New York, NY, USA -- 28 July 2004
We arrived back in New York in the aftermath of a torrential rainstorm that had backed up traffic on the runways at JFK. We sat for about an hour in a double queue of aircraft, all slowly inching their way towards their respective gates. It took almost another hour to get from the airport to the Howard Beach subway. In the darkness, the rows of lightless cars in the long-stay car parks looked like lines of mussels clinging to a wet black rock.
Seen through the dazed mental state that comes from a twenty-hour flight and a twelve-hour time difference (plus a light fever due to some minor infection or other), Manhattan appears even more inexplicable than usual. The New Yorkers appear almost freakish in their variety. My feelings towards the city are more ambivalent than ever, and it seems almost more alien to me than Bangkok or Hong Kong. I feel like a refugee.
Arrivals and Departures
Some photographs from Hong Kong.
Lopburi, Thailand -- 20 July 2004
Lopburi, one-time site of the capital of Siam, has a large resident population of macaques who make their home in some of the city's shrines and temples.
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam -- 17 July 2004
Photographs from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Long Bian, Vietnam -- 15 July 2004
Photographs from Long Bian mountain in the Central Highlands of Vietnam
The bus driver in Hoi An politely explained that the air-conditioning had “just broken” and that they hadn't had time to fix it. This sounded like a pious lie to me: I couldn't see how something that didn't appear to have been installed in the first place could have broken.
Continue reading 'Da Lat'
Photographs from the Cham ruins at My Son, central Vietnam
Photographs from Hoi An, central Vietnam
Hue and Hoi An
My favorite quote of the day, written on the wall of Miss Thu's Cafe, a backpacker cafe in Hué:
Miss Thu love you long time - you take a shower!
Continue reading 'Hue and Hoi An'
Photographs from Hué, central Vietnam
Ha Long Bay
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam -- 09 July 2004
We had almost reached the boat when the French girl screamed and seemed to rise half out of the water. When she kept screaming, I turned and started swimming back towards her, but her boyfriend came off the boat in a racing dive and covered the distance to her in a few seconds.
Continue reading 'Ha Long Bay'
Photographs from Hanoi, Vietnam
Thanks to this handy guide, you can now tell where you are in South-East Asia, just by looking at the vehicles.
Continue reading 'Landcruiser'
Going by the Book
“Does anyone know if Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum is open in the afternoons?” asked the girl in the halter top. There was a fluttering noise as four copies of "Lonely Planet" snapped open simultaneously.
Continue reading 'Going by the Book'