riding on the Roof Mandalay was disgusting.  I was utterly disappointed.  I made a vow to myself to never expect anything from a city ever again.  From now on, I would expect every city to be horrible so … Continue reading

Machine Guns and Opium (Shan State, Burma)

History of Shan State – The Land of Poppies – Inle Lake – Travel Philosophy Burma.  This is the name political activists use to refer to this country.  The military junta (SLORC) calls it Myanmar, claiming that Burma is a vestige of colonialism.  Oddly, enough they are correct. Burma comes from an English mispronunciation of … Continue reading

Pilgrim for a Day (Kyaiktiyo, Burma)

Wake up, pseudo-pilgrim – the agonizing bus ride – how can monks take shortcuts? – The golden rock I woke up in Kyaiktiyo to the sound of Buddhist prayers streaming through my open window.  The air was smoky from villagers burning trash and farmers practicing slash-and-burn agriculture.   I was in Kyaiktiyo, the destination of thousands … Continue reading

Hamlet Hospitality (Bago, Burma)

My bus arrives – Description of travel – Unexpected detour – Mixing with the locals – A lesson learned I chose my destination: East to the sacred Golden Rock at Kyaitiyo. Despite waking up at dawn I was still stuck in Yangon at 10 AM. My guidebook had warned me that transportation in Burma was slow, … Continue reading