In this Mekong Delta town on the southern tip of Vietnam for the night. Have to catch an early ferry to Phu Quoc in the morning. A carnival-esque atmosphere prevails. Drunk Vietnamese men make soot-soot noises at girls. I walk the musical streets with food on my mind. The strategy, as always, is point and hope for the best.
A world of commerce comes to life at sunrise in Cai Be, on Vietnam’s Mekong River.
Those of us who live in Ho Chi Minh City get overwhelmed by filth and noise sometimes. Can Tho is a lovely city about fours away by bus where you can go to fill up on clean air, streets and food on weekends. It’s also a gateway to the rest of the Mekong Delta.
First published at Rebelle Society
About three years ago, I was at possibly the lowest point in my life.
A choice lay in front of me—give in to overwhelming negativity and become the kind of person I don’t like, or fight my way out with love and light. I remember the exact moment I chose the latter.
Since then, I’ve sought to maintain a perspective of positivity. At first, it was easy. I was so grateful for having avoided a precipice that I found something to celebrate in every day. I kept gratitude journals. I tried to see the good in every person and situation. I read all kinds of inspirational literature.
Lately though, I’ve come to realize that positive living is not all rainbows and bunnies…
I’ve been living here for about three months now but I still feel like a newcomer. I don’t speak the language (except for a few basic words) and I don’t really know where anything is. So I was very happy when some of my students invited me out on the holiday last Friday.
I got to tag along with my friend Stephen, who is an actual wildlife photographer, as he went down the Nariva Swamp and into the forest of the Bush Bush Wildlife Sanctuary. He pointed out species of trees, insects, fungi and plants that I’d never seen, before we came upon troupes of raucous red howlers and friendly capuchins. I wasn’t able to identify everything so please help me with those I missed.
First published at Matador Network
When I told my friend Rock I was leaving for Japan, he told me to cut all ties with everything I knew. Rock had, some time ago, left to wander around the Middle East for a while. This career-interrupting retreat of self discovery I’d flung myself into is not uncommon in my circle of friends. Forgo a phone and internet, he advised, and get deep down inside yourself. I had no intention of following this advice but, it turned out that getting deep down inside myself was something I couldn’t avoid.
If you ever have the chance to pass through central Laos, you really should do The Loop – a 500 km motorbike ride through some stunning and remote places. It takes 2-4 days. We did it in three.
First published at Tsuki Magazine
It’s December and rural Japan through a train window is a blurry painting in primary colors. Hazy blue mountains fence in perfect rows of dark green tea. Gold mikan oranges hang heavy from their branches – a thousand little suns born in the bleakest time of year.
First published at Trinidad Express
It’s a biting autumn night in a wild section of Tokyo called Roppongi. Some folks from the Caribbean are standing around outside a small club. They watch as a line of Japanese men, heads wrapped in red, white and black handkerchiefs, carry tenor pans into the building.
When I first got here, I was staying in the shady backpacker section and sharing a bathroom with some guy who didn’t understand that there are only certain acceptable places to pee. I was overjoyed, therefore, when I found a place I love after spending a lot of time on craigslist. It’s a one-bedroom serviced apartment in a regular Vietnamese neighborhood about half hour from downtown.
These are not caricatures. I often see travelers wandering into Buddhist temples wearing hot pants and strappy little tops. I think you have to be completely self-absorbed to be that oblivious.
takes place in just about every Asian country I visit:
Friendly local: Where you from?
Me: Trinidad and Tobago.
Friendly local: Canada?
Friendly local: Ca-na-da
Me: It’s a small country in the Caribbean. You know, like Pirates of the Caribbean? (arrrrr)
Friendly local: Mmm. I know. Canada very cold. You play the ice hockey.
24 hours of cramped, toiletless hell. If you want to go overland from Vietnam (Hanoi) to Laos (Vientiane), this site has pretty accurate information. If you don’t want to end up like me, running out to pee behind buildings and on the side of the street in desperation (there are no actual toilet breaks in the whole 24 hour trip!), please make sure you go on the days when the buses with toilets are available. The scenery after you cross the border into Laos is worth the long ride.