Page 2 of unpaidbill Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Vietnam » Northeast » Ha Giang November 10th 2015

Well, I had to squeeze that last one out (of the way) was from my 'perfumed' garden...chooks, wet dogs, roosters, bodily waste.....not the real one in Beijing...but you've got to choose a location...and it's really all about the is a rearview mirror, so frustrating, trying to catch 'now'... and zing! slips right past you.... I just got back from a 3 day epic road trip with the boss and some of his old friends. Up to the most Northern part of Viet Nam, along the Chinese border. I'd been thinking how amazing a flight would be and then I got it....not airborne but driving, around the ribbon lip of vertical mountains. Another twist in the road and a heart stopping vista, a bit like Copper Canyon where the enormity of the scale just leaves your ... read more
China on yr left, VN on yr right
it's a long way too the top...
Kilometre 0 at Ha Giang city(?)

Asia » China » Beijing » Fragrant Hills November 9th 2015

.....lots of low doorways. Just doesn't have the same ring as Peking Duck, not that I've ever been a real fan of that dish, always seems to have too much peking and not enough duck. Crickey, it's the 9th of Nov and I'm just getting to finish this?, where were we? And forbidden to enter the Forbidden City, sounds counterintuitive but there you go. Thanks to the international athletics competition.... and the upcoming national day, (70th anniversary of the defeat of the Japanese), half the factories around Beijing have been closed down and the rest ordered to restrict their hours. Also, cars are restricted by rego numbers to 1 day on, 1 day off, half the traffic disappears! So.... It's clear and clean, bright sunny day, but it's also so less crowded than I'd expected, way ... read more

Asia » China » Beijing » Beihai Park August 29th 2015

It's a bit disconcerting to be always writing about the last place you were, from the current one. I'm losing track, boom boom, of which train I was on. My wads of paperwork, including an actual ticket, showed 3 different times for departure from Irkutsk for Ulaanbaator. I knew there was a constant in Russia to always refer to Moscow time but the ticket should be in local time (their instructions!) Whatever, I checked out of the hotel, unchecked by bag at the station, gave away the last of my roubles.....and had 6 hours to kill....hahaha in a soviet era waiting room in stinking hot weather with a crowd of professional circus quality freaks, I fitted in admirably. This time I shared a 4 berth sleeper with an overly self-assured and optimistic (but aren't they all?) ... read more

Asia » Mongolia » Ulaanbaatar August 23rd 2015

Actually I'm out of Russia, and in Ulaanbaator, Mongolia. Moron that later. I'd gotten back to Irkutsk about 11.30pm after a long day on the train around Lake Baikal. The hotel looked pretty flash, a number of business suits coming and going, some classic kgb suits with dark glasses (at 10pm) as hotel security. The check-in counter was overrun by a Chinese tour group. This is becoming a recurring theme but it seems like the Chinese are keeping the world tourism business afloat. Anyway, I postponed checking in and went to the bar where a couple of average, huge, fat, middle aged business types were getting ready to hit some local titty bar. They were friendly in a pushy sort of way, sporting the shaved skull haircut-de-jour, they asked where I was from and when I ... read more
Across the river to the Irkutsk railway station
Alexander the something
Old building in Irkutsk, classic local design

Europe » Russia » Siberia » Lake Baikal August 22nd 2015

Ah, a whole other story! Jana, my wonderful guide....nothing like having an organised tour booked and finding you're the only it! First the ferry to the station, then onto the train. Number 9 I think. Lake Baikal is BIG, and deep, the deepest, oldest freshwater lake ever, surrounded by big mountains, 359 rivers run into it and only 1 out. It holds 20% of the worlds fresh water! No time for a photo but I did spot a couple of the famous and elusive Baikal Seals, unreal. And a couple of rare Siberian Red Ducks, on the red list, I reckon ready for dinner, rare! It's a bit hazy, they've had some big bushfires so it's only when we get close to the sharp end of the lake we can see the distant peaks of ... read more
Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal

