Page 5 of Ali Travel Blog Posts

South America » Ecuador » South » Cuenca November 3rd 2006

Travel-warp, I'm lost in South America, a few months of Europe and friends and family and a new continent beckons. Ecuador is a country of so much variety, from the Galapagos Islands, Coastal Lowlands, Andean Highlands and the densely jungled interior. It reminds me so much of Guatemala, a country I came to love four years ago, similar experiences; a month spent relearning pigeon Spanish, nights out in salsa-tecas, food of rice and chicken and eggs, guacamole and cheap cuba libres. The differences from Guatemala are subtle, Ecuador doesn't have the history of CIA interference and bloody conflict with guerilla groups, Ecuador has a history of political corruption and war with Peru, contracting borders and then the bonanza of discovered oil. Oil at a time of unprecedented demand and rising prices should have made Ecuador a ... read more
Waiting for Entry
The Doors of Cuenca
Backside of a Basilica

Asia » Malaysia » Sabah » Sipadan July 28th 2006

I dived Sipadan and Mabul Islands back in July last year, I write now in January 2007. So here is a diving photo feast for those that like that kind of thing... My usual descriptive stories will resume shortly... I had all kinds of creative prose lined up for this but... Sipadan: Turtles the size of Volkswagon Beatles glide by, Baracuda tornadoes twist and twirl while sharks dart by evil eyes twisting in all the wrong directions. Mabul: A macro wonder-world, where every cranny holds a treasure... But it is slightly false (the turtles are smaller but still big for turtles) - and reads like a hyperactive tour brochure... but photos do not lie. Except the ones which have been colour corrected... the ones with lots of water looked a little greener in the originals. More ... read more
Anna's Magnificant Slug (Mabul)
Anenome Fish (Mabul)
Green Turtle (Mabul)

Asia » Malaysia » Terengganu » Perhentian Kecil July 14th 2006

In this modern day and age it is said that before we retire, most people will have had five distinct careers.* With an expected working life of 45 years that's one every nine years. Ten years since I graduated and now I've hit my second, professional diver. A grand title. After months of training and lots of hard work I've reached the lowest wrung of the PADI professional career ladder, I am a divemaster. I found a job on Coral Bay, Perhentian Kecil - at Dive Tribe. Island fever hit the previous divemaster, hit her hard and left her reeling. Island fever is the result of spending too long on a very small island, a special tropical edition of ground hog day. Same food, same music, same weather, same sand - sounds and looks idyllic, but ... read more
Pink Anenome
Crazy Bamboo Sharks

Asia » Malaysia » Terengganu » Perhentian Kecil June 20th 2006

A quick update from my Malaysian paradise... least for now. Here are some photos of the latest development - a 60m two storey concrete building slap bang in the middle of long beach. As for myself - I'm alive and well working as a divemaster for Dive Tribe on Coral Bay. Lots of fun, diving most days, taking people to my favourite sites and showing off the fish and underwater life. That's it for now... more to come soon. ... read more
Long Beach Barge
The Building Site
Pet Snake

Asia » Malaysia » Terengganu » Perhentian Kecil May 1st 2006

I wake, sprawled out, tired, where was I last night? - out partying again? I extract myself from the tangle of sarong, pillow and mosquito net that my bed has become during the night. My wooden beach hut, now my home, an upgrade from the shed in the jungle where the mosquitoes won the nightly battle for territory. I open the door look out across the kilometer long beach, through the coconut palms, and over my hammock... another hard day as a divemaster trainee begins. It's 7:30am the beach is still, the boatman and local cleaning lady from the fisherman's village are making their way from the sunlight speedboat through the water to the restaurant, "Selemat Baggi!" - good morning! I've been a scuba diver since 2002 when in Honduras I found that I was near ... read more
Divers at Temple
Giant Pufferfish and Juvenille Golden Travelly
Underwater Paradise

