Page 2 of Jason Lupei Travel Blog Posts

North America » United States » New Mexico » Roswell July 26th 2011

7/25/11 Phoenix, Arizona Driving is Cathartic. This dawned on me while driving the 498 mile stretch from Long Beach to Paradise Valley (Phoenix) when I realized 300 miles in that I hadn’t been listening to any music or radio. I was lost in my thoughts, the desert scenery, my hopes for this trip. This first day really captured my intent for this journey. As far as travel is concerned, I want to see more of the U.S.—especially the landscape of this beautiful country. I felt driving across it would be the best way to achieve that goal. By the end of this trek, I will have driven through 16 states. I am doing this by myself, and participating in a 10-day silent Vipassana Meditation retreat because I want to take time to reflect on aspects of ... read more
Friends for 20 years
Welcome To New Mexico
White Sands

North America » United States » California » Los Angeles » Long Beach August 24th 2010

The Final Journal I am ready to be home--The ultimate DeMilitarized Zone. This journey has been a physical, mental and emotional rollercoaster. I am glad I took the ride, but I am ready to disembark. I am reminded of a scene in Bram Stroker's Dracula (1992), where Mina asks Dracula to "Take me away from all this death!” I too have been around it long enough. How fortunate that I am able to hop on a plane and make it all go away. Five weeks ago, I set out to explore the effects of war, and each day they became me. I have seen and heard such horror and found myself sinking into the dark corners of my mind. As I re-read my own travel journals, I see how the heaviness was building and weighing down ... read more

Asia » South Korea » Seoul August 23rd 2010

8/20 to 8/23/10 Seoul, South Korea If I was able, I would have ended my journey in Iraq or Afghanistan, but since that was not practical, I opted for Seoul, South Korea. I'm glad I did on so many levels. I was excited, first off, to visit the homeland of my good friend, Bill. I can see why he has such pride for his country. South Korea and her people are amazing and welcoming. I also wanted to investigate the Korean war (1950-53) via museums, sites and veterans. Lastly, with ongoing tensions between North Korea and the rest of the democratic world, I feel visiting the DMZ makes the purpose of this journey very current and even more relevant. I stayed in Itaewon per Bill's advice and discovered what has to be the gayest place in ... read more
At the Korean War Memorial
Korean Lock up
at Gyeongbokgung

Asia » Cambodia » South August 19th 2010

CAMBODIA Sihanoukville (8/16 +8/17/10) Phnom Penh (8/18 +8/19/10) For my final four days in Cambodia, I stayed in two different cities, the first of which was a beach city called Sihanoukville. I wanted to stop here because it was the last official U.S. battle of the Vietnam War (even though it was in Cambodia). I learned three things in Sihanoukville : 1) There is no memorial or museum to commemorate the last battle (or any battle) of the Vietnam War 2) I am not the oldest solo male traveler. There are a whole slew of them here; all white and middle-aged or beyond and... oh yah... 3) They're pretty much all paedophiles. I have renamed Sihanoukville--paedophile beach. John and I sat on the beach the first day and were unable to relax and enjoy the surrounding ... read more
At S-21 prison
Shrine at the Killing fields
The killing fields

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap August 15th 2010

Siem Reap, Cambodia August 11-15, 2010 Siem Reap is a combination of one of my least favorite places in Asia and one of my most treasured. When I went to Bangkok, Thailand three years ago, I was disgusted and saddened by the paedophilia, prostitution and use of children as beggars. These are the same things that turn me off from Siem Reap. Walking down the street, I am offered lady boom boom, girl boom boom, lady-boy boom boom, Marijuana, opium and cocaine at least every five minutes. It is worse in some of the late night clubs. Being a male traveling by myself makes this happen a lot more than when I am with Christine. Inbetween these offers, I have been hit up by children acting as beggars and salespeople, while their parents or pimps sit ... read more
Dr. Fish
Monks going to worship
Enigmatic Faces

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast » Thua Thien - Huế » Hué August 10th 2010