Europe » Russia » Siberia » Irkutsk August 21st 2015

Quick, write something.....I heard him say. 6 hours to kill at the beautifully archaic, baroque-ish, multi faceted Yaroslavsky railway station Luckily there's a bar across the street....although somewhat the way that everything in Russia is 'somewhat odd' gotta try and put my finger on it... And, I thought it odd, there's not a map to be bought within 1,500 metres of this major railway station, now here's a business idea...... The God of travelling companions is smiling on me again! Finally onboard and meet my rolling railway roommate, a 55 yo Russian doctor, he tells me his name is Vova , short for Vladimir! A neurologist, he works in Moscow and every 3 months makes this trip to somewhere east of Irkutsk to a regional hospital. He takes the train because he has a big ... read more

Europe » Russia » Northwest » Moscow August 14th 2015

First impression........ incomprehension......nothing is understandable, Cyrillic script is doing me in. This is hard. But, I've done this before, I think. A double shot espresso, shot of voddy and I'm off to face the Metro. It is a fantastic system. Fast!.......the old and new trains hurtle through the dark tunnels, I never wait more than 1 minute on any platform for a train. 196 stations, 237kms, 74m deep at can google the details, it's huge! Some of the stations are like art galleries, incredible murals, statues, gigantic chandeliers, stained glass panels, surfaces of wood, ceramics, mosaics, slate, steel, bronze, marble, plaster. And it's all spotlessly clean, the trains too. I've not seen more than a couple of cleaners in the whole city but it's all really clean....and everyone is very conscientious about binning their litter! ... read more
Good Metro
The entrance to Red Square
Red Pano Square

Europe » Russia August 12th 2015

Time to get something up. I still don't get how to set the photos, they seem to bay all awry, use yr imaginaton. First flight, Hanoi to KL, uneventful to say the least. Second flight, KL to London, upstairs in cattle class is not bad, in the middle of the night I snuck forward into biz class and stretched out. Later I was watching a movie and instinctively ordered a drink.....they asked me to return to my seat! First train, Heathrow to Paddington, quick and efficient. Second train, P'ton to Bath, ok and all that green scenery. And Bath at last, about 5kms to tow the bag to the Airbnb, along the river, along the freeway, up the hill and home. Went and checked out the local pub, a classic, a bunch of local tradies took ... read more
Great Uncle Frederick
Roman Baths
They lived here!

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi July 10th 2015

Despite the corpse in the bathroom the hotel was pretty unconfronting and I had a great big room at the top. Da Nang International airport is right in town, you can see where I'm going here? The big room, big bed, big windows, big jets in and out, it's right about the zone where the stowaways drop out of the wheel wells. Lying in bed watching huge jets lumbering off out to sea, scraping the TV antenai, not the smooth swoosh of old jets, now it sounds like a blender full of ball bearings, a terrible, mechanical, gearbox-out-of-oil noise, and the incomings, swooping down, dodging and weaving, disappearing to drop just behind. There's a semi-circular glass elevator superglued to the front of the building, surely the acme of Da Nang architecture in the 50's, the glass ... read more
My fish

Asia » Vietnam » Red River Delta » Hanoi September 27th 2011

Well, how long can you wait? there anyone still out there?.....time for an update! Another perfect morning....5am and 1,000 pre-tumescent roosters rise as one....blood pressure building, neck veins standing out like David Parkin at three quarter time, then exploding across the neighbourhood as dawn's rosy crack appears through the mist coming off the Big Red River...probably a lethal concentration of toxic particulates, but I'll call it mist....I wonder what would happen if all these cocks crowed simultaneously? could probably hear it from the moon....and then there are the dogs and the caged birds etc etc..... I get to the market by 6am, some strange looking fish, as usual, but I'll take a punt....there are some pix here of the market people.... Rough, rutted roads make body parts, ill-concealed by local fashions, jiggle and shake with alarming ... read more
sometimes it rains...

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