Stories based in India
There are very few situations where I feel trapped. Trapped in my own skin. No way to break out. But this was one of them. A situation so hopeless that the thought of getting out of there was merely a fleeting figment of the imagination.
We had been traveling for hours now. Never had I felt so gut-wrenchingly nauseous as I did at this moment. [Read more]
The story started out rather typically and, one might say, dubiously. The guy at the travel agency apparently had family who live in the Himalayas and could take us trekking there. You can trust ME. This is MY FAMILY. Would I lie to you and tarnish MY FAMILY’S name? This is a matter of honor. Do you not believe in MY honor, the honor of MY FAMILY?
You hear the same stories and promises all over, which of course are not always held. In a city of millions, many are forced to make money any way they can, even if that means scamming rupees. [Read more]
A Photo Essay: The Himalayan Trek
It was only 48 hours ago that we were negotiating the busy streets of Pahar Ganj, New Delhi. Now with the sights and sounds of city life already pushed to the recesses of our memories, we exchanged rickshaws for ponies and were about to embark on one our most challenging travel adventures yet. [Read more]
Stories based in Indonesia
Dog Bites & Rabies Shots
The sun had long set – the streets of Ubud already virtually in complete darkness in the absence of street lighting. They were lurking in the silent shadows. [Read more]
The Cock Meeting (Part 1)
“Did you kill Gadhafi?” was the first question asked of me as I stumbled upon a casual yet organized meeting of men on the side of a dirt village road. “Gadhafi’s dead?” was my first response. Obviously the first time I had heard this news, the man explained. “Yes, killed by rebels yesterday.” “Well, it wasn’t me. I hardly could have done that and made it all the way here so quickly, could I?” They laughed and the man nodded in contemplatory agreement. “She’s got a point,” he said to the others. “So where are you staying?” [Read more]
The Prelude (Part 2)
I sat across from an elaborately decorated compound. It had been the site of much traffic for days. On my daily ride home from work, the surrounding area would be abuzz with well-dressed locals spilling out onto the streets with their families. Something was obviously happening.
“Is there a ceremony going on over there?” I asked the owner of the café where I sat. [Read more]
The Cock Fight (Part 3)
One bout had just finished when I approached the group of men who were intently focused on the task at hand. Several roosters were brought under the small wall-less shelter where the gathering was taking place. They were inspected carefully, their muscles felt, their wings pulled out and the general liveliness of the birds assessed, encouraging them to have a few pecks at each other. [Read more]
Stories based in Mongolia
The Case of the Curd Turd
Having left later than scheduled from camp, and with a long day of driving ahead, the driver didn’t waste any time easing into the bumpy conditions. This was to the almost unfortunate fate of a horse who, despite repeated beeping, was spared after some emergency braking brought the van to a stop within a hair of its mane. [Read More]
It’s a startling realization that an animal of any decent size or threat is watching you, let alone close enough to make a move.
I was a few steps out of the tent when this moment came. At 4am, it was already light as day outside, yet the air had the mistiness and the grass the dewiness that gave away the early hour. [Read more]
Stories based in Vietnam
The Long Awaited Arrival
After a rather chaotic and elongated visa-on-arrival process at Ho Chi Minh Airport, the queues were short at immigration. All the locals had passed through long ago, and the sea of foreigners making the best of it on the airport floor were being awarded their entry permission like a good Vietnamese coffee – at the rate of a trickle. [Read more]
On Being Adopted in Vietnam
Her matching mustard pant and shirt set stood out across the vacant square, her outstretched arms waving and gesturing for us to come over. Having just arrived off the bus from Trà Vinh, we were wandering aimlessly trying to find a place to eat in that awkward time between lunch and dinner when many restaurants choose to close their doors. Without any other options in sight, we followed the brightly attired stranger to the open garage-looking space with small tables and low red seats. [Read more]
Until Vietnam, the town “Trà Vinh” had just been two words that followed “Place of birth” on Hai’s passport. Usually taking care of most of the admin side of our travel, I had written those words on countless immigration cards over the years. [Read more]