Oct 132009
 
Dragonfruit, Road Hellos, and Homework Toiletpaper

The road wove on through Vietnam’s Central Highlands. Inside the misty blue plastic bag strapped atop our backpacks, I could vaguely make out a spiny magenta shape. What was it? Lulu stopped the motorcycle at a mountain cafe and pulled it out, wiping the condensation from its plastic cage: DRAGONFRUIT.

How is this fruit not the rockstar of all food in all the world? It is ravishingly sexy [...Read More!]

Oct 132009
 
Central Highlands 3: Ethnic Minority Villages

In the Central Highlands of Vietnam, there are thirty-one different “Ethnic Minority” villages. In the Americas, we refer to these groups as Indigenous Peoples. Each of these Ethnic Minorities in Vietnam speaks its own language, has its own customs. Each has very little to do with Vietnamese country or city life.

As Lulu put it, “Ethnic Minority don’t like Vietnamese to be near. If Vietnamese move close, Ethnic Minority [...Read More!]

Oct 132009
 
Vietnam’s Central Highlands 2: Greenly GORGEOUS

For the second half of the second day on the road, Lulu and I wove slowly up, up, up and through the lush green mountains of Vietnam’s Central Highlands.

To clarify, I cannot drive a car, and I sure as heck cannot drive a motorcycle. I was on the back of Lulu’s machine, letting the expert of nine years (and over 150 such journeys) do the put-putting for both of us. [...Read More!]

Oct 132009
 
Across Vietnam's Central Highlands, Part 1 Holy sweet heaven and earth. After four days on motorcycle and foot through the Central Highlands of Vietnam, I am ridiculously thankful for the experience and the new understandings gained, and ridiculously happy to now be in Nha Trang, showered, reuniting with old-new friends, and chilling the heck out.

After the initial day of test-driving the motorcycle through Dalat’s immediate surroundings, Lulu and I strapped our packs onto the [...Read More!]

Oct 122009
 
The Wormy Side of Silk Creation!

Worms, silk. Silk, worms. You don’t realize how weird a combination this is until you see the dirty, bug-filled process it takes to birth the regal material!

Dalat, Vietnam has a number of silk factories, and it is absolutely worth it to tour one. The moment Lulu and I walked through the dusty doors of the building, I started gasping.

Come along on the amazing tour of captions for each photo!Top Left: A [...Read More!]

Oct 112009
 
A Tip on Tall, Skinny, Cheap Hotels

Please Note: If your hotel looks like this (a tall, skinny number with rooms stacked five flights up around one central spiral staircase), the sound WILL echo up from the lobby and into your small barred window with no glass.

Furthermore, there will also be in the lobby, at all hours of the night, one or both of the following: 1) Australian tourists loudly discussing their plans for tomorrow, or, 2) The [...Read More!]

Oct 102009
 
The $10 Tour Around Fascinating Dalat

What can you get for ten dollars and seven hours in Dalat, Vietnam? Sheesh– what CAN’T you get? Check out all the amazing and bizarre sights…

1. Linh Phuoc Pagoda: There’s a massive roaring dragon sculpture and two golden beasties making googly eyes at you! What’s not to love? Walk around the back and see that Mr. Dragon’s tail undulates up and down through the pools of water. Then up the stairs, [...Read More!]

Oct 102009
 
Essential and Useless Travel Gear

After two months on the road, voyaging from Boston to California, to Japan, to Southeast Asia, which gear has proven to be the most and least useful? What should YOU consider packing if you’re planning a long-term trip, particularly to the Developing World?

1. A medium-sized travel backpack (non-wheeled!) which zips more than halfway open (not top-load) and which fits in an airplane overhead bin. I almost splurged on a [...Read More!]

Oct 092009
 
The Bumpy Bus from Mui Ne to Dalat

Busty travelers of the world: strap on your triple strength sports bras before attempting the passage from Mui Ne, Vietnam, to Dalat! And if you’ve got back problems, hoo boy! Better bring a rigid brace and some Advil.

For the five hours from Mui Ne, our small bus jolted and banged along the rocky road, twisting around mountains and overlooking mist-shrouded green vistas. When a particularly ominous stretch of [...Read More!]

Oct 082009
 
Sankara: The Forefront of Mui Ne’s Evolving Face

There is a place in this world for true beauty, and truth be told, I have a massive crush on Sankara. Walking into Mui Ne’s newest venue, you gasp in awe and your heart passionately races. You have the urge to whip out a camera and photograph every billowing white drape, every sensual pool of water, every soft shift of rainbow lights against the palm trees. With [...Read More!]