Nov 202009
Chuckle-ish Signs from Chiang Mai

It’s fun to mish and mush the English language and see what happens! For language-twisting lovers, it is a particular delight to ponder signs in foreign countries.

I was strolling in Chiang Mai’s hot sun for too long today, and after a while the local signposts began to conjure up hilarious scenes in my head. See if you giggle as much as I did at these examples, or if I [...Read More!]

Nov 192009
...And Then the British Lass Stole his Passport

(Note: This is a seedy, spicy, shocking story that happened a few weeks ago in Laos, which I am only now at liberty to recount. Be assured, though, that the end comes with a wholesome lesson. The accompanying photos are utterly unrelated (sorry, but I couldn’t really have photos of the folks in this sketchy story!), and were taken tonight at the gorgeous Night Bazaar in Chiang Mai, Thailand: my current [...Read More!]

Nov 172009
Recession Hideout? Moats and Disco Ball Walls in Chiang Mai!

Several folks have written with the following query:

“I’ve been laid off and am looking for an inexpensive, enjoyable place to weather the recession abroad. Got any thoughts?” Indeed I do, though it’s just a humble suggestion from four days here paired with numerous raves from other travelers: Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Why? Though not as postcard gorgeous and tranquil as Luang Prabang, Laos, and though not as crackling with energy [...Read More!]
Nov 172009
On Cabbages and Condoms

“Ew, miss,” said the straight-A student from the table across the classroom, “No one uses condoms anymore.”

“WHAT?!” I screamed, choking on my tea. “NO!!!”

The conversation had started innocently enough. Two sweet students had lingered after school to catch up on homework and (let’s face it) flirt with each other. The topic of our school’s endless teen pregnancies came up, and I began to inquire about current safer sex [...Read More!]

Nov 162009
It's a Photographic Objectification Party!

It was hour nine of day two on the Mekong river boat. I was deep into a crossword puzzle, lying half off my seat, feet high on the bench in front. Suddenly I heard a gasp.

“Psst, Lil!” hissed the eccentric Australian computer programmer, her hand on her heart, “That Korean guy has been secretly taking photos of your legs!”

I glanced back and the man hurriedly hid his camera and [...Read More!]

Nov 152009
Why Tropic of Cancer is Perfect Backpacking Literature

(Note: All photos accompanying this article are from the two-day Mekong Riverboat journey from Luang Prabang, Laos, to Huay Xai on the Thai border… including some serious elephant action at one pit-stop. Yeah, I have no idea why they were there, either, but they’re awesome!)

“Ah, I see you just finished “Tropic of Cancer”!” said Rebecca from across the aisle of the Mekong riverboat. “Shall we swap books? I’ve got [...Read More!]

Nov 142009
An Update on the Around the World Itinerary

Sheesh, folks, calm yourselves!

After posting my flight plan changes (staying in Southeast Asia until late December and postponing the Dubai/Turkey leg) I received a veritable barrage of flustered emails. Let’s answer some of the questions you posed to see if we can all soothe our souls a bit.

Q: “Why aren’t you going to Turkey or Dubai?? I really want to hear your perspective on those [...Read More!]

Nov 142009
The Heavenly Mekong Riverboat

I cursed foully when my friends electronically forced me to take the two day riverboat up the Mekong.

“You’ve taken every other form of transport!” hollered one chum. “Another bus would just be boring for us to read about.”

“Grr, then,” I grumbled, and fearfully hopped aboard.

Today, however, emerging from an absolutely delicious two days on the water, I bless you, oh prophetic souls, for your forceful mandate!

I HIGHLY recommend [...Read More!]

Nov 132009
I'm on a Boat! (from Laos to Thailand)

By the time you read this pre-programmed post, I will hopefully be deep into day two of a two-day long boat trip up the Mekong River to the Thai border.

I have heard both wonderful and bonkers reports of this journey, so I have very little idea of what to expect.

I do know that I’m supposed to bring water to drink, that my rump will hurt from sitting on the hard planks, [...Read More!]

Nov 122009
How Do You Know Where to Go?

For years, it has been my fantasy to be one of those columnists who dips into her mail pool to answer reader questions… and (dah da da DAH!) that day has finally come!

“Could you please tell me,” asked a kind reader, “How do you choose which places to visit? Do you have it all planned in advance? Do your plans change?”

Here is the multi-part answer, adorned in the background [...Read More!]