Oct 022009
The "Pho 24" Quest of Ho Chi Minh City

My friend Kolajo’s mission directive was clear:

Locate and ingest the Pho at the famous Vietnamese chain, Pho 24, thus confirming or refuting that it deserves its title as Best Place to Eat Pho in the World (according to the recently published Guardian article).

I set out at noon, zinging with the thrill of Ho Chi Minh’s energy, refusing cyclo ride hawkers every three steps, and being absolutely, positively terrified of the traffic [...Read More!]

Oct 022009
Trust and Traveling: Enter Vietnam

“One dollar only to Pham ngo Lao,” the taxi driver said, holding open the taxi door. The blazing lights of Ho Chi Minh City ricocheted off the insane 9pm traffic next to the bus station, and I felt dizzy. “Perfect,” I moaned, staggering into the seat and pulling my backpack behind me.

“I am so glad to be off that bus!” I cried, leaning against the taxi’s soft interior. [...Read More!]

Sep 302009
Thoughts on Leaving Cambodia

I leave Cambodia feeling sad. I don’t feel sad to leave, but rather I am infused with a profound sadness from what I saw over the past ten days. I have much the same feeling as I did after living in Guatemala: the scars of recent history’s horrors are still bleeding through this country. And how could they not be?

Here are eight elements that will likely strike a [...Read More!]

Sep 302009
The Toxic Lake of Phnom Penh

There is a toxic lake at the heart of Phnom Penh. If you swim in it, your flesh may sizzle, or perhaps the effects will cancerously explode in a few years. Regardless, though naked children slide through the brownest rivers of the Cambodian side roads, there is not a soul amid the silvery waves of Boeung Kak Lake.

Naturally, this is where I spent my first night in Phnom Penh.

[...Read More!]

Sep 302009
Ways to get your hot self in photos when you're traveling solo:

Ponder: If you’re traveling alone, how do you get yourself in your photos? Here’s a buffet of options.

1. Hold that arm out, grin at the wobbling lens, then click! This usually eats about forty shots before more of your face than your top hair tuft appears in the resulting photo. Furthermore, your big honkin’ head will inevitably totally obscure the cool tourist attraction behind you. Hypothetically, if [...Read More!]

Sep 242009
Angkor Wat Temple Highlights!

Bayon… At first it looks like a mountain-sized pile of stones. Then you realize– holy heaven!– there are over two hundred faces watching you from every surface of the temple!! Look carefully at some of the photos or click to enlarge them. Can you see them looking back at you?

The four massive gates guarding the entrance to Angkor Thom complex also contain four faces looking outward in different [...Read More!]

Sep 242009
The people working-- and LIVING-- in and around Angkor Wat

His tiny form flitted past the hole in the stone wall so fast I thought he might be a forest spirit. But then there he was again: sparkling eyes, tiny body in a grubby orange shirt, barefoot… He disappeared again, and I was ten minutes further into the thick jungle path to the next temple when he materialized right beside me.“Hello lady!” he said with a smile. “This used [...Read More!]

Sep 242009
Mother Love: Angkor Wat, Part 2

Kiss! Kisskisskiss! Kiiiiissss!!

I spent a good two hours of the bus ride from Bangkok to Poipet gazing three seats ahead at the Cambodian mother kissing her sweet baby. Ahh, the flutter of my heart and the patter of that good old biological clock!

The mother would kiss all up and down the baby’s soft, pudgy arm, then go, “Mumumum!” as she nibbled up the tiny caramel-colored fingers. [...Read More!]

Sep 232009
Angkor Wat by Sunrise

At four thirty am, my cellphone alarm exploded me awake in my ridiculous supply attic room (pictured left– no joke).Was a torrential lightning storm going to foil my plans like yesterday morning? There are no windows in my supply attic room, so I padlocked the door and barefooted down to the second floor to peer out the grated balcony. Clear! Dark! This meant ten minutes to throw [...Read More!]