Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Preserve a patchyderm, spew on a dog

By the third time I had spewed over the railing and onto one of the homestay family's dogs, I knew something was gastronomically wrong. Well into my third month in SE Asia and in the middle of a weeklong volunteer project with The Elephant Nature Park out of Chiang Mai, Thailand, I finally came down with the fabled traveler's tummy.

A half day's drive on serpentine roads from acceptable medical facilities and hundreds and hundreds of kilometers from where I started, I was immensely grateful for the insta-friends of The Journey to Freedom and Cheryl's familiar face - even if I barely saw her between visits to the squat toilets to purge my other end.

(At the Park on night one)

(Walking a family)

(Three-month-old twins! Only the third known pair in Thailand)

(Buffs and scenery on second walk)

(Just down the road from our homestay)

(Cheryl on The Creek Crawl)

(Our translator, pseudo guide, sous chef, entertainment)

(The village came out to see us off)

(Clearly keen for a fella, Cheryl made me a man)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Booting Nam

Sewer foot upon arrival in Hanoi. Cankles from the Mekong Delta. Vietnam slowly and unexpectedly won me over despite being rough on my feet.

The natural beauty of Halong Bay and Sapa in the north, the warmth of (most) of the locals and the ever constant hilarity of fellow travelers.

(View from massive cave)

(View from top of hill climb)

(It's blurry because I'm kayaking so fast, not because the elder Israeli woman taking the photo is new to digital cameras)

(Sunset in the Bay)

(Sapa's rice terraces)

There were the gender-coordinated ponchoed family at the My Son ruins outside Hoi An.

(Blue is for boys and pink for girls)

The Norwegian couple who insisted on picking up my Tiger tab. And the trio of insanely gorgeous fellas at Chrissy whose passports spanned Japan, Israel and the U.K.

My favourite touching moment tragically wasn't with one of them - menstruation's a bitch - but when a nationality-undefined Asian who upon spotting my Mekong moz swollen foot dashed off and returned with a green mystery medicine to soothe the itch.

Tomorrow I'm flying out of Saigon to Phuket, Thailand to meet a teacher friend from Chetwynd. Wow, am I ready for a familiar face!