Hume and his two sisters fought over the bag of flashlights. The eldest girl won the tussle and handed us two torches.
“Why do we need flashlights?” my wife asked the children after we had paid them about $1.25 for a ticket to see Wat Longkhoon, a faded temple along the Mekong River, just across from the wat-filled city of Luang Prabang. (Wat means temple.)
The three Laotian children smiled; Hume, who couldn’t have been older than seven, added a wheezy grunt. Read more
Every ten months, the Balinese Hindus celebrate Galungan. When I get out from my morning surf in Canguu, hundreds of men and women dressed in white were shuttling from temple to temple, piled atop one another on two-person motorbikes. The days before, in front of every home and shop, men were preparing for the festivities, bending long, decorative bamboo poles that would dangle festive ornaments over the road. The poles are called penjors, Bali’s bamboo equivalent to a Christmas tree though they look more like fishing rods that have a tall tale at one end. Read more
When you travel, you start to notice that tourists gravitate toward particular souvenirs, depending on the location. In Argentina, I bought four gourds for drinking mate. In Costa Rica, I went hammock crazy. In Slovenia, I purchased slippers, which I don’t think is an actual trend there, I just liked the slippers.
But in Bali, all of the tourists were in the market for weapons and weapons accessories. Read more
Most travelers are familiar with two Hong Kongs. The Hong Kong that appeals to gadabouts who are most interested in shopping designer stores, indulging in overpriced dim sum, and waiting on long tram lines to visit the city’s prized mountain–The Peak. Then there is the grungier Hong Kong. A city where quality dim sum, chaotic markets, and busy food carts will leave travelers with one thought: Is it time for the stomach meds? But there’s a little-known, third Hong Kong, which sits on the outskirts of the fast-paced city. The best day trips in Hong Kong are the seaside communities of Tai O and Shek O. Read more
The Hong Kong markets are a shopper’s paradise. And while the Kowloon district is famous for their abundance and variety of markets, the best markets in Hong Kong are across the harbor, on Hong Kong Island. In fact, they are perfect for non-shoppers because tourists who don’t hate the hassle of cramming gifts into suitcases, can instead fill their camera cards with memories and stuff their bellies with food. Read more