Travel, Vietnam

On the Indigo Trail: with the Black H’mong in NW Vietnam

By Alison Bate The Latin name trips off his tongue easily. “Have you seen any strobilanthes cusia – the indigo plant? Or know anyone who makes the indigo dye here,” a boisterous French guy called out as I wandered by a street café. Bemused, I joined Jean-Louis Dulaar for some of the local bitter green… Continue reading On the Indigo Trail: with the Black H’mong in NW Vietnam

Travel, Vietnam

Friday night in Hanoi

It’s Friday night in Hanoi and the Mausoleum is like a gigantic playground. Barefoot toddlers and pre-schoolers run around in circles, dads hoist kids on their shoulders, and moms guard strollers, teddy bears and surplus clothes. Shrieks of laughter fill the night air, a pleasant change from the impatient beep-beeps in the background from motorbikers… Continue reading Friday night in Hanoi

Portfolio, Travel, Vietnam

Rowing with his feet and other Vietnam water scenes

A fine mist filled the bay, as we went kayaking near Cat Ba Island in northeast Vietnam. Most people go to see the spectacular vertical mountains dropping into the sea, but actually I spent more time looking at the boats. Cat Bay harbor itself is full of colorful wooden boats flying the Vietnamese flag, and in… Continue reading Rowing with his feet and other Vietnam water scenes

Sudan, Travel

Sudan suffers separation pains

By Alison BateThe capital of Sudan feels a little lost and empty these days.The distinctive Dinkas - the impossibly tall, thin Southerners - and their fellow compatriots have mostly left Khartoum for their new homeland and the deadline for the rest to leave is just months away.After April 9, 2012, any southerners remaining will become… Continue reading Sudan suffers separation pains

Sudan, Travel

Coffee and lamb fright in Kassala

By Alison Bate I went to look at the striking Taka Mountains yesterday, but as is the way in Sudan, never quite made it, sidetracked by friendly people at the street cafes. I'm in a cute little town called Kassala, a long, eight-hour bus ride east of Khartoum. The bare mountains rise up suddenly out… Continue reading Coffee and lamb fright in Kassala

Sudan, Travel

Selecting tech toys for my trip to Sudan

I can pack a backpack or suitcase for a trip in under an hour, but deciding what tech toys to take is another ballgame altogether. I spent a ridiculous amount of time researching cellphones and agonizing about whether to take my beloved Macbook with me. I’m meeting various friends in Khartoum, and everyone uses cellphones… Continue reading Selecting tech toys for my trip to Sudan

Maritime, Travel

Top 10 questions about life on a containership

May 30, 2011 While surfing the internet, I ran across this photo of a ship I sailed on a few years ago. It brought back fond memories of sailing across the Pacific on the CSCL Felixstowe. I got asked a ton of questions about the trip, when I returned. Here, in no particular order, are… Continue reading Top 10 questions about life on a containership