Lee Boxcat

Lee Boxcat

Lee Boxcat

This is my blog to accompany my 'giving some travelling a go' time. I've long fancied heading off for a prolonged adventure, into diverse landscapes and cultures. For some history, nature, action, new things..
So here I am, just me, giving it a go in South East Asia. I'm starting in Thailand, and right now I'm aiming north, heading for an overload crossing into Laos, down into Cambodia and then through Vietnam. Will see how it goes..

I guess a question is - can the cat get out the box?! I'm prone to morning grumps, shyness, a way off directional sense, and veering from the path as the other way looked 'funner to me'. So I've a few things to watch out for.

Hope you enjoy reading, just a little way for me to say hey, I've not got lost and I'm doing some things like this..

A few (silly) caveats to the blog
1i) I'm no photographer and these will largely be taken on an old phone.. prepare for off centre pieces and lack of clarity
1ii) I'm prone to take/prioritise/promote pictures with nice cloud formations in them (cirrus, altocumulus..) enjoy, obviously 😊
2) there may be times when I write entries with a beer in hand and this may get some creativity going.. i will always try to keep to the truth, but if you notice some odd facts, wild claims - tell me!

Asia » Thailand » Northern Thailand » Nan May 10th 2016

I should have taken big bag off. And why am i wearing two tops? Standing in Chiang Rai bus ticket office, to hopefully get on the day's sole run to Nan, I'm sweltering under shade in humid, cackling May. Calves dripped upon, I dab my brow and upper lip - pointless! A friendly smile, in full length jeans, from the waiting room seats. I motion jokily to my heat handling powers, just chilling here.. Back outside, waiting passengers lean on boxes and piled bags, text, sip fruit juices. The bus drivers and station runners can be picked out with their pale blue shirts and quick, knowing gestures to usher buses in, check tickets, load up trunks. A blue stream of activity. A white bus rolls over, 'Chiang Rai to Nan' - the leaners swing up, the ... read more
Sudrit gallery and stay
Wat Phumin
Famous murals inside

Asia » Thailand » North-West Thailand » Chiang Rai May 7th 2016

I'm lucky. No allergies. My big dislikes - horseradish, beetroot, quiche - more british BBQ and family party spread add-ons than south east Asian menu finds. My big food bug bear - overly soggy Shreddies - left behind in my running late to work/weekend plans/any kind of event multi-task-attempting moments. I wouldn't go for the scorpion on a stick, but my mouth doesn't contort nor nose twitch refusingly at new offerings. I can handle a fair amount of spice, and the pulsing mouth and temple sweat spice level is not one that I find unpleasant. I'm lucky. So, I had an adventure of new food and drink ahead of me in south east Asia. Coming toward the end of my trip, on a bus to Chiang Rai one humid, still May evening, I thought I'd remember ... read more
Fruit and shakes in Vietnam
A fruit shake a day..
Banh mi

Asia » Vietnam » Central Highlands April 14th 2016

I'm up high in Da Lat, a city in the central highlands. A place of towering pines, cream French architecture with a dash of the fairytale; a city dot to dot of Banh mi and pho stalls, fresh mountain air; exquisite coffee dripping teasingly into your cup from its throne, and hilly roads jumbled by moped journeys. After team 'nam departed, I'd been finding it a little strange. I had been chilling, which was rewarding, but a little lacking in my own motivation.. my day high points of energy so far being my 5pm 5ks about the beautiful city lake (the book said it was 7k around, but I refused to believe that given the Casio readings!). In another blog I'll tell the other tales of crazy house, the karate kids, the finally found paradise lake ... read more
and horses
Out about the central highlands

4) Phong Nha - bikes, wires, miles The sleeper bus awaits back in Hanoi. Whilst Nicki and I inhale chicken rice at a sidewalk stall (this was definitely a spoon occasion) and sourced an ATM, Michelle was off hunter-gatherer style on snacks (crisps, waters, diet cokes and classic chocolate bars). A hold up on the minibus was then on - the agency had kindly offered to dry our shorts and Smiles' guns&roses* tee (those still wet from Hanoi room washing!) whilst we'd been away, but now they were lost. Together we searched about (knowing shorts were not in abundance with one pair locked in a bag with a wet dog aroma, see part i). No luck, but the agency would send them down on the next bus - they were probably at a launderette. So off ... read more
Sleeper bus, easy tiger
pooh sticks

