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Around the World
Around the World 2008-2009
Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia & Singapore

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      This part of the trip was Hong Kong-Philippines-Thailand-Singapore-Malaysia-Thailand, so it is a little out of order.
      I was in Hong Kong only a few days, staying in the Clearwater Bay area (at right), an oasis that makes you forget that you are in one of the worldīs densest cities. I had the Moran family to thank for that as they were gracious enough to host me, a trend I was very fortunate to partake; lots of people put me up--and put up with me. I think it was my fourth time in Hong Kong. It was hazy every day as you can see in the photos.
     In Hong Kong it was my first birthday where I didnīt tell anyone it was my birthday. It wasnīt an enjoyable day. 12 months later on the same trip I was in Cali, Colombia and again didn't tell anybody it was my birthday and it was even worse.

Mega Box shopping center with a skating rink on the 10th floor       Looking across Hong Kong harbor from Kowloon

Hong Kong Airport, waiting for my flight on Cebu Pacific       High above Hong Kong

cigarette packs in Singapore
      From Cebu, Philippines, I flew to Bangkok. This was at least my tenth time in Southeast Asia, long my favorite region, but by now it has become too familiar. After much coaxing, I finally convinced Peter to come out from Hungary and we had a nice little trip around. We flew quickly to Singapore and came back up through Malaysia. Although I had been everywhere before, it was good to see it through someone elseīs virgin eyes. Poor Peter had to suffer through my rant when we went to a place like Koh Phi-Phi: "You should have seen it 18 years ago!"
      After he flew home I found myself getting stuck in Bangkok. On every trip to Southeast Asia these days I inevitably stay way, way too long in Bangkok. Thereīs hardly anything near it as a diversion that I havenīt seen before and it takes time to accomplish anything. (Finding a plane ticket is a challenge. Iīll give you one of my secrets: in Bangkok, for flights to Europe, donīt waste time with travel agents; go directly to the airlines offices.) It is a huge city with plenty of neighborhoods to explore, but after a short while the irrefutable law of diminishing returns applies.
      Bangkok can really do a number on you when you stay too long. You intensely hate Khao San Raod even more than usual, take every slight as a deep insult, and even spicy food in the midday heat becomes unappealing. Thatīs when you know it is time to go, but the problem for Americans is that the world is getting smaller, visa-free wise. I canīt just hop on a plane and go to Sri Lanka anymore, for instance.

Right after I took this photo, Peter shoved the little girl aside so he could have the game to himself.       Roti canai master at work

Denise was very kind to put us up while in Singapore, and on very short notice. I have known her for nearly 20 years now and her family and she has always been very kind to me. Wait, she might not appreciate me outing her on her age like that. She was an infant when we met! Honest!       Kickapoo Joy Juice!

I love this sign as you enter a church in Malacca. Look at the bottom left: no martinis!       Peter and Malay food. It took a while for Peter to work up an appetite in the tropical heat.

Cameron Highlands tea plantation, Malaysia

Posing with our laundry, Cameron Highlands       This is in Thailand. I didn't get the right angle as his forearm was also thrashed. Lots of farang injure themselves, most often on motorbikes.

Ko Phi Phi       Ko Phi Phi

Ko Phi Phi

Look at these happy Thai faces on top of Ko Phi Phi       Bangkok, little girl next door to our guesthouse.

Everyone is happy on Koh Phi Phi, it seems       Ko Phi Phi

I want to tell you this isn't a roasted human body, but I can't confirm.       More Thai food

Good enough!       This sign says it all about Thailand and the traveling experience circa 2008. In fact, in what other country could this sign be from?

Bangkok car show       Singer at the same show. Hearing a Thai girl belt out American road songs, well, that's why you have to go to Thailand.

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