Tag Archives: rtw

Stories Left Behind in Asia

I WRITE THIS FROM the last frontier of Asia, Turkey’s eastern half, before flying over the divisive Bosphorus River into what is securely the First World, and the second half of this four-month journey. I have a few thoughts leaving Asia, where V and I spent the last two years living and travelling; mostly I […]

Under the Silence of the Jordanian Stars

I HAVE NEVER KNOWN SUCH SILENCE as the Jordanian desert at night. There is literally nothing making those noises we take for granted when we think of quietness; no humming fridge, no faraway birds, no buzzing lights or purring motors. To sleep in the desert is to exist in absolute nothingness, to be absorbed by […]

The People Around the Taj Mahal

SOMEWHERE BETWEEN THE TAJ MAHAL AND AGRA FORT there is a quiet little town—quiet by Indian standards—and somewhere therein live quiet people, normal people, people not out to get your money or impress you with Mughal legends but rather who are interested in speaking to you. These are friendly people, too polite to be easily […]

How We Spent Ten Dollars On Scarves in Varanasi and Why We’re Okay With It

EVERYONE AND HIS BROTHER owns a silk shop in Varanasi. Walk down the street and you will be personally invited to one every few paces, told “No pressure” and “Just take a look” when you hesitate, persuaded when they explain the secret to proving real silk from polyester knockoffs (the threads burn into ashes) and […]

The Two Indias: Of Rules and Chaos

THE THING ABOUT INDIA that travel magazines ignore is its fetishistic addiction to bureaucracy. If something takes place in a large building with air-conditioning, rest assured you will be helplessly drowned in endless spools of red tape—yet the streets outside are inevitably a manic free-for-all. The schism is symbiotic and outlandish, and in either case […]

Stories Left in Southeast Asia

WE DEPARTED THE MAINLAND of Southeast Asia with some regret, having not met as many locals as we’d normally like. I also didn’t get as many good photos of the ones we did talk to, which you might notice below. This is because the conversations happened spontaneously, when I wasnt preared for them, which, in […]

Chiang Mai’s “Old City” is Anything But

WE ARRIVED IN CHIANG MAI to get away from Bangkok—its hefty costs, its slimy touts, its unnavigable streets and invasive mall culture. Chiang Mai, we were led to believe, would be different, calmer, more authentic and inviting. If it weren’t for the all the expats and tourists who’ve inherited the centre of it, forcing any […]

The Best Bread in Bangkok, And, Perhaps, The World

THERE ARE TWO REASONS we decided to return to Bangkok. One is that flying out of Siem Reap is unavoidably expensive; the other was bread. But not just “bread” in the generic; rather, a very particular bread, a paragon role model—really, the Platonic form of bread—baked at a mystery bakery just off the Wang Lang […]

The Angkor Album

THE ANGKOR TEMPLE COMPLEX sees around 1,000 visitors in a day, many of whom swarm the western gate at 5:30 a.m. to wait for the 6 o’clock sunrise. I did not know this before we joined them. We rented bikes the night before and left our homestay pedaling at 5 o’clock, following the line of […]

Is This Modern Travel?

I CAUGHT MY REFLECTION a few days ago on the “balcony” of our budget hotel near central Kuala Lumpur (it was a concrete box in a series of larger concrete boxes, but it was, technically, outdoors), and the image I saw was of a young man in his t-shirt and boxers, pacing in desperate search […]