Archive | November, 2015

Pretty Thai Girl?

29 Nov



Near the iconic Khao San Road

In Bangkok, as I laced up my sneakers for a run, I got mistaken for an ex-pat which was how I came to have the best time ever.  Three global Iranians, looking for green curry, who had moved to Sweden to pick up English and other bad habits, now dispersed across India, Germany, and Tasmania, met in Thailand for a visa-run, brought along a friend, and approached me for a dinner recommendation. I abandoned my jog, joined them on their quest, and didn’t leave their side for days 🙂


Proud to call you my friends

In the above photo we were either on our way to meet a famous German actor or again, to eat more green curry.


A bouquet of lotus flowers and Roomissa


The food is incredible.  Cheaper, tastier, and fresher.  “What does that do?”  “That keeps things fresh” “Well then that’s a fresh-er!”



North, for an entire month, to Chiang Mai


I took an 80 hour massage course, at the International School of Massage, where I became versed in the ancient art of foot reflexology.

And, I joined a really nice gym.


I started loosing weight. So, as a reward, I bought myself Magnum ice-cream!  Kidding (not really).  I tried to do that sparingly. Instead, I took myself shopping where I found these American flag shorts that I couldn’t afford not to buy (150 Thai Bhat).  They were discouragingly labeled as ‘large’. I thought my diet had been going well and I begged the shopkeeper to tell me they were mislabeled.  She shook her head, I was a large, she insisted, “an Asian large.”

I bought them anyway and, armed with red white and blue, I was ready when The French came to visit.


There’s V 🙂 Adding sugar and lime to the famous pancake

It was so much fun being with them.  Rare and comforting to spontaneously meet up with comrades from other parts of the world.  (Minus the briefest of injuries.) I let my guard down and had a vacation.


A lengthy motorbike trek over the river and through the woods.

I doubled my efforts at the gym after they left and met Kevin in the air-conditioning.  I decided not to post a picture of basketball watching in the middle of (what I’m sure was) the night, but let’s go Heat!!  I haven’t looked at Curry the same since.


After a false start due to the seriousness with which he pushed meditation on me, we became friends 

Thailand was exactly what I needed before heading back to America for the first time in a year and half; carnal pleasures while being annoyingly healthy and under budget. I used my time there as a literal retreat and I reckon I’ll be back to do the same.


These fish are more attentive than puppies


ka ka ka, memories from the Land of Smiles,


My ‘n Mar ‘n pictures

25 Nov

i can’t even express how hot I was


This country has been my hold-up.  This anti-climactic blog post is what has delayed my writing.

I was impressed.  Moved.  Anything I typed to convey how touched I was (am) by Myanmar’s outpouring of generosity and humble infrastructure seemed overemphasized, making a divine simplification of a profound experience.

I’m sharing my pictures, starting with Mandalay on a Tuesday:



Umbrella. Ella. Ella. Eh?



Riding in style. BYOLawnChair


The monks:


Giving food and money to monks will bring you health, prayers, luck, and a happy afterlife. These ones are lining up for donated lunch.


at school:  Every boy in Myanmar has to be a monk before the age of 18.  The commitment can be as short as several days.

The nuns!



these clothes did not go through the wash with a red sock


On Wednesdays we wear pink.


making clothes. Apparently real nuns do that too, not just Julie Andrews

Little Bagan:



I spent 70 hours on the train in my first 10 days.  Here are some views:


creepin’ on the nuns


creepin’ in general




Close the windows! The water festival.  So fun! So joyous!  Not ideal when you’re on the train.


painful wooden seats


attempting to find comfort



de-training for a respite.  The trains were often 5 hours late.  Why? Unclear.  Maybe a military officer asked for the delay so he could board?



An upper class train. Duya wanna take a nap?


buying corn out the window

In the end, I credit my 150 Myanmar words (more than any other country) to time on the train.  My least favourite being “I am sick.”


the medicine I licked off my filty, germy, nasty hands. It may have made me feel worse but it did endear this very loyal and kind man towards me.


The loo: No running water and that’s the ground through that hole.  I spent about 17 hours back and forth, getting to know this tiny space.


Asia sick.  The door wouldn’t latch and’d periodically fall open. humiliating.


what I tenderly referred to as my ‘window’

We arrived in the middle of the night, dark, in the rain, with a power outage.   Typical.  That kind man from the train helped me find a guest house to sleep in and a soaking wet bicycle ride to take me there. I collapsed and woke up 40 hours later feeling much, much better. If you happen to learn English and stumble upon this, good sir, I am still sending gratitude your way!

