Colombo makes a statement. When you sail in the first thing you see is a giant stupa raised on stilts telling any approaching mariner that this is a Buddhist country. But the skyline of Colombo has monuments to other religions. … Continue reading Colombo, Sri Lanka
One of the great joys of riding on a train is watching life along the tracks. Unlike roads there are no restaurants or gas stations. You look into people’s back yards or into their homes themselves. You pass dry rice … Continue reading Through My Train Window.
I had a tough choice. I could either wander about an interesting city where I had never been or I could take a train ride, two hours out and two hours back, to the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. The city was … Continue reading The Viceroy, Almost To Kandy.
At about 11 AM I wanted to pronounce Phuket with the “Ph” as in Philosophy and the accent on the first syllable. It has not been a good morning. Myron, one of the ship’s lecturers told us that if they … Continue reading How Do You Pronounce “Phuket?”
Now, tired and happy, we’re cruising the Malacca Straits, ships all around us are moving at 17 knots. The water is calm but full of all sorts of floating crap. I am sitting in a deck chair with my computer … Continue reading Singapore Miscellany
Hong Kong has Disneyland. Singapore IS Disneyland. Like Disneyland it’s clean, well ordered, and controlled. Disney employees have to follow a strict code of behavior. It’s like everyone in Singapore is a Disney employee and is expected to follow the … Continue reading Asia for Beginners — Singapore
About 23% of Singapore, almost a quarter of the country, is reclaimed land. I’ve always wondered about that term “reclaimed.” Since Earth is “the water planet” shouldn’t we just say claimed? Much of this land is used for industry or … Continue reading Merlion Found, Singapore’s “Reclaimed” Land.
When traveling I’m struck by how tied together we are and always have been. Three years ago on a trip up the Amazon we learned how rubber trees were smuggled out of Brazil to Kew Gardens in London, and from … Continue reading Hanging Gardens of Singapore
I’ve written about how clean and well-ordered Singapore is. Little India is a bit of an exception. It is clean, especially compared with India, but the wet market has a wet floor, the houses and shop houses are more colorful … Continue reading Little India — Singapore
Tiger Balm Gardens in Singapore has been rebranded as the Har Par Villa. It’s a favorite in Singapore. It was built by Har Par and opened to the public to teach young people Chinese moral lessons. (See Courts of Hell.) … Continue reading Tiger Balm Gardens Rebranded.
Har Par was a business man from Rangoon. He and his brother invented s salve called “Tiger Balm.” I use it myself. In the 1930s they moved to Singapore and were very successful. Har par built a mansion for … Continue reading The Courts of Hell with a Trigger Warning.
This is a continuation of the narration in the post “Good Morning Vietnam.” As I pondered what I was supposed to do in Saigon I looked up and saw it, the Rex Hotel, and I knew. The Rex is where … Continue reading Five O’Clock Follies
As the sun rose through the pollution haze I knew there was something I was supposed to do in Saigon, but I didn’t know what it was. We had nothing really planned for the day except to take the hour … Continue reading Good Morning Viet Nam
Last night at about 9:30 Suzi and I were having a nice chat about the Balkans with a Croatian woman who had just come on in Hong Kong. She was taking over as the leader of the “Road Scholar” group … Continue reading “Chewing the Fat,” a Persecuted Sect and an Unexpected Fire Drill
Other cruise mates had specific things they wanted to do in Hong Kong, visit this temple or that particular shopping street. A surprising number of these, mostly senior citizens, wanted to visit the Hong Kong Disneyland. (All of Hong Kong … Continue reading Hong Kong Memories
The last time we wrote the Peak Tram to the heights of Hong Kong there was not such an elaborate structure at the top terminus. Not, after you reach “the top” you go up still higher on a series of … Continue reading Dim Sum at the Top
Norman Foster is one of my favorite architects. I love his work in redoing the British Museum and the Gerkan building in London is a modern urban icon. I had hoped he would win the World Trade Center project in … Continue reading Norman Foster in Hong Kong.
The Kowloon and Canton Railroad used to end at the Star Ferry. Salisbury Road ran east along the water and on Salisbury Road two hotels went up to serve the rail customer. The Peninsula or (The Pen) was, in its … Continue reading A Tale of Two Hotels
Shanghai is noted for its modern transportation infrastructure, the mag-lev trains and high speed rail. Hong Kong is noted for its 19th century transportation infrastructure, the Peak Tram, the rattling old double decker trams on Hong Kong Island and the … Continue reading Star Ferry — Hong Kong.
A lot of crew members were sad to sail out of Manila after their family reunions, but Manila gave us a great send off. There was a brass band with twirlers and majorettes. They played while we lined the promenade … Continue reading Good-by Manila.
This page has some photos that just don’t fit anywhere else. The pics below are of our welcome. The next three I call “signs of faith.” Finally here are some miscellaneous shots. In Manila the pollution is bad enough that … Continue reading Manila Odds and Ends.
I love hotels of a certain era. The ones built by railway and steamship companies as way points in the Orient Express or wharf side outposts of empire. We’ve stayed in several, usually at a time when it was a … Continue reading Douglas MacArthur Had Dessert Here – The Manila Hotel
The Intramuros is the “old” walled city of Manila. I put the word “old” in quotes because much of this part of the city was flattened when the Americans retook Manila from the Japanese in 1945. Some modern historians have … Continue reading Rescued by a Buggy Whip — Intramuros Manila.
Gustave Eiffel had a major hand in the iconic landmarks in two world cities. He designed the support structure for the Statue of Liberty. He also designed a number of pre-fab iron buildings in Arica Chile including a church, customs … Continue reading Gustave Eiffel in Manila?