How to Ride a Motorcycle Across SE Asia

Originally Posted on When it comes to Southeast Asia, everyone has the same guidebook and the same itinerary. Chances are you’ve island hopped through Thailand, trekked through Laos, hit a tranny bar here and there and you still haven’t left the crowd behind. You’re stuck on the Banana Pancake Trail. It’s time to get … Continue reading

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

Good Morning, Vietnam! (Cambodia/Vietnam Border)

Kampot – Vietnamese Drivers – Distinct Culture – S. Vietnamese History – Fortunate Son My Lonely Planet guidebook described Kampot as being a pleasant riverside town with “fine French architecture.” I now know that “fine French architecture” is a euphemistic phrase that really means, “There is absolutely nothing to do here.” Therefore, I did nothing for a … Continue reading

Pallas Athena Visits me on the Beach (Sihanoukville, Cambodia)

Sihanoukville is the biggest of a handful of beach towns scattered along Cambodia’s small stretch of coastline. The backpacker hangout, Serendipity Beach, is a tawdry version of the French Riviera where the beaches are lined with dilapidated beach chairs and tattered, mismatched parasols. Every inch of the beachfront is occupied by bars and restaurants, some more successful … Continue reading

The Horror… (Siem Reap, Cambodia)

A Breath of Fresh Air – History of Angkor – How the Mighty Have Fallen – Poverty – School No Good – Corruption – Changed Perceptions – The Horror… In Phnom Penh I saw Cambodia in her ugliest and most shameful form. I needed a breath of fresh air. I needed to go to Angkor … Continue reading

Pushing Against the Ocean (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)

The Dump – Our Mission – Facts and Figures – Am I Pushing Against the Ocean?  The truck stopped at the edge of the Phnom Penh city landfill.  The paved street ended five meters in front of us and surrendered to mountains of organic, plastic and liquid waste.  A half-dozen fires burned slowly over the ridges of … Continue reading

Holiday in Cambodia (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)

First Impressions – A History of Violence – S-21 Prison and Torture Center – A Stroll Through “The Killing Fields” – Holiday in Cambodia! I took a bus to Cambodia’s capitol city, Phnom Penh, and wasted no time finding a suitable crash-pad in the cheapest corner of town.  Known as the “Lakeside Area”, Phnom Penh’s … Continue reading

American Bombs (Luang Nam Tha, Laos)

At the crossroads – Trekking – Development Challenges – Luang Nam Tha – Laos’ Future, Past and Present – American Bombs I crossed the Mekong at dawn.  Instantly I felt the subtle differences between Thailand and Laos.  The pace of life was slow in Laos: the border guards had not yet stumbled into work when … Continue reading