The food:


pretty sure they just reuse that plate of raw vegetables in the middle


Some parts were better than others.


Gravy in the middle.


you don’t even have to choose, they serve everything


those white flowers stood around with their petals and smells hanging lasciviously awaiting use for prayers, protection and for me, perfume


twee ya dah – one tha bah day. It means no worries for the rest of your days



With lighters hanging from the rafters, you’ll never need to ask yourself “Is this a smoking bar?”


drinking water on the road side

Indawgyi Lake was a highlight — I spent a week. But Inle Lake is where these photos are from.  I had a 10 hour boat trip with the locals, reinforcing my Myanmar, traveling from the southern tip (Loikaw Likeoh aye eh) to the northern tip, and ending with a trek in Kalaw.


she’s wearing sunscreen.  We all did.


Bridge. (You get it.)



The Boat House



I wasn’t going to go to Bagan, but I met a very charming set of Swedes.  Bagan. Bagoff.


Swede dreams are made of these.



Casual pose with an elegant one shoulder top. IMG_6930.JPGIMG_6928.JPG






Beautiful Myanmar:



playing games that i don’t understand


the wa(r)sh


Naypyitaw, the capital.  A lucky albino elephant.



Las Vegas Buddah




sleepy puppy


a delightful life makes time travel unnecessary



In an unrelated note, see the modern-day, cinematic masterpiece Cinderella! My bootleg copy is in Spanish o tu puedes emprestarla.

Snake pagoda:


one of the three revered pythons.  They bathe and feed them eggs everyday. Namaste.


super illegal, taking selfies with buddah

I recommend you go.  In what I’m going to loosely call paraphrasing, Alise, make it Your ‘n Mar.

A whole life, just like that one



14 Nov


I had heard it was going to be complicated to get to Burma but for over a year it had been my dream destination. “The people”, Seth said, “you must go”.  So I found a Burmese Embassy to visit in Kuala Lumper (on mainland Malaysia), and planned a time to purse the ministry in order to attain the document which would allow me 30 days of travel inside that majestic country.

The visa, a loaded words like abortion or taxes — Your paperwork must be in order, it’s time consuming, expensive, there are multiple kinds depending on where you’re from and how much money you have, and it’s wildly tempting to hire an expert instead of doing it yourself.

I allotted 3 weeks to court the consulate.

My train from Singapore arrived in Malaysia at 7am where, after spending several hours trying to exchange Australian dollars (which no one there had heard of) into ringgits (which everyone there had heard of), I headed to the embassy where I showed my ID, spent more time waiting than anything else, filled out paperwork, waited, presented paperwork, waited, left for the night, came back, took pictures, photocopied documents, printed documents, bought lunch around the corner, handed over my passport, paid, smiled, and waited.

Shockingly, the entire process took only 3 days and I gained approval for entry. I was elated!!  I felt like I had taken a dip but somehow managed to stay dry.  I decided to use the rest of my weeks exploring (and eating in) this Muslim country before heading to the land of Golden Pagodas.  I packed my backpack and my precious passport.  Here are a few pictures from my journey:


hot, sweet, traditional dessert.

It was mango season, for those of you who know what that means to me.  

Also, it was mango season. For those of those of you who know what that means to me.


Cool(ish) air, great outdoors, and all the tea leaves a girl could want.

I settled in the Cameroon Highlands for almost a week, hiking, writing, picking strawberries, catching bugs, running in the rain, learning about tea plantations, and visiting a moss forest (!).


White, green, and black tea all come from the same plant — the difference is when and how the leaves are harvested.


hitchhiked to a remote rock climbing spot (i.e. over grown)

I hitchhiked to a remote (read: overgrown) rock climbing spot, stayed in Kota Bharu, Malaysia’s most socially conservative city, dressed like a local but still didn’t fit in, caught a ride with a brave, single woman teaching maths at the local University, toured around with a friendly bloke who bribed a police officer to get out of a ticket, met the sweet, talented, champion yo-yoer, KJ in KL, (shout out to our link, Kim!), and showed off my Burmese visa for anyone who showed interest.

Yes, there has been a lag time posting this blog, I’m working on remedying that.

Adventures are forever,