16 plus 1

by Francisco Atunes

I have a habit of distinguishing mentally between vacations and other travel that is more substantial. Partly I’m judging, incorrectly, by how permanent the residence is. Seemingly, a hotel stay marks a trip as a vacation, but my wife and I once stayed nine weeks in the same hotel, and that was the period when we [...]

Slow Boat to Luang Prabang


I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to convey how fun this has been. I feel so fortunate to be getting this experience, despite an unadvertised hike and an unadvertised swim during our cruise down the Mekong River. On Sunday morning I left Chiang Mai, Thailand by van with a lot of reluctance. The [...]

To the capital for provisions

I’m in Vientiane for provisions and a haircut. Yesterday I spent a long 10 hours on the bus from Luang Prabang, an exhausting ride with constant winding on switchbacks on a narrow mountain highway. I swear there wasn’t a 100-yard straightaway or a bridge the whole way except for a brief period on a valley [...]

Eyewitness to the Bangkok protests


From the perspective of an ambulance rallying point at Phrapinklao Bridge in Bangkok, it appears that the police got the worst of this evening’s confrontation with Red Shirt protesters. I saw approximately 60 people loaded into ambulance boats to be ferried to hospitals, and the injured police outnumbered civilians about 2:1. A few of the [...]

Summing up the Thailand-Laos leg

It’s only been 19 days, but somehow during this time . . .   I’ve had flight delays, bus delays and train delays. I’ve been let off on the wrong street, in the wrong neighborhood and in the wrong town. I’ve had my chain come off. I’ve had tuk-tuks breakdown mid-route. I’ve ridden VIP, first-class, [...]


This isn’t my first post about che (pronounced jay-uh), but there seem to be more kinds than I’ll ever have a chance to try. Some are almost as firm as cakes, most are like a tapioca pudding, and my favorites are more like watery beverages and very refreshing like a sweetened iced tea. On English-language [...]

Ca Phe Sua Da

Vietnamese style coffee and condensed milk. It’s the best part of any afternoon here.