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The Future

2 Feb

I’m thinking of combining this blog with my own personal journal of the trip and turning it into a book.

What are your guys thoughts on this?

2012 in review – Thanks to all who visited!

31 Dec

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,700 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Here Are Some Big Ass Dragon Fruits

29 Nov

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The Oldest Train in Vietnam

29 Nov

Whilst in Dalat, we also checked out the oldest train in Vietnam, better known as the Cremaillere Railway. Home to an ancient steam engine, we chugged a monstrous 8km in a super fast 45 mins – speedy or what?

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On board the train it was a heady mix of passengers (about 12 of us) and newly weds and photographers (an almost uncountable amount of them), it was really surreal. In fact, our trip was delayed thanks to several of these couples, at least they’re happy though:

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…and trendy!

Anyhow, after hitting the 8km mark we disembarked at the “station” in Trai Mat, a tiny village but home to the stunning Linh Phuoc Pagoda, a beautiful and obscenely ornate ceramic covered pagoda that towers over ostentatious word carvings.

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Here’s a dragon/dog…/monkey…?

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cool right? We only had 45 mins on the ground before our train set back off on its arduous journey, but we did manage to climb to the top of the pagoda, the view wasn’t great but it was insanely steep, so a decent work out – made all the more slippy and dangerous by the weird shoe-socks covering our feet.

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Crazy House, Dalat

29 Nov

where better to start this backlog than in the epicentre of Phone-gate? Of course I mean Dalat, Vietnam (just in case you didn’t know!)

The crazy house is, well, a crazy house. It been in the process of being continually built for the past 20 years, being started in 1992 as a fusion between nature and architecture by some crazy (it’s my WORD OF THE DAY!!) architecht.

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Looking like an unused set from Jim Henson’s ‘The Dark Crystal’, the Crazy house is part attraction and art hotel, as you can actually pay an extortionate amount of money to stay in the bizarre rooms. There are skybridges that cross from building to building, offering not only a great view of Dalat (itself not that great) and a free heart attack.

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The strangest bit about the crazy house is the fact that, even though it is only half built, every bloody path ends up at a different gift shop. Seriously. We counted about five different shops. Here’s Hannah playing a stone xylophone kind of like Tom Hanks did in Big…

ImageIn fact the craziest bit about the crazy house is the crazy communist room that we stumbled upon. It’s literally filled with news articles praising communist leaders…also, I think it was someone’s living room…?!

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Bangkok

19 Sep

So we’ve been in Bangkok for three whole days now and it’s still sinking in that we’re really here.

I mean, where else can you neck a beer for breakfast (without scorn), dress in clothing that is little more than a pair of Chinese curtains, and see a 100ft golden Buddha all before the mid-afternoon monsoon?

(I’ll admit you can probably do that anywhere with an off licence and access to google tbf)

Besides having to wade through knee high rivers caused by the afternoon rain, only to then be confronted with our hotel staff desperately trying to combat the floods with sand bags at the entrance, the strangest experiences for me have been our temple visits.

If my biblical knowledge is as good as I think it is (it isn’t), then I’m pretty sure that at one point Jesus went spare at some market traders in a temple at some point…well, he’d have a bloody field day here (not to mention an inferiority complex), because that sort of distinction doesn’t appear to exist in Buddhism – FYI Thailand’s prevalent religion.

At every temple – Giant Standing Buddha / Lucky Sitting Buddha / The Golden Mount – we’ve been greeted by shanty towns full of merchants hawking everything under the sun. Maybe it’s because of my Western outlook, but it makes me feel very uncomfortable seeing people nod, pray and donate to every little shrine they pass, only to then stop beside it and flog me some bottled water or ‘beats by Dwe’ headphones. It’s a juxtaposition that really hit home when we came across the souvenir shop at the top of the Golden Mount – a hill topped by a temple, itself topped by a giant golden bell. Very surreal.

One last thing – my perception of Buddhist Monks has been shattered: they are not inscrutably wise, zen, ninjas; irl they simply sit around chain smoking and playing on their iphones.

We head to Chang Mai on the morn (I might start writing like Tolkien – it’s just something I’m toying with)

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