Tibet – First Impressions (Lhasa, Tibet)

The most memorable aspect of Tibet is the sky.  The sky in Tibet is as blue and capacious as an ocean.  When I arrived in Tibet I felt as if I had landed on another planet, a magical land of brown hills hanging upside-down over the calmest of seas. I say the sky is simply … Continue reading

Couchsurfing in Lijang (Lijang, China)

Lijiang was far better than Dali.  Its old town was more charming and more authentic, and, once again, CouchSurfing had greatly enhanced my experience in Lijiang.  It was the first time I had actually surfed a couch, that is, the first time I had ever stayed with another CouchSurfer I had never met.  Until then, … Continue reading

Dilly Dallying in Dali (Dali, Yunnan, China)

I came to Dali for two reasons: to wander through its ancient cobbled streets and to relax in one of the fabled backpacker hangouts of Asia.  I was disappointed on both counts. My train arrived early in the morning and I caught a bus from the New Town to the Old Town, approximately ten kilometers … Continue reading

Hello! Bamboo! (Yangshuo, China)

The bus dumped me on the streets of Yangshuo at about five-thirty in the morning.  The roads were empty, and large limestone cliffs encircled the town and sheltered the buildings from the sunrise. I was exhausted.  My one-week bender in Hong Kong was tiring enough, but trying to sleep in the tiny metal shoebox on … Continue reading

Ballin’ on a Budget (Hong Kong)

Twelve hours later I emerged from the Metro in the middle of Hong Kong.   The city was modern, sleek, prosperous and energetic – it had that unmistakable electrifying buzz of a city that is on the move. Blackberry-toting businessmen and well-dressed women hurried around me as I tried to get my bearings amongst skyscrapers, BMWs … Continue reading

Welcome to China…Now Learn Mandrin! (Chinese Border)

I woke up as my bus reached the outskirts of Nanning in southern China.  My first impressions of China: characterless apartment buildings, shiny offices and bright blue road signs.  Construction was everywhere – cranes were erecting new buildings despite the economic crisis.  Everything was new.  The bus pulled off the newly paved highway onto a … Continue reading

Singapore Slingin’

500 miles from Singapore somewhere over the Gulf of Thailand I found myself in the lavatory dumping a bottle of Advil into the blue water of the airplane’s toilet. My around-the-world trip was about to begin, and I was really nervous.  The comfort of the airplane was the edge of my bubble of safety, and … Continue reading