Page 3 of Drinkthewater Travel Blog Posts


Middle East » Jordan » South July 6th 2009

Indiana Jones never seemed to spend much time scrubbing toilets. I don’t think he ever even had the pleasure of a roommate who smokes in a room in which you can’t open the windows, although it’s probably fair to say that he didn’t have Internet access either. I mention Indiana Jones for much the same reasons that I mentioned Borat in the blog about Kazakhstan - you’re all thinking about it, and every time I say something about going on an archaeology dig, particularly somewhere so close to Petra, someone says “blah blah Indiana Jones blah blah blah” much like every time I said something about going to Kazakhstan someone said “blah blah Borat blah blah blah”. So the archaeology “dig” which I’d sort of planned my travels around has finally begun. We received very little ... read more
Wadi Araba
Rishah
Rishah

Middle East » Syria » South » Damascus July 4th 2009

Once upon a time, in a land far, far, away, a young Jewish fundamentalist was heading up to Damascus to kill other Jews for not believing in their God in the right way. Everybody needs a hobby. While on the way there, he was suddenly struck blind by a bright light from God himself and heard a voice telling him that he had it all wrong. He was so impressed by this that when he got his sight back he immediately changed his name by one letter, to “Paul” (as in “St Paul”) and began to travel the known world preaching the Christian message of intolerance and self-loathing. This is where we today get the phrase “A road to Damascus experience”. Thankfully nothing like this happened to me on the road to Damascus when I went ... read more
Damascus
Damascus
Damascus

Middle East » Turkey » Mediterranean » Antakya June 16th 2009

If you want a country has nice scenery, diverse cultures and beautiful scenery, and is easy to get around, while not being as expensive as Europe or Australia, you should all go to Turkey. I think I was lucky to be there in May/June, as it’s been nice weather (bordering on the hot) but the more out-of-the-way places have not yet been overrun by German or Russian sun-seekers. It’s not quite the sort of place I wanted to travel, so I’m not totally disappointed to be heading into Syria now (probably there, or left, by the time you get this), but that’s partly my fault for sticking to the tourist trail most of the time. So in the last blog I’d pretty thorougly explored Istanbul. Here’s a brief overview of the next week (the past week ... read more
Selçuk
Selçuk
Selçuk

Middle East » Turkey » Marmara » Istanbul June 4th 2009

Turkey is a nice place for a holiday. Of course I try to avoid “nice” places, but it’s a nice change for a bit. It’s easy to travel in, at the moment it has lovely weather, the people are friendly, and in the tourist areas everyone speaks English and probably German and a few other languages. Reading the maps and guidebooks feels strange to me because you can’t help bumping into somewhere famous. There’s so many places which are of course used as settings for God’s bestselling novel (not bad for a first work, but the sequel was disappointing), and historically it seems to have been the hangout for people with cool names, like Suleiman the Magnificent, who obviously had a better PR guy than Selim the Grim. I don’t know about you, but if I ... read more
Istanbul
Istanbul  -  Kenedy Caddesi
Istanbul - Ataturk statue

Asia » Kazakhstan » Oral May 24th 2009

So I failed in my attempt to get from East Timor to Jordan without flying. I was so close, in fact I was even in Europe. The city of Oral in far northwest Kazakhstan is west of the Ural river, and so is considered part of Europe. In Russian it’s “Uralsk”, but in English it’s usually called after the Kazakh, “Oral”. I went as far as Oral, but I was hoping to go all the way to Kiev. And from there it would have been easy to get buses or the ferry down to Turkey and from there through Syria into Jordan. Anyway. I left off the last blog in the small town of Turkistan. I got on that train fine, I arrived with plenty of time to spare. I didn’t have much food with me, ... read more
Oral - park
Oral - Church

Asia » Kazakhstan » East Kazakhstan » Almaty May 24th 2009

In an effort to avoid my normal boring titles, I was going to title my blog “Kazakhstan is nice”, and then after a few days I was going to title it “Kazakhstan has a veneer of niceness”, but I was already sick of people making the Borat references, so I decided not to reference that film at all and instead go with the title from the Beatles song which got stuck in my head. In his book “In Search of Kazakhstan”, which I mention here in my attempt to sound more literate than I actually am, Christopher Robbins talks about how in conversation with one of his friends he made the politically correct point that Sacha Baron Cohen (“Borat”) would probably never have even felt that it was OK to pretend to be from Germany or ... read more
Almaty
Almaty
Almaty

Asia » China » Xinjiang » Urumqi May 20th 2009

I was pleasantly surprised that the train journey only took about 40 hours, rather than the 44 I was expecting. This time I had a “hard sleeper” with a middle bunk - in the hard sleeper compartments they cram the bunks in three deep. So the train ride from Beijing to Urumqi was much more comfortable than the one from Guilin to Beijing had been. Still the beds were very small (almost exactly the same width as my hips) and being on the middle bunk there was nowhere save to put my day-pack in which I keep all my valuables such as my computer, money, and passport. So at night I slept with it like a hard, blue, smelly, teddy bear. There was space for my big backpack of course so that was alright. On my ... read more
Train ride
Train ride
Train ride

Asia » China » Beijing May 10th 2009

I’m a bit rushed today so hopefully I don’t miss any of the bits. I’d already written the first part, about Dongyue temple, so that should be OK. I’m leaving for Almaty tomorrow (Monday), so not sure how often I’ll have Internet access after this. I uploaded more photos but Travelblog is still buggy, and I don't have time to do it again ... there were a about two shots of Tiananmen square that've gone missing, and about four of the Great Wall, but I guess there's enough of those to keep you happy. Now most religions are weird. Christianity, with its story about a talking donkey, and the virgin birth, is weird; Judaism, with its belief in a talking donkey and its dietary laws, is weird; Islam with its belief in a talking donkey, genies, ... read more
Beijing - Sanlitun
Beijing - Sanlitun
Beijing - Sanlitun

Asia » China » Beijing May 1st 2009

My allergies were back again. Not as bad as in Bangkok, so they didn’t make me look strange, but I woke up in the night in Yanshuo with my whole back driving me crazy with itching and with large welt-like rashes on it again. It made it hard to sleep, so I dug around in my first-aid kit and found some of the left-over anti-histamines, the ones the first Bangkok doctor prescribed me and the second doctor told me to not take, and fell straight back to sleep, probably because they’re the ones that cause drowsiness. The same thing happened the second night. I mainly ate pretty boring Western food, so I don’t think it’s anything I ate. I feel like I’ve become allergic to mosquitoes, is that possible? Anyway, there’s no Mosquitoes here in Beijing, ... read more
Yangshuo
Yangshuo
Yangshuo

Asia » China » Guangxi » Yangshuo April 23rd 2009

For those who got an earlier message about the lack of photos - I've now managed to upload them (and deleted the ones which Travelblog in its wisdom thought it would be nice to upload twice, without giving us an easy way to delete photos), so you should see some photos. Because it's such a hassle doing it about four times, I haven't put much in most of the captions. So I arrived in Hanoi at about 04:30 a.m. I’d decided to stay at the Hanoi Backpackers, which was a bit of a mistake. When you’re off the beaten track, those sort of backpackers are filled with interesting people, but when you’re on the backpacker trail as Hanoi is, they’re filled with kids who all look the same except sometimes their backpacks are different colours. As ... read more
Train from Saigon to Hanoi
Train from Saigon to Hanoi
Hanoi




Tot: 0.335s; Tpl: 0.012s; cc: 15; qc: 99; dbt: 0.0967s; 99; m:apollo w:www (50.28.60.10); sld: 3; ; mem: 6.8mb