Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Luang Prabang, Laos

Sabaidee from Laos. Luang Prabang is a fascinating little town. A collision between the Europeans who colonized the area and the local traditions reverberates today as we walk by bakeries with golden mountains of French pastries after eating sticky rice, dried buffalo meat, and chiles. Mekong catfish. Pain au chocolate. Lao lao (rice whiskey). Chateauneuf du Pape. Buffalo sausage. Rosti. Curry noodles. Venison au poivre.

We have explored the town the last day or so. The nightmarket features gorgeous textiles, piles of scarfs and blankets with prices one hundredth of their US counterparts. We explored temples, from caves to mountaintops to a footprint of Buddha.

Tomorrow we greet the new year by taking a boat up the Mekong to a forest monastery for a meditation lesson with a monk. Thursday we will explore a village where they make lao lao, followed by a visit to a cave with over 4,000 Buddha figures. Friday we attend a cooking school. Then the long journey back toward home.

We wish a happy and prosperous new year to one and all.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Bangkok: Moon Bar and Issaya Siamese Club

Last night in Bangkok was amazing. After a brief sojourn to the fertility shrine (I have some amazing, graphic photos of the strangeness at the shrine but can't post here because my grandmother is probably reading this), we headed to Moon Bar to watch the sunset from a 61st floor terrace. The Bangkok skyline is overwhelming, as one might expect from a city of 10 million. Amazing cocktails with local fruits. Intriguing and very international crowd.

As the sun set and the city lit up, we headed to Issaya Siamese Club for what turned out to be a 12-course menu in a beautiful restaurant located in an old colonial house. Highlights included curried pork ribs, prawn sausage, delicate veal cheek, crispy duck leg with foie gras, and a monster serving of Thai-spiced lobster. Couple that with a nice French wine, and we were quite satisfied.

But then dessert started. Five of them to be exact. The winners were the jasmine panna cotta and the broken bowl--a sweet pastry stuffed with cream and encased in a chocolate shell, which was hardened by liquid nitrogen. Then the shell was flung onto the table where it shattered across banana leafs. The banana leaves were anointed with mulberry and passion fruit foams, coconut cream, and toasted coconut and macadamia nuts. Fascinating presentation, poorly captured in the dark photo in this post.

We are now in Luang Prabang and loving the quieter pace. More updates to come.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Bangkok: Floating Markets

Amazing morning at the floating market outside Bangkok. Now off to a rooftop bar followed by a Michelin starred meal.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Bagan highlights

Bagan is magical. Every corner has a piece of history. A plain dotted with thousands of temples. Sunsets over the Irawaddy River. Delicious meals at Be Kind To Animals The Moon, which may be my new favorite restaurant on earth. Back in Bangkok now for a brief stop. Then on to Laos.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Balloons over Bagan

We leave Bagan this morning and are very sad to move on from this gorgeous place. More pictures when the connection improves, but for now a shot of our balloon flight.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


We had a great day in Yangon. Now up early to head to Bagan. Merry Christmas!

Bangkok: Old City

I experienced Bangkok chiefly through my nose. An amazing city of contrasts. Delicious whiffs of garlic and lemongrass battle a sour stench of fish stock boiling in cauldrons as it like has for centuries. The whiffs from food stands would overwhelm us with appetite only to vanish into nausea at the next turn.

The city itself has the feel of those boiling cauldrons as thousands and thousands of protesters took to the streets of the Old City. An endless stream of marching and speech making. Lost, we ended up in the mix twice. It was tough to tell what direction the movement is heading, but I doubt such dedicated individuals will fail to leave their mark. Just don't ask them directions to Jay Fai's noodle shop because that will just get you lost.

We survived the crushing throngs of Chinatown shoppers and then found ourselves in the shocking stillness of monastery walls. The effect was disorienting. Pure chaos followed by pure peace.

When we return we will see a different city away from the protests where business happens. Street food and temples will swap with restaurants and expat bars. Likely another stark contrast to all we experienced.

Still trying to form my impressions of the place, and I may save judgment until my next pass through. For now we are in Myanmar for Christmas and loving the place and it's people.

Monday, December 23, 2013


Merry Christmas from Yangon, Myanmar.

Off to Myanmar

The first of our three stays in Bangkok has now concluded. Off to Myanmar for Christmas and guessing you won't hear from us until we return to Thailand. Merry Christmas, all.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Street food, giant Buddha

Bangkok has been fascinating. Megan and I stumbled upon the best meal one dollar can buy. Then a stunning reclining Buddha at Wat Pho. Now off to find some noodles and then finally, finally sleep in an actual bed.

Saturday, December 21, 2013


We have arrived. Having a coffee before setting out. What day is it? Where are we? Who are we? Jet lag is fierce.


We had a great day in Dubai thanks to friends who know the ins and outs. Details eventually but quite a place. Can't wait to come back through in a couple weeks.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Gone to Croatan

And we are off. Enjoying a meal at DFW before the 16+ hour trek to Dubai. On the bright side this may offer an opportunity for us to watch a movie together for the first time in a long while.

By the way, the title of this post is a reference to Hakim Bey and the alternative theory that the original colonists at Roanoke ran off to their freedom from European society (as opposed to the popular narrative that they were massacred or died). Today feels a little something like that.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

17 days, 4 countries, 1 carry on

We're on the cusp of the next adventure.  Megan and I are about to route through a series of unfamiliar airport codes: DFW-DXB-BKK-RGN-NYU-RGN-BKK-LPQ-BKK-DXB-DFW.  Whew.

For those who don't want to spend the next many minutes searching airport codes, that's Dallas to Dubai (with 12 hour layovers coming and going) to Bangkok, which then serves as a hub for jaunts into Myanmar to Yangon and Bagan and then to Luang Prabang, Laos. 

We're traveling light, opting for one carry on bag each.  While this means we'll be doing laundry now and then in a hotel sink, it also means we'll move quickly and efficiently from place to place. 

While it is probably obvious at this point by the size of our luggage, Miller will not be joining us on this particular trip.  With about 23 hours in airplanes followed by epic jet lag in unfamiliar cities, we decided Miller will have a lot more fun in Brenham with Harper, his Grandpa, Grannie B, and all his cousins. 

So that's the update.  We're now less than 72 hours until departure.  Tantalizing street food photos coming soon . . .
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