Hammocks and Noodle Soup

This is my first experience with the “sleeper bus.” These are double-decker buses with beds intended for sleeping on long rides, like the one I’m taking from Vientiane to Pakse, Laos. The dimensions seem to be designed for your average-sized Asian person, while most of the actual passengers are Westerners. I’m traveling alone and amContinue reading “Hammocks and Noodle Soup”

The Laotian Sun Sets on 2014

I can think of no better place to show up starving, famished even, than Luang Prabang, Laos. I have been traveling all day, winding up and down green mountains past beautiful scenery, and I’m really hungry. Nighttime in Luang Prabang is a smorgasbord. There are sandwiches on baguettes (the French-colonial vibe), soups, and down anContinue reading “The Laotian Sun Sets on 2014”

Inle Lake and Shan State

“YOU SEE BIRD” is printed (in English) on a sign next to Inle Lake where there is a bird sanctuary. I laugh to myself but I don’t think anyone else on the boat notices. The five of us have rented a long tail boat for the day, after negotiating with a man who approached usContinue reading “Inle Lake and Shan State”

Noodle Soup and a Few Laughs

The pre-colonial capital is overflowing with motorbikes, dust, and construction. The old palace, with its huge moat, sits monumental in the middle of a bustling and mostly monochrome cityscape. Temples and Pagodas stand out from the drab landscape. I find something about Mandalay charming. It’s dirty (though not like Yangon), noisy, and most of theContinue reading “Noodle Soup and a Few Laughs”

Ruined Temples and Smoking Drinking Spirits

I’m on top of an old temple, waiting around for the sunset with a bunch of German and French. About 20 minutes before, I am on top of a different temple, with a bunch of German and French. They are digging in early for the sunset views of Bagan. When the sun finally starts toContinue reading “Ruined Temples and Smoking Drinking Spirits”

Bustle and Dirt and Devout Buddhists by Way of a Bumpy Train Ride

My hotel in Mawlamyine arranges for my overnight bus to Yangon (Rangoon). It’s as easy as a phone call and a motorbike ride to the bus station: which is really just a dirt lot with some buses parked in front of a shop. While I wait I’m asked for my ticket several times and amContinue reading “Bustle and Dirt and Devout Buddhists by Way of a Bumpy Train Ride”