WHERE THE HELL IS JOHN D?
Points to Ponder:
Even change for the worse is preferable to no change at all. Tom Robbins.
When I listen to a person denigrating others, I judge the speaker
. Let's hope everyone does. [Never judge someone by the opinion of another.
Better to judge the opinion-giver.]
A major source of misery is wanting things that contradict each other.
In the Vedas it's said, "Truth is One, but sages call it by many names."
Some of us prefer illusion to despair.
My first trip outside of Canada was in 1966. I had just started university. Four of us decided to take a winter-break to Florida so we piled into a car and headed south. Accommodation involved four big guys sleeping in the car or one renting a motel room and the others sneaking in. As we got to the southern states we noticed the segregated restaurants, we noticed the the "foreign" southern accents and they noticed ours. The old lady running a "mom 'n pops" hesitatingly admitted she never heard of Canada. I still remember seeing my first palm tree. In Miami Beach we needed a place to stay that we could afford. Certainly we could afford a room where-ever this fellow I saw pushing a shopping cart was staying. I talked to him and he took us there. It turned out to be a fair place where the land-lady had supplied a room out of charity to the fellow. He had some interesting stories of his early life. We had some interesting things happen on that trip and it planted a travel-seed that hasn't stopped growing.
The migratory instinct is older than humanity. Tom Robbins
I'll know where I'm going when I get there.SCROLL DOWN TO SEE BLOGSCLICK ON ANY PHOTO TO ENLARGE
November 28th 2012
LOGISTICS re: VISA RUN TO LAO DPR (LAOS): http://youtu.be/HiZ0oElc014 click on link to see VIDEO OF BOAT ON MEKONG RIVER BE SURE TO SCROLL TO FOLLOWING PAGES TO SEE ALL PHOTOS (32) Time again for a run to the border to renew my visa. I've been to Laos a long time ago but only the capital city of Vientiane. The place has gotten very popular with backpackers and also tour groups, mostly French, visiting their former colony. The bus from Chiang Mai to Chiang Khong on this side of the Mekong River, leaves twice a day. I took the 8:30am bus which stops for half an hour at Pha Yeo before arriving at Chiang Khong about 3:30pm. Hotels here range from $6 to $10 depending on the distance you are to the immigration point and boat ... read more
October 18th 2012
It's the end of the summer and HAT thinks this is his last season. He wants to visit his homeland. CLICK ON ANY PHOTO TO ENLARGE NOTE: TWO PAGES OF PHOTOS MEXICO: We (HAT and I) flew to Cancun, a city which quickly proved to be a disappointment in having developed into a tourist destination. Accommodation here wasn't cheap but by booking online you could save 25%. To be fair, for the same price I paid in Toronto for a rough dormitory bed I managed to get a top notch hotel room in Cancun. There was an overnight bus south along the Yucatan coast into Belize. This seemed to be a good entry to Central America. An exit fee of $25 is charged to leave Mexico. This is not to be paid if you've been in ... read more
April 25th 2012
BANGKOK-KOLKATA-VARANASI-KHAJURAHO BE SURE TO VIEW ALL FOUR VIDEOS ABOVE Well its visa-run-time again. This together with Songkran celebrations coming up in Chiang Mai and a cheap Air Asia promotion to Kolkata, (Callcutta to us old-timers) bekoned a short jaunt to India. Air Asia can offer cheap flights but then they nickel and dime you with the extras (like check-in baggage / water). I brought only the allowable 7 kg carry-on and a laptop. The first time I went to India was on my way home from a year round-the-world sabattical in 1980. "Sabbatical" is a much better way of saying, "after a year of goofing off". And that time I also used Kolkata as a gateway to India. I've been there a few times since, the last time was in... read more
February 24th 2012
Panorama View Above: Chinese Temple near Chiang Mai. At the Borsang Umbrella Festival, a few kilometres east of Chiang Mai, not only do they hand paint the fans and umbrellas but they'll also hand paint decorations on your T-shirt, jeans, cell phone or in my case (see photo) eyeglass case. See blog of January 2010 for video and photos of Borsang Umbrella Festival in a previous year at http://www.travelblog.org/Asia/Thailand/North-West-Thailand/Chiang-Mai/blog-463745.html Just click on the link. Be sure to scroll down and see all 30 photos in this blog. Click on any photo to enlarge. Chiang Mai Hiking: My hiking boots needed a new sole and the normal shoe-repair shop is a guy on the street corner. They couldn't re-a... read more
December 21st 2011
