Santar’s Home

Journeys within Journeys. Two of us on hired motorcycles, up somewhere near Laos’ border with China, with a handwritten note we can’t read. Two of us tootling about on New Year’s Eve, looking for Max’s mom. Seeing a group of women sunning themselves outside a small shop, I stop the bike and head over, bowing slightly…

The Luck Tour

“You mean that’s it? I feel cheated!” That’s Dominique reaching the top of the forested mountain pass after 2597m of altitude gain over a 22km sustained climb in cold, drenching rain. A happy Dominique. The very same one that whined to Facebookland not two weeks earlier: “Unfitness. It’s a Thing. Not just mere Lack of…

Dreams Afloat

This week, on what was a normal schoolnight in the Western world, we lit candles under a full moon and, with thoughts of future, sent scented flower rafts on a downstream Mekong journey. The festival of Loi Kratong takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month of the lunisolar Buddhist…

Northern memories

The steely spitfire glint of a prosthetic leg under hard labour winks at me roadside as I speed by, faffing with my camera mount and missing the moment. The sheen of black, pin-striped satin beneath a large gingham umbrella… In the dust as I pass, my mirror reflects an earnest man, bespectacled, clad in that formal suit…

They do get around. Yes, they do.

What is Bradley up to? The project that Bradley is working on here in Vientiane is at the ‘stakeholder consultation’ stage, in which he and his ITDP (Institute for Transportation Development Policy) colleagues take the plans to each ‘ban’ or village/suburb within the city to discuss what they envisage, and to find out people’s concerns….

Contentment

The rains have come.  After weeks of progressive heat that had become wearying to body, soul and the aircon electricity bill, cool and calm are here. Respite from sweaty and sleepy. We sit in the trees, Bradley and I. In our tree house, our nest on stilts. An almost-all-open platform draped in the frond cloak…

Ridiculous

I step out of the hotel bathroom to find a naked man doing the sun salutation in the dark. “Dude, my tits hurt so bad,” he groans. Collapse. He stays sprawled, given up. “Do you think my arms look bigger yet?” It isn’t the yoga that has done Bradley in like this. It’s the push-ups…

Early days on the Mekong

It’s Sunday morning and the birds are singing. My world is still pink and green: candy-coloured mosquito nets and tree-filled windows. There’s a tall tail and a meow. Now I’m typing all contorted as the tail and its cat, jumped into my lap, compete with the keyboard and wifi for attention. Bill (yes, his name…

Rollin in the ROK – part 2

Despite my mother country’s best imperialistic efforts, not everyone in Korea wears red, white and blue or can speak English. In fact very few people can or desire to do either. This fact, and the fact that Korean writing characters are difficult to recognize for a mid-westerner who only got a passport when he was…