Sapa, Vietnam, Part 3

“Why you no bring your girlfriend?” the Hmong women asked.  “She no friendly?” “Sure Marie is friendly,” I said.  “Why wouldn’t she be friendly?” The women, laughing, reminded me that when I’d visited… Continue reading

Sapa, Vietnam, Part 2

When I visited Sapa in 2010 I brought my Hmong friends prints of the photos I’d taken of them in 2006.  Some of the other Hmong women heard I’d done that, which prompted… Continue reading

Sapa, Vietnam, Part 1

If civilization collapses, the Hmong who live around Sapa will be just fine.  They’d be inconvenienced, of course – many of them now have electricity, mobile phones, and motorcycles, and some earn their… Continue reading

Hanoi, Vietnam

“What is the best way to lead a meaningful life?” the Vietnamese student asked me. Wow, I thought, that escalated quickly.  His first two questions had been “Where are you from?” and “How… Continue reading

Luang Prabang, Laos

Siem Reap had been the first stop on the ‘Greatest Hits’ part of my trip, where I was revisiting three of my favorite places in Southeast Asia.  Next up was Luang Prabang in… Continue reading

Siem Reap, Cambodia

The ancient temples of Angkor warrant enough superlatives to trigger a hyperbole alert:  majestic, sublime, awe-inspiring, arguably the most spectacularly amazing place in all of Southeast Asia.  But even that may not go… Continue reading

Bako National Park, Malaysia

Bako was the first National Park in Malaysian Borneo.  Only 25 miles northeast of Kuching, it sits on a small peninsula that juts into the South China Sea.  Bako has no roads, so… Continue reading

Kuching, Malaysia

Borneo! I tried to visit once before, back in 2009.  My buddy Phil and I wanted to see orangutans in the wild at Tanjung Puting National Park in Indonesian Borneo, but we couldn’t… Continue reading

Penang, Malaysia

I’d arrived in Malaysia without a plan.  My itinerary was wide open, with over two weeks to fill.  Borneo jumped out as a priority that deserved at least half my time, but that… Continue reading

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

As soon as my plane touched down in Kuala Lumpur I became an idiot again.  I’d just started feeling a tiny bit competent at handling basic tasks in the Philippines, and all it… Continue reading