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta April 4th 2016

Prelude Heading to the airport, timing the path on my Casio, big bag dropped off at Hualamphong station - I'm light and beaming. Michelle and Nicki's flight is landing as I feel the skyline's cool air con and my music in my ears, moving toward their landing spot. Eee! A rise of excitement. A bubbling up I've had over the last few days, a lovely natural high - my friends! from London!, suddenly going to magicked here. Of course, for them, there's been tube lines, airport waits, questions of packing (and re-organising, Mims) bags and themselves for a transition into South East Asia's heat, it's own busy and charms. And I'd been getting photo updates through this last twenty hours, through my stop offs and a night beer at my hostel's rooftop, through their anoraks and ... read more
Airport fun
The big plan.
Boat pier

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok March 18th 2016

I didn't expect this feeling, not until a certain flight back west. But I had it, those warm belly risings of feeling like you're headed home. I was beaming, the Bangkok lights slowly coming into view, Thai about the billboards. I was sitting in the front seat of the minibus with a lovely girl from China, we'd talked and asked lots from politics to our stories, hopes, on the way from Siem Reap. And now she was laughing and asking what I was looking out at, I was entranced - 'Bangkok, its just, ah I feel so happy coming back'. It was four months on, from that arrival, of me quietly looking out with wide eyes and a big clean rucksack (thanks Rach!) on my back, fresh off the flight into Asia. I was thinking of ... read more
River view home

Asia » Cambodia » North » Siem Reap March 16th 2016

Two days left on my visa, riding into Siem Reap. A sleeper bus, again enjoyed, I like this travel way. An excellent stop off on the way where I met Bene again on her way to Vietnam! A big hug, laughs and a shared bunch of bananas, naturally! A morning arrival and I am excited to see some wonders the next day. I'd been reading up more on the temples and was surprised to see they were set over 300km in total! Whilst the history was really something - the feats of achievement and of the religious, spiritual and kingdom building symbology at the height of the mighty Angkor empire. Most of the complexes were hidden for near 600 years by the jungle, abandoned; leaving a myth between Cambodians of a great, hidden (lost?) city. There's ... read more
Angkor Wat ahead
Looking out from A-W centre
The shapes

Asia » Cambodia » South » Sihanoukville March 11th 2016

The afternoon and the day's last boat is at 3. It's 2.35, I'm still on the bus from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukhville, bugger. I mean sure, I can just join them in the morning.. but.. Off the bus (first, and determinedly I go in and get big bag from the under bit!) and here a motorbike taxi to be met, onward to the port, and he knows - we got to grab a ticket on the way and make the boat.. He was my hero. Ah it was such a thrill, walking up onto the boat, made it. Zooming over the blue water, to Koh Rong Samloem ahead; a quiet, forested neighbour of the more built up Koh Rong. The island doesn't have WiFi, I didn't know if Roo and Bene would be about, the plan ... read more
Which way.. happy roots
Off for our boat ride
Sunset from pier

Asia » Cambodia » East » Kratié March 6th 2016

What a special time. With Kratie English School, at home sweet home, with a kind Cambodian family, a grand group of fellow volunteers, wonderful friends. I ride up in the morning dust on a tuk tuk, welcomed warmly by the teachers, English and Canadian accents, big smiles.. And up at the teachers table (under welcome shade and with breakfast bananas) I watch the 10am lesson in motion. There's two outside classrooms at Rith's family home, adorned with student drawings and name tags and colourful charts. Football kitted arms up waving, pick me, energy and enthusiasm to learn, definite cheekiness. The current gang - Charlotte, Robyn, Jaydon, Jess and Shawn - give me the lowdown, I was excited to get started. Timetables, lesson plans, insights and ideas. It was a group who would share so much, I ... read more
Lesson in motion
Cycling about Orusey vilage
Start of high school class

Asia » Cambodia » East » Kratié February 29th 2016

New country. And I'm reunited with the Mekong. It's a quiet blue sheen here. 'Soosadai' It was a 22 hour ride from Vientiane starting with a sleeper bus, complete with soft fleecey rug and a great excuse to read and play - to stay up late with an Oliver Sack's book, listen to my 'Missing' podcast 'can one go missing?' and play my mystery puzzle game! Our Chinese new year readings in Vientiane - well, me reading from a magazine over fried rice after our dancing session in a post curfew club - had told how I'd meet a new love over my weekend trip. This tickled us with the idea of the shared bus beds on my horizon! But it appeared it would be Oliver who would take my fancy. On awaking, I found the ... read more
Markets ahead
Bike route continues
Mekong, Koh Trong in sight

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