Tag Archives: traffic

Making my Home at Home

23 Jul
It's in the little things you notice that someone else is living in your appartment

It's in the little things you notice that someone else is living in your appartment (indeed, the pink shoes are NOT mine ;-)

When I arrived back to Brussels after a month in laid-back Portugal, I got a city-shock. I had forgotten there were so many people, traffic, pollution, noise, etc. I think I’m ready to move out of the city – but where to? As a test I’m setting up camp at my mum’s place in the countryside, because I rented out my apartment in Brussels for the duration of my sabbatical year. And then we’ll have a look in which quaint village there’ houses for sale.

Continue reading

Someone is hiding Taal Volcano

30 May
Not easy getting there with Manila traffic...

Not easy getting there with Manila traffic...

Have you ever heard of Taal Volcano, one of the 16 dangerously active volcanoes in the world? Well, I went down to see how dangerous this volcano situated in the middle of Taal lake really was. But I can’t really tell, because we could hardly see the monster in the thick mist. I guess the rainy season in the Philippines has started ;-(

Nevertheless, the outing to Tagaytay was a nice escape from the cars, concrete and congestion of Manila. Once we got to Tagaytay we were driving through pineapple and banana fields and stopped for a bit of fruit shopping on the way – deliciously fresh and sweet. I’ll never be able to eat the exotic fruits in Belgium anymore after these delicacies… Continue reading

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

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!

I found Paradise

19 Feb
Muang Ngoi - the view from my bamboo hut...

Muang Ngoi - the view from my bamboo hut...

Stop looking – I found it. Paradise is called Muang Ngoi Neua, and is hidden on the bank of the Nam Ou river in Northern Laos. Muang Ngoi is a loooooovely little riverside village, tucked away between towering lush green karst mountains. The village basically consists of one street, which is dotted with quaint guesthouses, makeshift shops and open air restaurants. One the North side of the street there’s a Buddhist temple, with drum tower and monk quarters and all. The other side of the street bumps into a karst mountain.

The people here are very laid back and seem to enjoy the symbiosis with the foreigners. They can make a living selling their wares, but they also enjoy the tourist grub they provide, when I see some locals munching away on pancakes or other tourist food. Continue reading

Back in Time to Laos

15 Feb
I made it to Laos - barely

I made it to Laos - barely

I have to say that my first impression I got of Laos is probably not the most representative image – coming into the country via the ‘back door’. The Dien Bien Phu border crossing only opened about a year ago, and besides the bus that goes 3 times per week, and the occasional lost Vietnamese car I guess nobody uses this border crossing.

So when walking across the border, it was clear straight away Continue reading

Ha Noi hustle and bustle

11 Feb
Ha Noi old town

Ha Noi old town

(more pics later) Even though Ha Noi is the capital of Viet Nam, it is and feels smaller than Sai Gon. It was clear from talking to some people that the two cities (as well as the North and South of the country) compete with each other: which is the biggest, who has the best food, etc. The north has pink cherry blossoms for the Vietnamese New Year, the south swears by yellow peach blossoms.

We were lodging in a nice hotel in the Old town, with small winding streets and alley ways and thousands of shops and restaurants spilling out on the side-walks (see pictures below). This means that the motorbikes are half parked on the street, so the pedestrians walk on the street, together with lots of cyclos (taxi bikes) hunting down tourists. This then doesn’t leave lots of space for the zillions of motorbikes and the cars moving around. Having said this, Continue reading

Super-Sonic Saigon

25 Jan
A tiny portion of traffic in Sai Gon

A tiny portion of traffic in Sai Gon

Remember the structured traffic chaos I described in Cambodia? Multiply this by ten, and you get an idea about the traffic in Sai Gon. Or should I say Ho Chi Minh city? Many of the places in Vietnam have several names: dating back from the ‘old days’, from the French colonial period or from the communist (current) era – just to make understanding & traveling easier ;-) Add to that a few accents (meaning, completely different pronunciation and meaning) to every vowel, and you’re completely lost. But Sai Gon definitely had its charm, all done up in the New Year looks, and holding onto a hunk shooting through traffic on the back of a motorbike…

Are there enough accents ?

Are there enough accents ?

Traffic… I thought I’d seen it all in Phnom Penh, but Saigon beats it by large. The large bulk of traffic are not cars, not buses, but motorbikes and mopeds. It’s like dropping a handful of marbles in your bathtub, they all jump frenetically into different directions, bumping into each other, but still arriving where they should be. Continue reading

Protected: Again, again and again…

22 Jan

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How to survive Traffic in Cambodia

9 Jan
Bus driver's universe...

Bus driver's universe...

Yep, something simple and mundane as traffic deserves a chapter on its own in Cambodia. It is inspired by the Darwin principle of ‘Survival of the fittest’ but also by Tao’s ‘live and let live’. Bottom line is that you should forget any traffic rules you ever learnt and start all over again.

The roads in Phnom Penh are a superb example of organized chaos, or of chaotic harmony if you want. Basically everybody goes and drives where they want to. So how come nobody crashes into each other?

  • See also youtube video: I challenge you to find out which side of the road they drive in Cambodia,  and who has priority over whom at this crossing… Continue reading
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