Lobster rolls all over New England are delicious, but where better to have a Maine lobster than in Maine? They aren’t cheap, but this one from Perkins Cove was well worth the price and drive to get there.
More than a year ago when I was packing for our trip, I decided to bring shorts and tank tops to wear in Southeast Asia. The region is known for its heat and humidity, so those outfits seemed like the obvious choice. But before we left, I was admittedly pretty ignorant to the habits of other cultures.
In America, we dress for the weather. If it is hot outside, you wear as little clothes as possible. If it’s cold, you bundle up. But I’ve come to learn that the East and West are very different when it comes to attire. When you get out of the bigger cities, such as Bangkok, you’ll notice that locals aren’t sporting miniskirts and spaghetti-string tops. Even though Thailand is known for its beaches, many locals do not wear bathing suits or revealing clothes in beach areas. Many dress conservatively no matter how hot it is and even swim fully clothed. This is especially true in Malaysia, where more than half the population is Muslim. Nude and topless sunbathing is completely taboo, though it’s done by some foreigners on the most touristic beaches.
Their conservative clothing choices are a result of their cultural behavior and religious views. But another reason you’ll find Vietnamese women, for example, walking down the street in pants, a jacket, hat, gloves and a facemask is because they adore light-colored skin. They are afraid to have the sun darken their complexion and damage their skin. Aside from protecting themselves from UV rays, they embrace the use of cosmetics that contain whitener. Continue reading →
Hello world! After traveling through Southeast Asia these past five months, I wanted to share with our readers what surprised me the most about this area, namely the things you don’t learn about unless you have been here. Then I got to thinking about perceptions and misconceptions. Everywhere Mike and I have been has revealed itself to be slightly or very different from what we were initially expecting.
For example, we thought Johannesburg, South Africa, would be an intimidating crime-ridden place. But like any big city, it has areas that are sketchy at certain times of the day and areas that are quite vibrant and safe. It was truly different from what we were expecting.
So what I want to know from those of you who have not been to Southeast Asia (Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, et al.) is this: When you hear “Southeast Asia,” what comes to mind? Even if it’s as simple as chopsticks and beaches in Thailand, I want to hear from you (and I promise to give you huge thanks in my article! 🙂 ) Continue reading →
Mike tries to eat sticky rice with chopsticks on the bus.
Travelers through SE Asia all have their own long-distance bus horror stories. Some of them involve pothole-ridden windy roads and vomiting passengers. Others involve real danger, like an engine catching on fire or the driver falling asleep and running the bus off the road. Many people warned us about Thai and Cambodian drivers, though we never felt they were that bad. After way too many white-knuckle drives through India, everyone’s driving seems an improvement.
And then we reached Laos. They are a little more reckless than the rest, and we read a few accounts of overturned night buses. We had decided back in Cambodia that we would avoid overnight buses at all costs, and we’re trying our best to continue that in Laos. To do that, we made more stops along the way instead of just hightailing it from the south (where we entered from Cambodia) to Vientiane, Laos’ capital.
One such trip was a 10-hour bus ride from Savannakhet to Vientiane, which we were told could actually take anywhere from 8-14 hours. Many routes offer VIP tourist buses, which are supposed to be faster, more comfortable and have working air conditioning. But this route only offered a VIP overnight option, so we jumped on the public bus at 8am with the locals. We were the only foreigners onboard throughout the whole ride. Continue reading →