Farewell, Sun

This might be the last day we see the sun in quite some time. Certainly the last day we wear sandals. No more laksa. No more wantan mee. My parting words are this: We have been in Malaysia for 4.5 months and have barely scratched the surface of what there is to see, experience, and…

A brief note on Kyrgyzstan

I just wanted to write a short note about the crisis in Kyrgyzstan these days. I spent some time there in 2004, and I spent four days in particular in Osh, which is now the epicentre of the violence. The events are described here. Osh is one of the crazier places I’ve visited. It can…

Ikan bilis = ikan bliss

Ikan bilis, the magical little dried fishes of my dreams. Ikan bilis is one of the best things about eating in Malaysia. The Malays add ikan bilis to nearly everything here, adding salt, crunch and some fine briney umami to the dish. At lunch on weekdays, the local row of hawker stalls has a buffet,…

Kampung Baru Night Market

Having a couple of free hours and looking for something interesting to do, we took a walk to the Petronas Towers, got on the subway and went one stop, to the other side of the freeway. That’s a bold step you understand. Within the freeway ring of downtown are towers, malls, expats, and all manner…

And we become mall rats

I don’t like malls. I actually quite hate them. I was never knocked out by them, even as a teenager (not that we had one in Pitt Meadows). But under normal circumstances you’d have a hard time finding me in one of those sterile, soulless, lifeless crapholes. I think I went to the mall once…

Return to Asia

So what is it like being back in Asia, and in Kuala Lumpur in particular? Well, we’ve been here a week and barely left our neighbourhood. It’s not that our hood is pure genius. It’s adequate, though. There is a row of food stalls in the alley out front of our building to provide us…

Olympic Fever!

After getting back from Victoria, we noticed a significant uptick in Olympic fever. The torch relay was making its way all over Vancouver, and to us was an important part of the buildup. We went down the street to Main & 2nd to see some of the relay, and being away from the hub of…

Olympic Countdown Begins

I haven’t yet written about being back in Vancouver, mostly because we have been way too busy. The Olympics are on their way, starting on Friday, and we have a lot of things we’d like to get done before that chaos begins. We already made our run for the border, as we expect security to…

Cherry to Cup: A Journey Through a Vietnamese Coffee Heartland

  Robusta coffee cherries are bunched like grapes on their trees in the hills outside Dalat. Vietnam’s central mountains are country’s backbone, running hundreds of kilometres in a north-south direction.  Tropical mountains just happen to make wonderful coffee-growing territory, and that’s just what the French had in mind when they first came here.   In the…

Hue to Go

We left Hanoi in a dizzying flurry as I scrambled to get my work done before we had to leave for the airport. It was a mad scramble. We barely had time to hit the coffee shop. Vietnamese coffee, for those unfamiliar, is a small cup of very thick, almost extract-like stuff. It is sweetened…

the Kuala Lumpur story

It’s been a while since we’ve been able to post as we’ve been incredibly busy. After an epic two day multi-leg extravaganza we arrived in Kuala Lumpur. Why KL? Why not. Sun’s always wanted to visit and we knew that the food would be incredible. It was. I was totally out of it when we…

The Turkey story

We have been here a week and Turkey remains a juxtaposition, a true transitional country. We left Istanbul via a ferry ride across the Sea of Marmara to Bandirma. The ferry itself is a modern catamaran, indistinguishable from ferries in BC or Scandinavia, really. So modern in fact that you cannot buy a proper Turkish…