Travel

The eerie past at Bokor Hill

By Alison Bate I went up a mountain today, and came down much the wiser. It was a glorious sunny day in Kampot, too hot as usual, and I hoped it would be cooler at the top of the mountain. As we started up the winding road to Bokor Hill station, our Cambodian driver/guide said… Continue reading The eerie past at Bokor Hill

Vietnam

In praise of roommates and random conversations

By Alison Bate My French roommate Julien is practising his Occitan, a language I'd never heard of until he moved in four months ago. Julien is from Toulouse and he showed me a beautiful YouTube video called Mon Pais, accompanied by a rousing patriotic song. The language of Occitan sounds like a cross between French… Continue reading In praise of roommates and random conversations

Travel

Morning in Kalaw, Myanmar

By 6 a.m, I'm on the third floor patio of my hotel, listening to loudspeaker chants wafting over still-dark streets. I wrap my jacket around me and descend to the empty streets and head for the market. Outside the golden stupa, barefoot monks sing for their supper as they line up and move slowly past… Continue reading Morning in Kalaw, Myanmar

Sailing in Pelegrin in the Gulf Islands
B.C., Travel

Gabriola Pass without an engine

"You won't get any thanks for this, you realize?" My brother-in-law John is talking to Mickey, a Gabriola Island buddy with a 35-foot sailboat and the willingness to tow us home. "Not the damsels-in-distress routine, you mean?" "God, no, that's not going to work. Won't go over at all well." Gill and I are on… Continue reading Gabriola Pass without an engine

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, Sudan, Travel

Sufi dancers in Omdurman

  It seemed an indelicate way to arrive at a religious ceremony. We bumped in, out and around gravestones set in desert scrub, before pulling up in the minivan in front of a huge circle of men in white robes. The pounding beat got louder as we walked to the edges of the circle and… Continue reading Sufi dancers in Omdurman

pix of man in Kassala
Portfolio, Sudan, Travel

10 travel tips for Sudan

1. Take lots of US dollars in cash, in fact everything you'll need, as none of your western ATMs or credit cards will be accepted. 2. Change money on the black market, not in banks or official exchanges. As of Dec.1, 2011 you'll get about 4.2 Sudanese pounds to $1 US on the black market,… Continue reading 10 travel tips for Sudan

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

Khartoum at dawn

I ‘ve just arrived in Khartoum after a four-year gap, and this morning between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m., it was pretty magical. After a sleepless, jetlagged night, I went up to the rooftop of the Bougainvilla Guest House, where I’m staying. It was still dark, the moon and stars were out, and a cool… Continue reading Khartoum at dawn

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