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh January 19th 2006

Four hundred eyes stare back at me, pictures arranged in rows - eerily like passport photographs only there is intense fear in many of the faces. The photos are arranged in rows, twenty by ten, on boards around two metres wide, the faces are Cambodian, they wear some kind of uniform. The room has maybe five of these boards, two hundred people on each side of each board, the room is one of many, chequered brown and beige tiles on the floor, windows barred, rooms the size of class rooms. Before 1975 this building was a high school, from 1975 to 1979 a torture camp and prison in the heart of Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital city. Tuol Sleng - the former Khmer Rouge S21 Prison. The photos are the faces of the thousands of victims of ... read more
Four hundred eyes...
Hated - Pol Pot

Asia » Cambodia » North » Angkor January 13th 2006

The tuk-tuk drops us off at Angkor Wat, I've been hoping to visit this place for three years. I can't believe I'm here, I can't believe that there are so many other people here. Angkor Wat by weight, 60% sandstone, 40% tourist. I'm part of the problem not the solution, so I get over it and enjoy my first few moments at this wonderful place. We watch as the sun begins it's gradual decline into yellows and oranges, spreading a warming butter glow across the hot sandstone of the temples. Reflections on the pools crowded with waterlillies give tantalising double images of orange sculpture and iconic temples. It's been worth the wait and worth the travel down from Laos. After a long dusty journey from Phnom Phen, after a longer and dustier journey from Laos, Matt, ... read more
Angkor Wat
Ta Phrom
Bateay Sri

Asia » Laos » South » Si Phan Don January 6th 2006

Lay back relax, take in the sights and sounds of island life from the comfort of a hammock. Laos is one of the most relaxed countries in the world and Don Det is one of the most relaxed places in Laos, does this make it the most relaxed place in the world? Not if your logic is slightly more developed than this simple statement, but it was very very relaxed. The perfect place to spend lazy days that stretch into lazy weeks with that significant other. Lacking a significant other I spent a few days on bicycles collecting punctures, afternoons tripping around waterfalls stubbing bruised and bloody toes, and evenings playing guitars. Don Det, is a small island in area known as Si Phi Don (Four thousand islands), southern Laos, close to the Cambodian border. The ... read more
Fishing on the Mekong
Children, Don Kon
Four Thousand Islands

Asia » Laos » West » Vientiane January 3rd 2006

A few quick days in Vientiane. The captial of Laos, as laid-back as capitals come, a colonial city slumped on the banks of the Mekong. Small dusty with the ubiquitous temples and tuk-tuks. Just out of the city there is one of the weirdest parks I have ever been to, surreal statues of Buddhist and Hindu folklore, complete with a Hellmouth. I searched around for my very own Buffy but didn't find her. The rest of the time I spent talking with Dave and Stefan in some of the many French inspired cafes or bars. A trip to "On the Rock" where a Lao covers band crooned out many a balad popular with the Ladies in the audience and then made a perfect rendition of "Hotel California" - they were good but I have to conclude ... read more
Sunset on the Mekong, Vientiane
Cobra Whisky, Vientiane
Buddha Park, Vientiane

Asia » Laos » West » Vang Vieng January 1st 2006

The VIP bus regurgitates the passengers for Vang Vieng onto the gravelly disused airstrip that separates the town from the highway. Disembarking, approached by tuk-tuks and leaflets for guesthouses - I choose the first, $3 a night with the hottest shower I've experienced in south-east asia I decide to stay at the Thavisouk. It's the 26th of December 2005, I plan to stay a few days and head to Pak Say and the four thousand islands fairly quickly. The town of Vang Vieng is small, a couple of streets lined with backpacker bars, low slung tables with comfortable recliner cushions popular in Thailand. Canned laughter spills out on to the dusty streets, the sounds of endless episodes of “Friends” being played on DVDs from restaurants I vow never to attend. Despite a heavy cold I decide ... read more
Sunset on the Nam Xong
Nam Xong
Nam Xong Bar

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