I needed to go for visa-run and a fellow I knew from Managua was visiting Cambodia. Seemed like a good excuse to visit Phnom Pehn. As it turned out by the time I arrived he had returned to Central America. Nevertheless, while looking for him in one of the seedier bars I bumped into a friend from Chiang MaI. Small world! In my view, central Phnom Pehn, is not much different than 10 years ago. See the video from The Capitol Guest House in my last year's Cambodian blog (March 1, 2011). There are basic hotels from $5, comfortable hotels for $8 and those with a/c, fridge for $12. The Circuit Hotel is about $18 for a new and modern room. Traffic police stop motocycle drivers for things like having the motorcycle's light on during the ... read more
December 20th 2011
Weekend of November 19th/20th 2011: Hike and Overnight Stay in Khun Tan National Park. We caught the 6:45 am train and arrived at Khun Tan about 8am where we started the hike. The hike and day went well. At the beginning of the hike where you pay for the night and are able to pickup eats if you want, there was an interesting incident. I saw an employee of the canteena sweeping' what at first looked like a small snake away from the toilets. Then I saw it was a large centipede. These can cause a painful bite. Buddhists aren't going to kill anything when others are watching. He kept on sweeping this creature out of the toilet area but it seemed determined to return. Finally the fellow gave it a long sweep with his broom...right ... read more
April 13th 2011
For video above, click on one of the four links above and to the right It's time for another "visa-run" to extend my stay in Thailand. This time my visa renewal coincides with Songkran, the Thai New Year (which involves copious amounts of water and can be fun if you like head-banging music and being soaken-wet all week). See last years blog when I stayed in Chiang Mai for Songkran. Per Chance, Easter is also in the next few weeks. Also, my friend Bill is passing time in the Philippines. Put them all together and it's an invitation to the Philippines. From Chiang Mai I got a direct flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where I spent a couple of nights see previous blog then flew on to infamous Angeles City in the Philippines. Angeles is the ... read more
April 7th 2011
First Stop: Malaysia It's time for another "visa-run" to extend my stay in Thailand. Air Asia flew direct from Chiang Mai, Thailand to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia then from there I'll go to the Philippines. This time my visa renewal requirement coincides with Songkran, the Thai New Year, which involves copious amounts of water and can be fun if you like to be soaken-wet all week. ISee last years blog when I stayed in Chiang Mai for Songkran.I Per Chance, Easter is also in the next few weeks. My friend Bill is passing time in the Philippines. Put them all together and it's an invitation to the Philippines. From Chiang Mai I got a direct flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where I had booked a hotel near the Sentral transit hub so that getting to and ... read more
March 12th 2011
Videos: Some people are really special. Look at this guys birthday party. I forgot I even had birthdays! . . HIKING Hiking is better at the higher altitudes at this time of year because of the heat. I did my first hike on 6th January 2011 , starting at 1,500 metres which was mentioned in the previous blog. The hike Sun Feb 13th, 2011 was along the Pilgrims' Trail. It was a 600 meter climb from the Arboretum to Wat Suthep and back. Along the way a Dalmatian dog we met while taking a break at the Phalad Temple decided to tag along. He stayed with us until we ate at a restaurant then he disappeared after gulping down his meal. It was as if he had collected his commission from the restaurant owner for bringing ... read more
February 7th 2011
Videos: 1. What's a little different about this New Year dance competition? 2. Christmas Eve, Thapae Gate 3. The Best of the Year of the Rabbit 4. Annual Flower Festival Parade Christmas is acknowledged in Thailand even though its a Buddhist country. The Thais will use any excuse to have fun and celebrate. And the commercial aspect isn't lost either. January is a good weather month for hiking the hills around here. The group of hikers are quite serious and can set a mean pace. Thai food is great but western decadents can be indulged. Of course, this is what allows you to not loose the look of affluence from back home. Although Thai entertainment is top notch, western music is alive and well. Very talented expat musicians jam all around the town to keep things ... read more