In Vietnam, I am, and always will be, a "Tây", meaning "westerner". I’m not offended one bit by this label. Not even when I had new passport photos taken and the shop filled in the "Mr/Ms_________" section on the little receipt with “Ms Tây”, and filed it away under T.
So you’ve just launched into a travel story. An amazing tale of bravery, derring-do and batik shopping in the face of extreme food poisoning. And you’re just about to reach the climax when someone pipes up: ‘Oh, Baluchistan. I was there before it was trendy.’ Yes, it’s infuriating. No, I can’t help myself. Because (with […]
With the new year just past, I find myself reflecting on 2011. It was a year in which Hanoi taught me many lessons, for which I’m truly grateful. I present for you some highlights of What I Learned In 2011: 1. Your eyeballs can sweat A year in Hanoi can be divided into three parts: […]
If you come to visit me in Warsaw, it’s likely I’ll suggest visiting the Jewish cemetery in Bródno. And we’ll get on a tram and head to the entrance, on Sw. Wincentego Street. And there, you may start to wonder if I’ve got the right place. Isn’t that just an old, overgrown forest of silver […]
“Is the Ark buried in Poland?” asks Phill, who’s visiting us in Warsaw from the ‘Bra (Canberra, for those not from our nation’s capital). I’ve just been running him through the main options for weekend trips away. “The Masurian Lakes would be nice — if the weather holds, which it probably won’t,” I say. “And […]
Sitting in the 4WD bashing our way through the Tunisian desert, I put my essentials in a purse: my phone, credit cards, keys. Which I bury deep in the bottom of my bag. For the next seven days I’ll be trekking through the Sahara with ten Poles. What is ‘essential’, I notice, is rather different here.
Recently, I contributed my first post to Back in a Bit. It was an introductory piece with the aim of establishing my voice as a contributor and giving a rough idea of my background as an Australian living in the Cayman Islands. Never had I imagined that it would be contentious. Never had I imagined that my normal life would be considered a hotbed of self-indulgence and conceit.