I first stepped foot in Myanmar this past August, 2014, with an arrival at the new Yangon International Airport. The place was pleasant and calmed my nerves a bit, especially after being completely amped trying to scavenge for mint condition US currency in Indonesia the week prior - explanation below. It was great to have some unanticipated comfort right off the bat, after all that I had heard about this country.
It was the perfect storm of creativity and collaboration. In the summer of 2013, a few Hanoi artists got together and firmly decided to rent studio space in a derelict pharmaceutical factory south of Hoan Kiem Lake. This was a quiet place of town, if you can believe it, with the factory and residential areas situated around the French-inspired Pasteur Park.
To escape Balinese island heat there are only a few plausible options to consider: excessive amounts of ice water, laying on your kitchen floor tiles, going into town to one of the few air-conditioned spaces, or traveling to the highlands.
In the summer of 2010, my brother and I slowly made our way through Zagreb and the Dalmatian Coast of Croatia. We were welcomed down this stretch of the Adriatic Sea on a megabus of style and comfort. Throughout its spaciousness however, we did encounter jerking and swerving from the driver and his buddies as they literally lost control of the bus several times as they cat called to almost every woman in sight. It must have been a full moon that night.
There are many traditional silk villages just outside the city of Hanoi, which have been there for hundreds of years. Silk has remained popular throughout this regions history because of its beauty, strength, and mixed nature of breathability and insulation for both summer and winter. Traditional Vietnamese clothing was often made of silk and these garments continue to be popular today.
I was troubled right when it pulled up. The screech and surprising effectiveness of its break pads. The all too functioning accordion doors as they made their sudden opening crack. It was decrepit, but also striving towards its full potential. This was my mini-bus. It was going from the New Territories region in Hong Kong to the red line MRT, where I would eventually find my way home (a plush 15 person dormitory room with a frequent lack of oxygen).
Asia has simply the most exciting street food around. Color, diversity, taste, cost - All to the maximum potential. Maybe all the small meals per day keeps the population thin, or maybe it is just because all of the available food is actually 'real food'. Ya know, the kind of edible matter that you can instinctively describe without inserting processing jargon.
Hanoi. Beautiful, green, charming, well designed, oh and did I mention the overabundance of astounding street food? This place is actually* relaxing even though it has the real city grit.
Happy Chinese New Year everyone (Snake). This week has been filled with food, friends and time away from normal actionable items, including this blog. It has focused everyone in the country of Vietnam on the essentials, the simple life. It makes you realize that a tradition so long lasting must have significance and importance, in life.
Today we left at a reasonable hour. 8am. Hopped in Cartier’s taxi cab with Amin as translator. Direction – Kulaa. Main goal was to propose to the chief of the village that we would like to implement a drinking water system for their 80 households. We showed them the tests we had sampled and found bacteria in.
Yesterday we visited the villages of Chani and kagbarasche. They had systems already implemented by Community Water solutions. This was our chance to see how they held up, how their dugout water was situated and how the village life was. It proved to be an interesting ride throughout the day.
We roll the bus through the busy town center. Everything is incredibly low, but also intensely busy. Nothing reaches more than three stories, but there is not an empty patch of ground to be found. We are noticeably some of the only foreigners in this northern city of Ghana.
After being told a few different things in the immigration visa line by different officials and forgetful airline stewards, I got accepted into the country. Now to start learning what community water solutions is all about!
So tomorrow morning at 4 AM I will start my journey to Ghana. I am bringing a backpack. This will soon hold my belongings for the next few months. I am dusting off the old travel shoes which have somehow eluded me for a year and a half.