While I was travelling through SE Asia I observed and took in as much as I could and while I can wax poetic about all the amazing things I saw, did and learned one of the best things I did was keep a running list of “random travel thoughts”. Every time an observation struck me or stood out in a noticeable way I pulled out my phone and wrote it down. Now while I haven’t written any grand narratives yet about my travels in Asia, these little musings are much more telling of the day to day experience of spending two months overseas.
I’ve decided to break it down by City as they were all such different environments and hope that this will ease me into writing more regularly.
- There is something wrong with the mosquitoes in Phuket, they gave me gold ball sized welts that lasted a week, the ones everywhere else give me a small bite that flares and is gone in a half hour
Crazy mosquito bites!
- Thai people are so caring and nurturing and quiet and non-judge mental
- Today I turned the a/c on and when I felt too cold and got goose bumps I turned it off and it was 28 degrees…
- I don’t think I’ll ever forget the smell of incense in Thailand
- There are tropical butterflies everywhere as well as bugs that I’ve never seen and scare the crap out of me
- Spoons are the key utensil here, you use the side to cut and to scoop food into your mouth, forks are only used to push food onto your spoon, chopsticks are used to push food onto your spoon and knives are non-existent
Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Chiang Mai has a crazy amount of Mexican restaurants
- I was in the Saturday night market when the national anthem came on and everyone froze until it was over
- I love that in Thailand gay and transgender here is accepted like it should be everywhere
- Chiang Mai was filled with Chinese gay men couples
- I have discovered iced milk tea, and it is good, very very good
- Chiang Mai is a city for ex-pat students and writers, it’s big enough to keep you busy but not over stimulating so you can focus and not really procrastinate
- They *really* love Maroon 5 here
- I was drawn to the idea of getting a sak yant tattoo in Thailand but it’s a Buddhist prayer tattoo and once I got here it didn’t feel right in the same way I didn’t go to Rome and get a crucifix tattoo
Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Siem Reap is a small town and you constantly run into people you know or recognize, expect to bump into everyone and anyone you might recognize in the span of an evening along Pub Street
- Everyplace serves much “Khmer food” but the only two Khmer dishes I can find are Fish Amok and Beef Luc Lak
- Listening to a Cambodian guy sing a karaoke version of John Denver’s Country Roads phonetically is made better when he tries to pronounce Shenandoah
- Cambodians really love volleyball
Tuk Tuk in Cambodia
- I just watched an old lady with no teeth laugh until she cried when at a kid who fell off his bike onto his face
- Sitting in the back of a tuk tuk through the countryside is meditative for me. It’s stimulating but not overwhelming, there is a lovely breeze and a “white noise” from the engine, and no stop signs or red lights
- Capitalism, socialism and tourism are three big reasons why Cambodia left me feel like a total asshole for my beliefs
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- KL is cool, urban, familiar city and feels like home and I like KL a lot more then I thought I would
- I have heard 3 old school Whitney Houston songs today and I ain’t mad at that
- I had to skip any fun in KL because of sickness, and I had to be ok with that.
- I would love KL for a big city girls weekend filled with shopping and drinks and city life
- I enjoyed visiting the rural Cambodia but coming to a city like KL makes me feel comfortable and at home, I’ve never been more convinced I’m a city girl. Bangkok May be too much of a city but KL is a great metropolis
Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Random Observations While Travelling
- I can see how mainland Chinese tourists have gained a bad reputation abroad. Nearly every instance I have seen they are distractingly loud, rude and lacking self awareness.
- For me, doing it right travel should feel like work, and when you work so much you need a break so taking a couple days to chill and do nothing while traveling for longer periods is no different then a quiet weekend at home
- The disrespect of some wearing practically nothing and going into Buddhist temples with shoes on despite signs and then backpacking couples making out and groping each other!
- One of the best tips a fellow traveler shared with me is always go to the 711 first (they are bloody everywhere) because they change large bills without hassle
- Second best tip is to buy yourself a pack of plain crackers, might seems stupid but if/when you’re nauseous from motion sickness, food poisoning and the like you’ll be so happy to have them on hand
- From what I have experienced in SE Asia they have very limited popular music tastes
- There are a lot of toll roads here, I kind think Toronto should experience strategic road tolls to assist with additional funding for TTC and road repairs
- No one has even reacted to my hair here, even small children who normally don’t have a filter, I don’t even catch their eye where as when I’m at home I’m constantly getting comments looks
This is just a small sample of the thoughts and things you learn when you get out in the world. Here is to many more years of random musings abroad!