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Crossing People’s Paths

31 Mar
New Year in Phnom Penh

New Year in Phnom Penh

It is mind blowing the variety of people that you meet while traveling. It’s often in moments when I’m most down or sick and tired of traveling that I tend to bump into lovely or intriguing people… as if someone up there feels for me and sends some company around.

A little overview of the magnificent people I met:

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The Effect of Asia on a Westerner

27 Mar
Probably not all Asians are like this

Probably not all Asians are like this

So are you ready for gross generalizations? This post gives a little insight of what could happen to a Western traveler when hanging around (South East) Asia too long (or maybe for a short time as well ;-) Asia does strange things with your body and soul – and maybe those things are not so bad after all – they just help you put things in perspective and appreciate the ‘differentness’… (see also ‘the only white guy’ post)

It messes around with your mind

No, I’m not going crazy – I could survive here in South East Asia for a long time easily, but nevertheless being far away from home makes you think… (that’s also part of the reason to come here) Continue reading

Happy Massage in Siem Reap

11 Mar
goldenbanana-1

Golden Banana - my favourite

It was with mixed feelings that I was leaving Laos… Lao PDR (Please Don’t Rush) had a very calming effect on me. Life is simply slow here – no reasons (or even possibility) to rush (as you are limited and dependent on the one or two buses or boats a day anyway) – so it is the place to chill and go with the flow. But on the other hand there was Siem Reap waiting for me – and I knew Siem Reap – and it is a great place. I already had booked myself into my ‘usual spot’: the Golden Banana B&B, and they even kept my favourite room for me in the tower bungalow (3 levels above each other – so you are a bit away from the main paths…). And I discovered the wonders of Khmer massage – mmm.

It was quite a process in my head to Continue reading

Hijacked in Vientiane & Blessed by the Monks

7 Mar
Monsters and Monks in Vientiane

Monsters and Monks in Vientiane

This title already indicates contrast – just as Vientiane was for me. On the one hand the gay life went a bit wrong – and on the other side I got a religious overdose. I indulged in lovely luxury and western food – in a lovely laid back Loas setting.

Dates via the internet don’t always go as expected and can lead to tricky situations, nearly getting abducted. But to make up for all my sins I visited about a dozen temples, a magnificent mix between Disneyland and temple at the Buddha Park – and I even got the monks blessing (and a wet head because of the blessing water…) Continue reading

Kayaking down to Vientiane

5 Mar
Kayaking into town...

Kayaking into town...

I was on many buses, trucks, boats, cars, mopeds, bikes and planes already, but when I saw it was possible to kayak down the river from Vang Vieng to Vientiane, I definitely wanted to give this a go. It sounded a bit like ‘kayaking to work’ or ‘going shopping by kayak’ – never t-done that before. I basically just signed up in one of the travel agencies (after bargaining the price down to 170000 Kip (17 euro)). Going by bus would be half the price, but this would include lunch, company and fun (sort of).

Having bought into one of these activities also meant that I was going to be thrown together with other people that booked the same trip, which in itself is an interesting experiment. Continue reading

Vulgar Vang Vieng – Tubing or not?

5 Mar
This is tubing - better and lazier than a trek

This is tubing - better and lazier than a trek

I had planned to stay only a two or three days in Luang Prabang, but ended up staying 6 nights. LPB is a very pleasant city, nice to get lost in – and then I met nice people, and lost track of time. I definitely slowed down in my travels, not rushing around anymore. And “Lao PDR” (which stands for ‘please don’t rush’) has a very soothing effect – you just want to take things easy here…

But on the other side there is rough and rowdy Vang Vieng – a magnet for everybody that wants to get high – either on outdoor adrenaline adventures or on booze and happy shakes. Average age probably 22. I was veeeeery skeptical about going there and join in the tubing (see below) or kayaking experience, but then enjoyed it to the max!

Wedding – Laos style

1 Mar
Stealing the wedding show

Stealing the wedding show

What would we do without internet? It’s via the chat that I got to know this Lao friend and we hung out together when I was in Luang Prabang (more for VIPs here). One day he asks me if I’d be interested to come with him to a wedding of a high school mate of his. My first reaction was to decline, because I thought it would be a quite personal affair, so I didn’t want to party-crash the wedding banquet. But that’s not how it goes in Laos as you can read below.

I was quite curious though to see a wedding from up close, so it didn’t take a lot more of convincing for me to jump into this smile-arousing intercultural experience Continue reading

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