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 some ways, made each a little more engaging, and I … Continue reading Stories Left in Southeast Asia

Woody Elephant Camp and the Lesser of Some Number of Evils

“THIS IS POWER in the human hand,” our guide said as she showed us the elephant hook, holding it up for the whole group to see. V quickly shot me a glare. “We use to punish them,” she continued with a smile. The man behind her, Jay, jumped from his seat. “It’s not for fun,” he clarified. “We have to teach them what’s bad, what’s … Continue reading Woody Elephant Camp and the Lesser of Some Number of Evils

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 sensible tourists to migrate farther and farther out into the … Continue reading Chiang Mai’s “Old City” is Anything But

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 Pier, across the main river from the infamously filthy tourist … Continue reading The Best Bread in Bangkok, And, Perhaps, The World

Photo Essay: From Bangkok to Singapore

TO TRAVEL FROM BANGKOK TO SINGAPORE is to experience the development of civilization in slow-motion. You start off in the Wild West of Southeast Asia, where you can purchase a dildo and a person on whom to use it on the same city block, and then move south down the narrow length of Thailand to find the country’s calmer side, in cities like Nakhon Si … Continue reading Photo Essay: From Bangkok to Singapore

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

Finding the Bang in Bangkok

THE FIRST THING WE SAW WERE DILDOS. Racks of them. Dozens, even. Black and pink, dangerously large, hilariously small, all dangling in streetside tents. One vendor was spoke casually on his cell phone as he hung up his thick rubber cocks, getting an early 8 p.m. start for what he presumed would be a normal, meaning busy, Tuesday night. Patpong is filthy in every conceivable … Continue reading Finding the Bang in Bangkok

Notes From a Thai Cafe: Watching the Man Who Won’t Have Sex with this Waitress

THE MAN SITTING NEXT TO ME is trying to swindle a bracelet for free. The woman in front of him holds out a few colours, and he chooses black. He is muscular and hasn’t shaved in a few days, with green cargo shorts and a loose, sweaty v-neck. She looks like a rainbow of Thai kitsch, from goofy hat to floor-length skirt. He changes his … Continue reading Notes From a Thai Cafe: Watching the Man Who Won’t Have Sex with this Waitress

How We’re Flying Through Java, Brunei, Kuching, Penang, Cambodia and Thailand for Under $300

AFTER FOUR HOURS OF SHITTY MATH, I found myself awake past 11:30 last night, staring at my computer screen, clicking and refreshing as my desk lay covered in sticky pads noting various potential flight routes. PUS – CGK, CGK – PHN, BKK – PEN. Or PUS – BWN, BWN – KL, KL – BKK. PUS – CGK, JOG – SIN, SIN – BWN? Suffice to … Continue reading How We’re Flying Through Java, Brunei, Kuching, Penang, Cambodia and Thailand for Under $300