The Bus Across Java That Tortured Us Mentally, Physically and Somehow Culturally

THE REALIZATION THAT YOU WILL spend the next six hours (maybe seven? It’s not really clear) on a bus that certainly, at one point, has transported convicts to death row, and is indeed still probably haunted by their ghost terrors, is a sort of badge of honour in the travel world, something to offer a quick anecdote around the hostel dining table. “Oh yeah?” pipes … Continue reading The Bus Across Java That Tortured Us Mentally, Physically and Somehow Culturally

Ways to Pass Time on a Train

I DON’T WANT TO COUNT the number of hours I’ve spent riding trains. More than I care to admit, though enough to brag about distances — 475 kilometers in Vietnam, over 600 in Thailand, not to mention that idiotically naive ride from Halifax to Toronto, nearly 1,000 in a single haul. I’m not sure why travellers love trains. They’re polarizing transport: whereas buses are almost … Continue reading Ways to Pass Time on a Train

Notes From a Vietnam Train: Is Authentic Travel Possible When Gazing Out a Train Window for 16 Straight Hours?

RIDING THE SLEEPER TRAIN is a meditative experience. You’re stuck in one place for perhaps a very long time, and come to realize that to simply sleep or read it all away is a waste of good travel. So you look out the window. What’s there? Green leaves, rice paddies, farmers in straw hats, decrepit brick homes, brown rivers, other trains, pink and yellow. It’s … Continue reading Notes From a Vietnam Train: Is Authentic Travel Possible When Gazing Out a Train Window for 16 Straight Hours?