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New Year – Viet or Chinese Style

3 Feb
Happy year of the Cat - 2011

Happy year of the Cat - 2011

Don’t get in a fight now – it doesn’t really matter. Some call it Chinese New Year, some call it Vietnamese ‘Tet’.  Fact is that 3 February is new year on ‘this side’ of the globe. The Vietnamese celebrate the year of the cat, which for strange reasons, in the Chinese world it is the year of the rabbit. (something got lost in translation?) – pics below.

However, both of the new years involve lots of kitchy decorations, sporting either rabbits or kitties for 2011. Red envelopes are present everywhere, in the New Year trees (who said only christians decorated pagan trees ;-), in your pocket (if all goes well) and you should make sure red envelopes make it to the pockets of your relatives and friends. In a tourist city, like Siem Reap, where life never stops to vibrate, all of a sudden shops close (tough luck for the tourists) and bus prices double. Continue reading

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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:

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

Evacuation from Vietnam

15 Feb
Vietnam Airlines - planes from before the war...

Vietnam Airlines - planes from before the war...

I squeezed as much I could out of my Vietnam trip, and out of the time with my ex. But to all stories comes an end. My goodbye-honeymoon came to an end at the same time as my visa for Vietnam: 15th February. Valentine I spent together with my ex (not quite as expected: VIPs can read more here) so the 15th was the last day I could spend in Vietnam, with the Laos border closing at 17h. I had to get there at all cost – and indeed I had to fork out some money to get where I wanted to get – but got a lovely ride through the mountains in return for it – and a not so lovely ride into Laos … Continue reading

Funny Vietnam Pictures

14 Feb

Just like I bumped into many funny situations or saw interesting scenes in Cambodia (see Funny Cambodia Pictures), I also came accross many sights that made me smile in Vietnam.

. Continue reading

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14 Feb

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Hallucinating in Halong Bay

13 Feb

Halong Bay - the star attraction of Vietnam

Halong Bay - the star attraction of Vietnam

Halong Bay is a definite must if you’re anywhere near Vietnam (see pictures below). It is one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen on my trip so far (definitely on the same level with the Angkor temples, and Kep Lodge ;-) You basically check in on a jonk boat (for a day or two or three) and float around the carst rocks that rise from the tranquil Chinese Sea, in all kind of different formations. On the trip you’re served with a meal of seafood on board, and drinks you can add yourself as many as you like, which we did ;-) We were lucky with the weather, as it is often foggy out there, so we were sunbathing on deck while taking in the scenery.

On the trip you can stop to visit some nicely lit caves and play the ‘You See What I See’ game with the tour guide, imagining different statues and scenes in the stalactites and stalagmites. Or Continue reading

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