August 9-10 My journey as a whole is more than halfway over, while my time in Vietnam has come to a close. In my final couple days, I got the heck out of Dong Ha to spend my last full day in Hue. Hue has SO much culture and even better food, so I took a bus there right after my DMZ tour. I learned some smaller bus stations do not sell tickets to foreigners, which allows the operators to charge six times what everyone else pays. I threw a bit of a fit and almost used my two favorite Viet sentences ("I am crazy" and "I am Satan Hooker") but was able to get the price down to only double the normal value without going there. I was comfortable in my seat with the luggage ... read more
Golem II
Gecko, meet Giant bug

Asia » Vietnam » North Central Coast » Quang Tri » DMZ August 9th 2010

8/8/10 to 8/9/10- Dong Ha Cab ride from Hoi An to Danang... 50 Minutes Bus Ride from Danang to Dong Ha... I'm already starting to block the memory. Four hours. It seemed like I was going to get my own row and be nice and comfy, but the busses here drive around town until they fill it up. After 45 minutes of roaming the streets, our "bus" (which is actually a van), was filled to capacity (or so I thought), and was on its' way to Dong Ha. I thought 16 people (four per small row) was plenty, but every twenty minutes or so, the bus matron would slide open the door, shout in Viet and more people came running to our bus. She would cram their cargo under our feet and pack them on the ... read more
At a bunker in Khe Sanh
The Rockpile
Ho Chi Minh Trail

Asia » Vietnam » South Central Coast » Quảng Nam » Hoi An August 7th 2010

8/6/10 and 8/7/10 Hoi An and My Lai I have a two-fold purpose in Hoi An; one is to meet with Phong, a Vietnamese war veteran, the other is to visit My Lai, site of a village massacre during the war. Mr. Phong 8/6/10 I learned about Phong during my Mekong Delta trip in Saigon. Two British girls recommended him to me and I tracked him down at a restaurant in Hoi An. I visited Phong's home along with a young German couple and an even younger Polish couple. Phong and his wife were quite sweet and gracious; very hospitable. He gave us a lot of history about Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh and his own experiences relating to communism and life in Vietnam before and after the war. Like many families, his was divided, with uncles ... read more
Phong Telling about bombings of his village
One of the most famous photos from My Lai
My Lai Memorial

Asia » Vietnam » South Central Coast August 5th 2010

Nha Trang (8/3/10) Danang (8/4/10) Hoi An (8/5-7/10) I am sitting at a bar/cafe in Hoi An, Vietnam called Treat Cafe. My current treat is the host/waiter incorrectly belting out the lyrics to Hotel California in broken English. Another treat is the jumbo Larue and Saigon beers from 10,000 dong (which translates to about 60 cents). But probably the biggest treat is appreciating being here on this journey. I must admit, however, that the last three days have been the loneliest so far, and I am taking a moment to be with that-- crying a little, smiling a lot and finding and appreciating beauty by myself. I once wrote in college, "To truly be alone is to find a beautiful leaf and have no one to share it with." I had six at the time. I ... read more
China Beach
The Narrow Streets of Hoi an
Sunset on the river In Hoi An

Asia » Vietnam » Central Highlands » Lam Dong » Da Lat August 2nd 2010

8/2/10-Dalat The night bus dropped us off in the middle of Dalat at 5 am. We expected forests or jungles in the hillside, instead we were in a sleepy city without any green in sight. Our initial response was disappointment. We parked ourselves at the only open tea stand and waited until the hotels opened. Once established, we considered our gameplan. Our hotel was the hangout of "the Easy Riders", a group of vets who serve as motorcycle guides to the forest/jungle areas of Dalat. On my first trip to Vietnam, I was both a driver and passenger on motorcycles across the northern countryside. But something was telling me NOT to do this excursion. I don't know if it was the weather, or my weariness from the night bus, but I had a gut instinct that ... read more
Riding an elephant at Elephant Falls
Me at Elephant Falls
Big White Budda

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